We live in enlightened times. Britain has a female Prime Minister. And a Queen! Germany has both (sort of). The US almost elected a woman to be its Commander In Chief.
And yet, at the majority of weddings, the speaking roles are delegated exclusively to the men. The Father of the Bride, the Groom, and the Best Man. Some traditions are worth upholding, but in our opinion, this isn’t one of them.
Fortunately, it seems that slowly but surely, weddings are catching up with the times. Each year we at Great Speech Writing receive an increasing number of enquiries for Maid of Honour wedding speeches (Maid of Honor in the States, of course!) from female speakers. But they still represent only a small fraction of the wedding speeches we work on. And that’s a shame.
Because Best Women speeches are often the most original, insightful, and entertaining of the bunch. Why? There are two reasons:
On the one hand, the Best Woman often knows sides of the bride that their fathers don’t. And that the grooms don’t. Yet.
On the other, there isn’t a rule book. The tradition isn’t enshrined, and the audience might not even expect it. This can give the Best Woman the creative freedom to go for something truly unique.
So how to go about crafting something that will capture the imaginations of the guests, bride, and groom alike?
First of all, if possible, it’s always worth speaking to the Father of The Bride to make sure you don’t tread on each other’s toes. You want your contribution to the day to be fresh and original. There’s nothing more dispiriting than readying yourself for the big moment, only to hear another speaker cover the same material minutes before you’re due to follow. If he’s going to focus on Julie’s obsession with a teddy bear called Bill, it’s best you don’t. Or at least just throw in a line for an easy laugh. If he’s inaccessible, you can avoid awkward complications by focusing on content that will be off his radar entirely.
Similarly, as more speakers are introduced to the running order, it might be worth agreeing on a collective time limit. The more speakers the merrier. But not if that means the guests are going to have to endure an hour’s worth of speeches. After all, this is a wedding, not an October afternoon in Blackpool.
Once you’ve determined how long you want to speak for, and what content you’d like to include, the advice we’d give is identical to that of any wedding speech.
Keep your sentences short and punchy. This will make it more immediately engaging, more impactful, and guide you in towards a pitch perfect delivery.
Find a theme. Some of the most successful wedding speeches have a theme to unify the varied content. To allow a seamless flow from section to section. It’s not a rule of thumb, and by no means obligatory, but if you can think of a theme to tie everything together, go for it. It could be her love of Grease the musical. Or her inability to add up. Her tom boy years. Or even her obsession with Bruce Forsythe. A linear, chronological approach is rarely the best way to go.
Remember your audience. It’s unlikely that the groom, the bride, not to mention the father of the bride, will want to hear about Javier the poolboy in Marbella. So try and craft something that will appeal to as many people as possible. Remember, convention means that the Best Man is almost duty bound to humiliate the groom (within reason, and in relatively good taste), but the expectations of the Best Woman / Maid of Honour are different. In fact, there almost aren’t any.
This might be daunting for some, but think of it instead as a privilege. An opportunity. A chance to do something different. So whether you want to write something moving, heartfelt, or simply humorous (or all three!), you have a carte blanche to bring something original, fresh, and free of expectation, to what will hopefully be an unforgettable contribution to an unforgettable day.
Great Speech Writing can help you write your maid of honour wedding speech. Please contact us at Great Speech Writing so we can talk you through the next steps.