The task of giving a speech, in itself, is already nerve-wracking. What more if it involves a wedding reception in front of special guests of the newlyweds? Here is the reality, though. Speeches become daunting because people get a flashback of their time in school, of classmates picking on them and teachers grading them.
With the maid of honor speech, that is not really the case. At weddings, the maid of honor gets the privilege of telling beautiful stories, and you can do that in seven easy steps!
1. Check the Guest List and Find out More About Your Audience
Nowadays, couples are being more flexible with their wedding guests. Some go for intimate setups prioritizing only their immediate family members. Others request guests not to bring kids to keep the ceremony solemn and the reception more organized.
Being more familiar with the guests helps you determine the appropriate tone and tell the right stories. You want your speech to be meaningful, but you also want it to be engaging. Knowing who your audience is can help you write your speech properly.
2. Confirm how Much Time You Have for Your Speech
For traditional weddings, your speech should be around two to three minutes, five minutes at the maximum. However, for more relaxed and intimate celebrations, you might have more leeway with the time allotment. Knowing how much time you have is extremely important if the function will be held at a rented venue where exceeded time means additional pay.
3. Dedicate Time to Reminisce
Once you already know who is coming and how much time you need, start recalling important memories with the bride and groom. Don’t do this in one sitting. Instead, take a few minutes per day to daydream and recall memories. Reflecting on your memories for three days or more will help you come up with the message you really want to say once you begin writing.
If you are not sure where to start, here are some questions that may help you recall some of the memories:
- How would you describe your relationship with the bride? How did you meet?
- When you hear the name of the bride, what are the first memories that come to mind?
- How would you describe the bride? Are there particular habits, traits, or memories that stand out for you?
- How did you first find out about the groom? What can you remember about the beginnings of their love story?
- What happened when you first met the groom? How did you feel about it?
- Are there memories or stories about the couple that stand out for you?
- If you can only pick three stories at most to introduce the bride, the groom, and their relationship, what would you tell?
As you look back on the things that have happened, try to trim down the memories to the ones you think would best encapsulate a message you want to tell during your speech.
4. Write a Draft
Based on the memories you have, begin writing. You do not have to think of structures first. Simply let every thought flow.
The main questions for your draft are these:
- For those who do not know the bride that well, especially from the groom’s guests, how would you introduce her?
- For those who do not know their story that well, how would you tell it?
- Finally, if you can give one message to the couple as they start on their married life, what would it be?
Writing a draft can be an emotional process, so do not pressure yourself to finish everything in one go. You might find yourself changing routes as you go along, going to another story that you did not originally intend to tell. That is perfectly fine! As long as you get the bride and the couple’s story out there and you find the memories that perfectly encapsulate your message for them, go ahead and put your thoughts into paper.
One thing you have to remember here, however, is the length. The average spoken words per minute are 130. Don’t forget to multiply that number by whatever your time allotment is to make sure you don’t exceed your time.
5. Add Structure to Your Speech
Once you are able to write your draft, it is time to create structure. To help you organize your speech, you can use the template below:
- Greet the audience; introduce yourself; describe your relationship to the bride.
- Introduce the bride through anecdotes.
- Transition into the couple’s initial stages in their relationship and tell something about the groom.
- Say something about their love story, preferably a memory that struck you.
- Tie your stories with your main message.
- Congratulate them and conclude with your well-wishes.
If you think you are being restricted by using the template, feel free to adjust or revise accordingly. Remember, you know the bride and the couple better. You also know the audience who will be listening to you. With the information, adjust your approach to whatever you feel is fit for the event.
6. Practice. Revise. Practice.
Practice and revision go hand in hand. The initial revision is done to make sure you do not commit grammatical errors. Once you’re done with that, practice your speech out loud and take note of difficult words or phrases.
Remember that writing and speaking are two entirely different things. Make it easy for you to deliver your speech by breaking down sentences, changing words that are hard to pronounce, and keeping phrases concise.
Practice again, and this time, keep a timer on. As mentioned earlier, the average spoken word per minute is 130. However, you also need to consider your own speaking pace and the reactions of the audience. If you think that your speech is a bit emotional, give more buffer time and shorten your speech just a little bit, without losing your main message.
7. Create an Outline as A Quick Reference to Your Whole Speech
Giving a speech should be an engaging experience. You are not talking to yourself. That is why although you have a copy of the entire speech you wrote, you should keep an outline too. With the practice you had, you should be able to know the content by heart. You probably would not be able to memorize everything entirely, but at least you know what you truly want to say.
Rather than being pressured, take the maid of honor speech as an opportunity to tell stories and celebrate the newlyweds. After all, a wedding is a festive moment, not a graded requirement.
Hold the hem of your dress, strut in your heels, and kill that maid of honor speech!