Photo courtesy: Roddy MacInnes
Give the people what they want...
It's not a crass story from college or a long winded tale of your connection. It's something to make them look great and tell them how much they mean to you. The Bride and Groom obviously think highly of you. They've asked you to speak to hundreds of people they know. They've given you a microphone and let you loose.
Plan ahead. Most of us are not amazing spur of the moment. Especially when the emotional stakes are high and you just might be slightly dehydrated and exhausted from all the anticipatory celebrations.
- Write down ideas- ask a friend for feedback
- Write bullet points easy to see
- Practice it.
Keep it short. It's really not about you. You've just been nominated to say things to make the Bride and Groom look and sound great and to give guests who don't know you all well, feel a great part of the day. Besides, the best part of what you'll say is usually at the beginning. You're not likely to get much better blathering on. Be succinct.
Don't know what to say or like talking in front of people? Google a funny or sweet poem or quote that fits well and start with it. Say how happy you are for the couple. How honored you are to be asked to be a part of their day. How much you love them and then raise your glass and take your seat.
If you've been asked to give a toast- do so. If not smile and stay seated. They love you anyway but have other plans.
If you haven't been asked to speak but your best friends tipsy mother in law decides to put in her two cents? Begin by going to stand next to her quietly. (She may realize it's uncomfortable and wrap it up.) If she goes on and it's polite, let her speak. If it's inappropriate and you can see the Bride and Groom are uncomfortable, hug her and take the mic and say something witty if it comes to you. "Guess we need to check the air filter on this microphone. Time to party!" (psst.there's an off switch on the side.)
By the way, it's a good idea to let people know before hand who will be speaking and it what order. You can begin with dads, then the best man and end with the maid of honor. This is traditionally done because the maid of honor tends to be the best spoken and lightest of them all, setting a good tone to leave off on. You may do it in any order and you do not have to ask your best man and maid of honor to speak if there's someone more appropriate for the occasion or who would be great to speak to your crowd.
If your mom's dying to speak and you want to say hundreds from it, then let her do so at the rehearsal dinner and tell her ahead of time so that she can plan.
To the bride and groom!