Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Three Tips to Remember During Your Maid of Honor Toast

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Photo by Ocken Photography

You’ve put in the work. You went to the dress fittings, coordinated the bridal shower and even covered the hotel costs for those cheap bridesmaids who you knew weren’t going to pay for a thing (don’t feel bad, there are 1-2 of these in EVERY group of bridesmaids, being the maid of honor means taking one or two for the team).

You also tried that weird paleo-diet that the girl at work told you about in effort to drop weight like a high school wrestler. You have been there for the bride, through and through, and next to the bride YOU are the most stunning object in the room.

The best man just wrapped up his speech and chances are he mumbled through some crap about the time he and the groom played video games until five in the morning, almost got arrested and had that "sick time in Cancun." Now it’s your turn to show the crowd why women rule and guys drool, slobber and burp their way to weirdness.

You’ve prepared the speech, practiced it 15-20 times, have your main points down on note cards and are ready to go. Here are three tips that will make you sound relaxed, confident and likable.

  1. Slow Down – Before the first word pops out, take a deep breath and make a conscious effort to slow your words. It’s natural that you will be nervous and the adrenaline will be pumping, so ultimately you’re going to be speaking faster in the heat of the moment. A deep breath and a genuine smile will get you going in the right direction (TIP: Don’t underestimate the power of a smile, it diffuses tension and makes people feel welcomed…a free, easy thing to do to reflect your best self).
  2. Eye Contact – Before the speech, scan the room and pick three spots to direct your attention. My advice, the DJ (for the whole room), the bride and groom and most importantly, the bride and groom’s parents. When describing the great attributes of the bride (her loyalty, beauty, infectious laughter), be sure to look at the bride’s parents for at least 3-5 seconds. Your compliments reflect their efforts of raising a great girl.
  3. Acknowledge the Obvious – This is a chance for you to stick out with an observation that people notice, but rarely vocalize. Doing stand-up for a number of years, I would immediately acknowledge to the crowd if something was weird off the bat (i.e. an audience member looking like a celebrity). If there is a crazy uncle wearing ridiculous plaid pants, something along the lines of "I'm glad Uncle Steven showed up…apparently he’s playing 9 holes tomorrow so he thought he’d just get an early start with the plaid pants." As long as you smile while saying it and it doesn’t come off malicious, you’re all good.
The most important part is to remember who this speech is about. If you're the maid/matron of honor, there's a reason the bride (or groom) selected you. They care for you and know they can depend on you. 

Thanks to Josh Womack, founder of Laughstaff, a speech-writing company that uses stand-up comedians as consultants to best men and maids/matrons of honor around the world. Laughstaff has written over 140 speeches and will help you deliver a wedding toast that is heartfelt, hilarious and memorable. Follow them on twitter and check them out at!

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