“Love is patient, love is kind, love endures forever…” Oh wait, this is a blog post on the perfect speech not the worst one. If you want your speech to be terrible, by all means recite 1 Cor 13:4. Really go ahead. No one in the world has heard love is patient, love is kind and that love endures forever. It will be BRAND NEW INFORMATION. How about instead, I help you come up with great topics for your speech as well as keep it fresh, original, and real. With any successful speech, you want to be sure that you can immediately capture your audience’s attention. You don’t want to be too short, because some family members might give you the stink eye and think you and their daughter/niece/cousin weren’t as close as they thought. You don’t want to be too long in your speech, because some family members will give you the stink eye for taking them further away from cake time. The perfect combination? A speech that isn’t “Clearly I didn’t take the time to prepare for this so I will say something boring and generic and give a toast to the bride and groom in 45 seconds” to something like “And then in 3rd grade, she totally peed in her pants and our teacher, Mr. Smith pulled aside and gave this really long lecture about how you shouldn’t drink too much Kool Aid before a field trip, and in 4th grade….” Prepare for the speech but don’t be too excessive with it. I would say to keep your speech at around 2-3 minutes. Might not seem like a long time, but if you have the right content, that will be plenty. So how can you come up with the perfect speech? The speech can be centered around a couple topics, depending on how entertaining it is. Here are my suggestions:
1) Think of the time you first met your bride. Was it memorable? Can you remember the details? If it is a humorous and entertaining story, then there you go. You don’t even have to keep reading the other suggestions. If you do want to use how you first met in your speech, then remember to show and not tell. Use words that will make your audience feel like they are right there with you, seeing the whole scene unfold through your eyes. Allow your bride to relive the scene in her head and as a result bring a huge smile to her face. Make sure this doesn’t take up your entire speech either. Use the first minute and a half for the story, and the rest about the bride and groom, and how happy you are for them and so on. If there is something that was said by the bride in the past that can be used in the present, then use it! You can say “Sara told me 4 years ago that she would never date a guy without a good head of hair, and today has fulfilled that promise. I wish you both all the happiness in the world. May you always listen to each other, love each other, care for one another, and most importantly, keep Mens Rogaine in the bathroom drawers.” (Ok, this isn’t my best work but you get the picture).
2) Think of your first impression of the groom. If it was bad, then obviously you don’t want to mention this. Was it funny? Did he turn out to be completely different than how you first thought he was, in a good way? Then there is your story. Again, paint the picture for your audience. After you talk about the impression, you can move on to talk a little bit about how you know the bride, what good friends you are, then close with something regarding your first impression with him and the bride. It makes your speech more memorable when you bring back something from the beginning of your speech and tie it to the end.
3) If you aren’t a big fan of the groom and don’t have much to say about him, then go back to you and the bride. If your first encounter with her was not a very entertaining story, then just speak from your heart. What do you love about this girl? Does she inspire you, encourage you, motivate you? Think about her character traits and write them down. Tell the audience what you love about her and how important she is in your life. At the end, you can say something about how her traits and that of her groom’s successfully complement each other.
4) Wow, really, you still need help? Just kidding. Ok, ok, so, if your first meeting with your bride was a snoozefest, you don’t have much to say about the groom (because he lives all the way in India and you only met him once and thought his accent was funny), and you don’t want to be mushy about how much you love the bride, then let’s talk about a great experience you two had together. Did you both almost get kicked out of a club? Did you go hiking together and pee in your pants when you thought you saw a coyote? What activities do you do together, and does it strengthen your relationship? If so, talk about that. If you want, you can combine some of each of my suggestions for your perfect speech, but remember to keep it at a reasonable amount of time before Grandpa starts eyeing the cake.
About the author: Natalie Ricker has never been a Maid of Honor, but she’s been to plenty of weddings to tell you what works and what doesn’t. She has laughed and cried or gave the stink eye because it was cake time. You can listen to her because she likes to be creative and entertain people with stories. And she’s always right.