Being a maid of honor or best man for your friend’s wedding is an honor and can be a ton of fun. Who doesn’t love a good bachelorette or bachelor party, standing next to your friend at the altar as they pledge their love and tearing it up on the dance floor afterwards. Let’s be honest though, the expectation of giving a speech at the reception can be enough on the nerves to make the whole experience a dreaded task.
There’s no reason though to get freaked out. We have a few tips and ideas that will help make the process simple and set you up for toasting success. First step is to prepare!
The biggest thing you can do to give a meaningful speech is don’t procrastinate. We always recommend writing down a general outline of what you want to say at least a few days ahead of time, so you aren’t scrambling to put something together at the wedding and can be totally present on the day. This will help you to be more confident, heartfelt with your words and avoid saying something too embarrassing.
Things to Do:
Introduce Yourself.Share your name and then give a brief explanation of how or when you met the bride or groom. Most likely, not everyone is going to know who you are and context goes a long way in helping to share a meaningful speech that connects with the audience.
Acknowledge the Hosts.Express how excited you are to be at the wedding. Thank the bride and groom and others who are hosting the night such as their parents.
Include a Personal Touch. Share a story, memory, joke or character quality you admire about the bride or groom that conveys the respect and appreciation of the friendship you have.
Encourage.Share a word of encouragement, advice or quote for the couple’s future. If you aren’t married or haven’t been married very long, maybe even ask someone you know that has a long lasting, inspirational marriage such as a grandparent for their best advice and then share it in your speech.
Toast.Don’t forget to ask the guests to raise their glasses to toast the couple, and then make sure to take a sip out of your own glass.
Things to avoid:
Crude language and explicit stories. You may be trying to get some laughs from the audience, but these stories rarely help make your speech meaningful. The reason that so many of these stories are still told at weddings are because people haven’t prepared ahead of time and are scrambling to say something.
Reference a lot of inside jokes. It’s fun for you and the couple, but remember that a speech is supposed to be shared with the entire crowd. It should help them experience the beauty of the day, not feel left out from the fun.
Deliver a roast. This is not your moment to audition as a standup comic. This is about celebrating the bride and the groom. Keep your roasts for another day, and keep your speech kind and encouraging. They will thank you for it.
Have too many drinks ahead of time. We get it you’re there to have a good time. And don’t people always say a few drinks calm the nerves? While you are there to have a good time and enjoy your friend’s wedding, just remember the day is about them. Having a few too many drinks before you give a speech may find you with loose lips embarrassing not only yourself, but also the bride and groom.
There you have it! You’ve given a killer speech and now you’re free to party.