Your best friend asked you to be the maid of honor at her wedding. You're excited, but then you think about the speech you must give and start to get nervous. What do you say? What if you make a fool of yourself? You hate speaking in public with everyone staring at you!
Being someone's maid of honor may be your biggest dream or your biggest nightmare, but it's a true honor to be held in such high regard by someone you know. It's the most important role in the bridal party and should be taken very seriously. Treat this duty with respect, and you'll wow the crowd with your speech -- whether it's heartfelt or hilarious.
Here are five tips to help you pull off the perfect maid of honor speech.
Even if you're a habitual procrastinator, plan ahead just this once. Preparing in advance for your speech is one of the best ways to ensure its success. We've all heard last-minute speeches from the maid of honor or best man, and they're not pretty -- there's nothing worse than sitting through a speech that was obviously scribbled on a cocktail napkin seconds before. And blindly stumbling through your speech like a deer in headlights can lead to a lot of babbling and possibly saying things you wish you hadn't mentioned!
Having a plan won't only help calm your nerves, but will also help you think about all the important things you want to mention. Wanting to tell the hilarious story about the time you first met the groom and then forgetting to is likely to leave you feeling flustered and possibly regretful.
Make sure you have plenty of time to practice your speech. This will help you come up with good transitions as well as make sure you're good to go on time restraints. Plan to write your speech up to three weeks in advance of the wedding, and don't feel bashful about practicing in front of friends. Have someone time you, and don't forget to ask for feedback!
We've all had times in our lives where we did things to embarrass ourselves, right? Generally, retelling these stories is likely to add humor to almost any conversation or situation. However, your maid of honor speech is not necessarily the time to bring up such stories. Telling about when the bride wet her pants at the school dance in eighth grade isn't the best idea -- especially if she's sworn you to secrecy. A little embarrassment is funny for the group, but be careful not to go too far with your jokes. You don't want to hear crickets when you should be hearing laughter.
You should also avoid stories involving drunk, high or deviant behavior. It's definitely not appropriate for the setting. The goal of your speech is to celebrate a friendship and a new marriage, not to air your friend's dirty laundry.
Here's a good rule of thumb: If you can't talk about it in front of your mom, you probably shouldn't talk about it at all.
Props are a great way to break the ice and add humor, and showing them off will give you something to do with your hands during your speech.
At a rehearsal dinner I once went to, the maid of honor/former roommate of the bride used a bag full of "how to live with the bride" items and went through each one as she gave her speech. One of the items was an alarm clock since the bride liked to hit the snooze button multiple times in the morning. She then gave the bag of props to the groom to wish him well with his new housemate. Not only was it hilarious and heartfelt, it was memorable too!
Whatever you do, though, don't stress over using elaborate props -- the idea is to let the props help you. Just displaying a framed picture of you and the bride from the year you met is a great idea as well.
If props aren't really your thing, you can choose from a myriad of other ideas to get creative with your speech. No one wants to hear the same old boring speech that they've likely heard a million times.
Why not entertain the audience? Strike a sentimental chord and make them laugh by performing a silly dance or handshake that you and the bride made up when you were kids, or sing a song that brings back memories of the bride's high school days. You can even create a slideshow to accompany your speech. Everyone will love your spunk and flavor!
Be careful, though -- if you're thinking of doing something a little outlandish, check with the bride first to make sure you're in the clear.
It's definitely a little scary for some people to stand in front of a large crowd and give a speech, especially one as important as this. During those times of nervousness, it's easy to fall into the trap of attempting to be someone you're not in order to calm your nerves. If you're shy, you might think it's much easier to give a speech if you pretend to be outgoing. If you aren't that funny, you might try to be really humorous to take the edge off. However, the best thing you can do for your speech is to just be yourself.
The bride chose you to be her maid of honor because she cares about you! She and everyone else want to hear what you have to say because your opinion and influence is obviously important to the happy couple. The more you're yourself, the more genuine and honest your speech will be. After all, isn't a genuine speech the best kind of speech -- no matter what your personality?
Just relax and know that you were chosen to be the maid of honor for a very good reason, and no matter what you have to say, the bride and groom will love it because it will come from you!
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- Bridesmaid101.com. "Maid of Honor Speech." (Oct. 3, 2010). http://www.bridesmaid101.com/maid_of_honor_speech.html
- Elliott, Amy. "Tips for Maid of Honor Speeches." TheKnot.com. (Oct. 2, 2010). http://wedding.theknot.com/bridesmaids-mother-of-the-bride/bridesmaids/articles/wedding-toasting-tips-for-the-maid-of-honor.aspx?MsdVisit=1
- Vaz, Sharon. "Tips for an Amazing Maid of Honor Wedding Speech." WedAlert.com. (Oct. 2, 2010). http://www.wedalert.com/content/articles/MaidOfHonorSpeech.asp