Last year I had the honor of serving as the Matron of Honor in my sister’s wedding. I quickly realized the many responsibilities my role entailed, including giving the Matron of Honor speech at the wedding. Even though I majored in communications in college, I suddenly had this overwhelming fear of standing up in front of hundreds of people (most of which I don’t know) and talking for a solid couple of minutes. Now, looking back, I’ve learned from the experience and have created some practical Do’s and Don't’s that I hope help ease some of your speech-giving anxiety.
DO: introduce yourself at the beginning of the speech. Chances are that most of the people in the room don’t know who you are, so it’s always nice to offer a brief introduction of your name and how you know the bride. Keep it short and sweet - no need to elaborate too much on yourself since the special day is about the bride and groom!
DON’T: overthink it and stress too much. The days leading up to my speech, I lost a lot of sleep over it. At the end of the wedding day I thought back to how silly that was, given the fact my speech went very well and I was more prepared than I had expected. The key is to speak from the heart. During my speech at any given time that I glanced down at my outline and forgot a line or two, I simply looked at my sister and spoke from the heart.
DO: make it about the bride and focus on all of her great attributes. Often times, it’s easy to get distracted with talking more about your friendship with the bride than about what you believe makes her so special. It helped me to write down all of the things I love about my sister and then build my speech around them so that the focus always came back to her.
DON’T: make your speech full of inside jokes between you and the bride that only the two of you will understand. When I first wrote my speech, I included all kinds of inside jokes that I laughed hysterically over. However, when I read it aloud to my dad for the first time and asked his opinion, he shared with me that the jokes were not that funny to him because he couldn’t relate. Which leads me to my next point…
DO: practice your speech in front of your close family and friends who you know will be honest and offer constructive criticism. Practicing your speech will help you gain an understanding of the general outline and make you feel more comfortable. However, don’t practice it so much that you have it memorized and it sounds too rehearsed. Remember that it's okay to hold note cards or a piece of paper when you give your speech to help you stay on track!
DON’T: share embarrassing stories that will humiliate the bride and make everyone feel uncomfortable. I’ve been to a handful of weddings where the speeches revolved around stories of embarrassment. As the stories unfolded, I could feel myself sinking a little bit in my chair. If you do have a funny story to share, be sure it’s something even the bride’s grandparents would want to hear.
DO: sit down and reflect on some of your best memories shared with the bride. Then, select one impactful story to share that you believe the guests will feel they can relate to.
DON’T: search YouTube videos of the “World’s Best MOH Speeches.” I learned this the hard way! Watching the latest and greatest speeches only put more pressure on me and gave me even more anxiety than I already had. I recommend just making your speech original and sincere!
DO: include a focus on the groom as well as the bride. It’s important to remember that this day is special for them both and you want to celebrate him too! Even if you don’t know him that well, you can still make mention of what you love about them as a couple or how you feel they are a great fit for one another.
DON’T: give a drunk speech. I’ve been to plenty of weddings where the speech is ruined due to the speaker's lack of responsibility when it comes to alcohol. It’s disrespectful to the bride and groom and also makes you look pretty silly in front of everyone. If you are going to drink, wait until after your speech.
DO: remember to present a toast at the end of your speech and invite the rest of the guests to join in with you. Thankfully for me, the best man gave his speech before me and I was all too surprised at the end to hear him raise his glass in a toast to the bride and groom. This is something so simple, yet easy to forget. The toast doesn’t need to be anything elaborate - just simply offer some kind words for success and happiness to the couple, raise your glass, and invite others to do the same.
We hope this helps you write an awesome speech of your own, whether it’s as a Maid of Honor, Best Man, parent of the newlyweds, or loving host. The most important thing to remember through it all is to have fun. Have you given a wedding speech and have anything to add to our list? Leave it in the comments below!
About Bre: Lover of weddings, writing, and all things sparkly, Bre Morris is our fabulous Blog Contributor. As a profesional bridesmaid and beautiful bride herself, she has an abundance of brilliant wedding tips and advice to share with the world. She holds a Communication & Rhetoric degree from Nazareth College, a place where she would eventually say "I do" and begin her happily ever after. After working in marketing and communications positions in the Rochester area, she moved to Texas with her loving husband Dan and adorable kitten Nittany. Outside of Magically Yours, she works as the Marketing Communications Manager for Frank E. Page Contracting. For more about Bre, check her out on LinkedIn.