Ah, the famous speech. You’re expected to absolutely kill it. You’re the maid of honor! The bride hand-picked you, singled you out as the most influential friend in her life. You are the one she wants right next to her on the big day. You’re also the one she expects to give that amazing speech about her. No pressure!
But what if you’re not the best writer or you just have no idea what to say? Maybe you’ve got some ideas, but they need some major fine-tuning. Look no further. Read on for some great tips on how to write the kind of speech you’ve been dreaming of.
This is the cardinal rule of a good wedding speech. You have to make it personal and original. It’s just like a ceremony; beautiful couple and space can be ruined with a really bland ceremony. If you don’t weave a genuine story with your words, it will flop. People want to connect to a speech, so if they can’t, they’ll just tune you out or whisper with others nearby. Your generic wish of happiness is fine, but if you want to write the best, you have to get personal.
Use the Feels
Here’s a writing tip you don’t often hear when it comes to wedding speeches: you have to be in the right mood to write the perfect one. This tip is usually reserved for “serious” writers. You might be thinking of Hemingway, who got drunk before writing, or any other author who needs special surroundings to get into that writing frame of mind. You need this too—but not necessarily the alcohol. You should, however, get drunk on the love and fond memories you have with the bride. Maybe start the process by looking over some photos of the two of you. This will not only get you in that choked up feeling place, it may even spark some great stories that you can include in your speech. Trust me, the pen will flow much easier when you’re feeling it.
Lacking Inspo? Ask!
Are you completely stuck with what to include? This happens and it doesn’t make you a bad maid of honor—just a stuck one. Maybe you haven’t known the bride for very long or you’re just totally blanking. Either way, the easiest solution is to simply ask around. Recruit those close to the bride for help on gathering intel and stories. Be like a MoH journalist, sans the recorder. Just casually start asking for stories and memories from people like the bride’s parents. You can even go to the groom and include some of what he says. Let the feelings surrounding the bride speak for themselves when you’re feeling mute.
It’s all about structure. We have this idea beat into our heads in writing classes. You may think this doesn’t apply to non-scholarly writing, but you’re wrong. It’s so much easier to write a good speech when you have an idea of where everything is headed. You don’t have to follow a structure, it’s true; some people claim to do better freeform, but at least consider an outline. Especially if you’re stuck, finding an outline you like can help. There are a ton of templates online that are sure to give you some direction.
This is the one time it’s actually okay to get super cheesy. Seize the moment! You love the bride or at least care for her a great deal and you want to show this with your words. Believe me, a little sap never hurt anybody. Your audience will be really receptive. Weddings get people in that cheesy mood because they love the couple too. Don’t be afraid to speak out loud all the sappy feelings everybody in the room is feeling too.
The Rule of Sandwiches
This is basically a structure rule that helps you find a writing rhythm. You may have some great funny stories and quips, but aren’t sure where to place them in the speech or how to get the most out of the more interesting bits. Sandwiching is great for this. Basically, just spice up your speech by layering it with normal speech, then a funny bit, then normal speech again. This way your toast keeps everyone’s attention all the way through. People will remember the ride just as much as the message. If you sprinkle the right amount of funny and sappy throughout the whole thing, they will laugh and cry, and it will be fabulous.
There are exceptions to this rule—and sometimes a heartfelt nod to those passed on can be a beautiful addition to your speech—but try to stay positive for the most part. A wedding is, in the end, a celebration and your downer speech might kill the mood. Don’t be the maid of the macabre and try to keep things light. If you’re going to include some heavier details make sure to sandwich those sad things with all the happy and well-wishes.
Writing the best maid of honor speech isn’t as hard as people make it out to be, and if you follow even some of these guidelines, your speech is sure to be a hit. There are some specific elements you want to include like toasting the couple and adding some sappy words of well-wishes, but really the best way to write the best maid of honor speech is to put your heart into it. Speak from there and you can’t fail.