Acing that important speech

Published in Complete Wedding:

02 August 2013 – From the pages of CWM 37

At a glance:

Hints and tips for creating the perfect Best Man and Maid of Honour speech.
  • Planning beforehand is the key
  • Use appropriate anecdotes
  • Opt for a short, sweet and simple speech
  • Stay sober before the speech
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

Being a maid of honour or best man at a wedding is a great honour; as such, your role is to create a kindhearted speech about the newly wedded couple. The speech can go of two ways – it can make people shed emotional tears, or it can be a disastrous spectacle filled with awkward silences and forced laughs. Complete Wedding Guide has compiled these effortless tips to prevent you from falling into the latter trap.

Maid of Honour:
1.    Use appropriate quotes – A great way to start your speech is to say a quote that has real resonance for you or the kind of idea you want to share about the bride and groom. Find one that has words of wisdom in it. The more personal the quote is to you, the more chance of you delivering it with open confidence and earnest emotion.
2.    Plan beforehand – Starting with “I don’t know how to start” or “I won’t talk for long” implies to the audience that you are unprepared, and they will immediately turn off. See the speech as an assignment – brainstorm what you could potentially say, make rough drafts and have someone edit the final piece. Advanced preparation helps you avoid those last minute panic attacks.
3.    Cover all bases – An ideal speech will include a thank you to the bride and groom as well as the guests in attendance, an anecdote that signifies an emotional moment for you and the couple, words of advice about their future together, and the final standard wine toasting to commemorate their happy union.
4.    Practice makes perfect – There is no point in planning the perfect speech if you have no idea how to convey it. Constantly looking at your notes and saying several ums during the speech is a recipe for disaster. Practice compulsively in front of a mirror beforehand, or better yet ask one of the bridesmaids to watch and critique you on your performance.
Best Man:
1.    Short and sweet – Keeping it simple is a key aspect to delivering a great speech – after all, you do not want to bore the audience with pointless droning. Tell the bride that she looks lovely, thank the appropriate people, and provide a brief anecdote about how you first felt about them as a couple. End the speech by wishing them the best of luck in their marriage and raise your wine glass to toast. As they say, less is more.
2.    Stay sober – In every wedding there is bound to be endless amounts of fine wines and alcohol, so of course you are going to take advantage of it and try to enjoy yourself. However, make sure you are not drunk before your big moment, as being completely uninhibited will lead you to saying some things that you will certainly regret in the future. You do not want to be known as the man who singlehandedly ruined the bride’s reception by humiliating her in front of her loved ones.
3.    Make a connection – Using anecdotes is an excellent way to connect something about the groom with your support of them as a couple. Perhaps tell a story about how much your friend changed for the better when he met his newly wedded wife, or how fussy he was with traits and personalities until he met “the one” who defied all of his expectations.
4.    Avoid controversial topics and inside jokes – Chances are the audience are not going to understand a joke that only you and the groom know, so avoid this all together. Do not talk about ex-girlfriends; do not talk about your first impressions of the bride, and stay away from sexual innuendos or anything sex related.

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