Thursday, November 13, 2014


We've all seen it happen. When you're at a wedding and it's time for the best man/maid of honor speech, and you'd rather hide under the table the entire night with your ears closed than go through the second-hand embarrassment of listening to another word.

Public speaking has never been my thing, but ever since I had to give a 30 minute thesis presentation to graduate with my master's, I've found myself having to do it more often. But I was never as nervous to stand up and speak than when I had to do it from the heart as maid of honor at my best friend's wedding. I'd rather speak about blogging 100 times over (which I had a ton of fun doing!) then have to talk about my emotions - yes, weddings make me emotional. Being asked to stand next to the bride as her go-to gal on one of the biggest days of her life is such an honor, so I was determined to not screw it up. I am by no means a professional at this - although I'm totally up for her and her husband getting married every year over and over again - but I've found a few helpful tips along the way. Here's how to totally rock your wedding speech, just like how I like to think I did!

Follow the formula: When I was first putting together my speech, I read online how to structure it out. Start with talking about the bride - how you met, a little about her, your friendship, etc. Move on to talking about the groom - when you first met him, a memory you have of him - and then talk about them together. Jot down some memories, facts, and points you'd like to talk about. Writing your speech in sections first, then putting it all together, can help build it much easier.

Joke: Don't tell comedy club jokes, but tell funny memories or stories about the couple. I poked fun at how my best friend hates waking up in the morning (there's a reason we're so close) and how the groom once did my math homework for me. I promise you, people will laugh. There are two emotions wedding guests switch back and forth from... crying and laughing. Which brings me to my next tip.

Don't hold back your own emotions: You know what makes people cry more? Watching people cry. Don't hold back from crying, it's the only time you'll be allowed to do it in front of a room full of people and not feel embarrassed. Plus it makes things ten times more heartfelt when you just let it out.

Avoid too much alcohol beforehand: If you're drunk, no amount of trying to convince the wedding guests that you're not drunk is going to work. Take a shot or have a glass of champagne to loosen up, but avoid being a slob-ka-bob.

Don't read from a paper: Remember in high school when you'd have to give a presentation and there would be that one student who just read from their paper, with their head hiding behind it? Don't be that student. It'll be the opposite of genuine. Instead, keep some notecards with points you want to talk about so it sounds more conversational. Nobody is grading you on this.

Focus on the couple: Don't even worry about eye contact with the others in the room. The day is all about the couple anyway, right? Keeping your focus on them will make you forget there are others in the room and help calm the nerves.

Time should be on your side: Your speech should be between 2 1/2 to 5 minutes. Nobody likes a chatty Kathy at a wedding, especially if you're the one standing between them and cake time.

When all else fails, check out YouTube: There are a ton of MOH speeches that you can watch, so you can get a better feel of how you want your speech to be.

What are some of your tips to giving a speech at a wedding?

x Jill

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