Good morning, Washington DC area wedding lovers! Get your pens and pencils ready, because I am so looking forward to today’s post about how to write a best man or maid of honor speech. I have really useful Washington area wedding planning advice for everyone, not just brides and grooms. Specifically, I’m helping out your maid of honor and your best man! See, we look out for everyone involved in the wedding process! I’ve been to lots of weddings over the years and I’m going to a few in the next few months. I’ve given my fair share of speeches, so toda, I’m giving you my advice on how to write a winning maid of honor or best man speech. I even talked to a few of my married friends about what they love and remember most about the maid of honor and best man speeches given at their weddings. I also asked current and former maids of honor and best men on their best advice for making their BFF’s big day delightfully memorable! So, here goes, this is my advice for writing a winning best man and/or maid of honor speech…

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Ascari Photography

Don’t Be Afraid To Be Creative

I served as maid of honor for my best friend’s wedding last month. I’ll be MOH (that’s wedding lingo for maid of honor!) with another friend of my friend’s. Non-traditional wedding situations such as these allow for tons of creativity. We talked about doing a joint maid of honor speech, but then we thought about doing two separate speeches, tackling the “sweet” and “sassy” side of my friend. The speeches turned out wonderfully!

Speak From The Heart

Speaking from the heart in any speech for a wedding or otherwise, is always a great place to start. You can never go wrong with speaking from your personal place and this is a great piece of advice from two former classmates of mine. While watching her wedding video for the first time, my friend, the bride, looked at her groom they both agreed that their maid of honor’s speech was the best! Why? Because she didn’t use notes, or paper. She didn’t read from her phone (Yes, I’ve seen that happen at weddings!) We knew everything that she said was genuine and came from the heart.

Tip: Write down the things that you love about the couple, not the specific draft of the speech. If you stick to the lovely moments, you can If you glance down at your notes and talk about the memories without reading at speech word-for-word.

Make Jokes, Not Digs

Jokes in a speech can break the ice and get the crowd laughing. They can also cut the tension in an otherwise serious moment at a wedding. However, there is a big difference between making a joke, which makes people laugh, and making a dig, which makes people cringe. You want to go for the joke with your speech, not the dig. Nothing is worse than listening to a wedding speech and the maid of honor or best man is trying to be funny, but he or she is instead being insulting. Keep your personal opinions aside. The other wedding guests want to hear about the bride and groom, not your insults.

Tip: Run your wedding speech jokes past someone else who knows the couple, maybe another bridesmaid or groomsman, before you give your speech. (Ideally, a few days before, so you have time to re-think or re-work any jokes!) Ask someone else their opinion, are you jokes funny or do they cross the line?

Make it About the Two of Them

As tempting as it can sometimes be when you have the limelight, remember it’s not your wedding day. You are there to celebrate the couple that you are standing in front of! I talked to a former best man who is a friend of mine and he had some great advice about keeping the word “I” in your speech to a minimum and making an effort to include the both members of the couple in your speech. Strive to devote at least one-third of your speech to the significant other; as in if you are better friends with the groom, devote at least a third of your speech to the bride. This way you are sure to get applause and tears from all of the wedding guests and the couple!

Keep In General

Stay away from too many inside jokes between you and the couple. Yes, the couple will love hearing about those funny or memorable moments that only you share, but the rest of the wedding guests won’t get it. The guests will be confused and lost listening to your speech if it is full of too many personal moments that only you two would get. Worse, the guests will feel left out. Stick to general things about the couple that most people at their wedding will know – and love- about the couple!

Be Short and Sweet

One of my friends who gave a memorable maid of honor speech said it best when she reminded me that keeping any speech short and sweet is always the key. Wedding guests want to get to the dinner and dancing, they don’t want to hear you! No one wants to listen to you blab on and on about inside jokes and things that you love about the couple and every story about how they were there for you and how much you love them and so on and so on. Tell a story or two that captures your point in an essence – not six or 20. As much as it was the best vacation ever for you two, no wedding guests wants to hear a 15-minute speech on your adventures with the bride or groom.

Have Fun, But Not Too Much

It’s totally fine to be a little nervous before you give your wedding speech. That isn’t an excuse to have five shots at the bar before you speak. I think we’ve all seen the movies or maybe witnessed the tipsy maid of honor or the drunk best man slur through their speech! An over served speech giver, is awful to watch! As a wedding guest, I’d rather watch a nervous maid of honor give a speech than a super drunk one. If you are nervous, take a few deep breaths, give yourself a little pep talk and remember, people are focusing on the bride and groom, not you. They’re grateful you are there celebrating their big day with them anyway! Try to enjoy letting the couple know how much they mean to you. After the speech is when you hit the open bar!

Tip: If you are extra nervous about your speech, this is all the more reason to keep it very short. No need to wax on and on. Focus on one thing you love about the couple, raise your glass and get off the stage! 

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And, there you have it – great tips for writing a memorable maid of honor or best man speech at a wedding. Talk about some great advice by some real people who have been there before! What are some of your best tips you’d give to those who will be maids of honor and best men? As wedding guest, what made a great speech for you? We want to know! In the meantime, check out all of the other DC area wedding advice that we have on the blog or check out some more inspiration and ideas.

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