How to nail the 'lady' speech at a wedding.

“She was very generous with her love.” The words you never want to hear about a bride during a wedding speech.

Being asked to do a speech at a wedding is kind of a big deal.

First, there’s the initial compliment of being asked. Next, there’s the realisation of the work involved. Then the dread of delivering it. And, finally, the elation of having finished the task (and contributed to the wedding of someone you love).

Usually it ends like this…

But you know there is something going desperately wrong if, during your speech, the bride looks like this…

Which is exactly what happened at a wedding I went to last year.

As the maid of honour (commonly known as MOH in serious bride circles) told the 150-plus guests about how her sister used to bring home a different guy every weekend, the bride held her head in her hands. MOH continued, saying their mum was more upset about each bloke leaving than the bride. When the shocked guests guffawed and excitedly whispered to their neighbours, the MOH tried to backtrack. “No, no – she was just very generous with her love,” she attempted to explain.

Nope, too late. MASSIVE FAIL.

So, after being tasked with delivering a speech at my childhood friend’s wedding, I felt inspired by this hilarious  awkward debacle to do some research on how to nail a wedding speech.

This is what I learnt:

1. No sex talk. EVER. And no mention of exes.

Grandma is in the room, people. As well as parents and in-laws. Nobody wants to know about the bride (or groom) hooking up with anybody. Or the bride’s reaction to the stripper you hired at the hens party. Keep it clean.

And if a hilarious story that you really need to tell involves an ex, leave that bit out. Erasing history is okay at a wedding.

Trust me on this one.

2. Be funny.

Some of the random sites Google sources I consulted advised MOH’s to be short and sweet. Literally. Being funny was the domain of the best man, something MOHs shouldn’t bother their pretty little heads with.

Screw that, I say.

maid of honour speech
Me being hilarious while delivering my speech (try not to laugh at your own jokes as much as I did). Image:

A funny wedding speech is the best. Nobody wants to listen to 15 minutes of you blowing smoke up the bride’s arse. Chuck in a couple of funny stories that illustrate the bride’s (positive) traits and you’re golden.

So go ahead and channel your inner Tina Fey. You might get paid 78 cents for every dollar the best man does, you sure as hell are just as funny.

Just don’t forget to…

3. Do a dry run in front of someone with lots of common sense.

It’s easy to get carried away with a gag or feel too attached to cut a part of the speech that took a lot of time to write, but just doesn’t work. Enter a friend/relative/partner who is willing to tell it like it is.

Or try a couple of friends, so you can see whether they laugh at the parts you expected (hint: if not, remove or edit them).

4. Structure your speech so you don’t lose people.

Start by introducing yourself and giving a little insight into your relationship with the bride. This gives context to your speech and stops people being distracted with questions about who the magical creature speaking actually is.

Talk about the bride’s best qualities and use a story or two to illustrate these. Your speech should make the bride feel great, so save the embarrassing anecdotes for the hens night.

Definitely don’t do this (post continues after video):

Don’t forget the groom. A quick shout-out to the groom via your first impressions of him, what the bride’s initial take on him was, or a cute story about when you knew he was the one for the bride goes down a treat.

Finish with a toast. (Yes, you can use a quote if you want, but don’t make it lame. And no famous love poems or wedding readings during the speech. They are BOR-ing.)

5. Do not make the speech about you.

Give some background into your relationship with the bride (see above), but do not use the speech as an opportunity to big note.

We all know you’re important. That’s why you have the microphone.

6. Put notes in your phone when something strikes you to avoid writer’s block.

Usually you’re given plenty of advance warning about speech duties, so when you’re sitting on a tram and a great story or comment comes to you, WRITE IT DOWN.

You will think that you don’t need to because you will remember it. You won’t.

Keeping a list of talking points in your phone makes it so much easier to write the speech.

And last, but absolutely not least…

7. Tipsy is okay. Rollicking drunk is not.

Pace yourself with the champagne. It’s easy to get carried away with the non-stop refills, all the love, the bubbles… but don’t.

Have a few to ease the nerves (and take one with you for your toast), but wait until you’ve delivered your masterpiece until you throw them back and hit the d-floor.

For more wedding fun, try these articles:

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Have you ever witnessed a disaster wedding speech?