If you were asked to serve as the maid of honor for one of your friends or family members, there's a lot to look forward to: After all, this role is a huge honor, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. Not only will you be expected to help with wedding planning, including organizing the bridal shower and bachelorette party, but you'll also be expected to give a speech on the wedding day. Nervous? Don't be! To make sure that your speech and delivery goes off without a hitch, we asked wedding planners to share the things they recommend excluding from your speech.
Anything negative about the bride.
You were chosen to be maid of honor for a reason, and that's because the bride-to-be thinks incredibly highly of you. Don't make her regret her decision by saying anything that could be seen as an insult. Additionally, avoid comparing yourself to her in a negative light. For example, you may still be single at 40, but your speech isn't the opportunity for you to tell your sob story. "It's unfair to bring the house down with your bad mood when it's a wedding celebration," says Lisa Grotts, San Francisco-based etiquette expert.
Any mention of an ex.
Bringing up anything from the past that isn't pertinent to the wedding day is a no-no, and this especially includes any mentions of ex-boyfriends, -fiancés, or -husbands. Even if you think it will make her groom look amazing in comparison, it's best to keep any reference out of your speech and conversations for the entirety of the wedding celebration.
Whether it's a funny memory from childhood or a hilarious moment from the bachelorette party, be cautious when telling tales that may embarrass the bride. The same goes for anything considered secretive—no matter how long ago the secret was shared. "There's no statute of limitations on keeping secrets," says Thomas P. Farley, etiquette expert and founder of Mister Manners.
Think about your speech as a movie—how would you rate it? If it's any higher than PG, you may want to do some editing. "Obscenities and any other language that are not family fare," says Farley. "Avoid the temptation to use swear words or anything that might be considered inappropriate by older generations."
Predictions about children.
While it might seem totally harmless to wish the bride and groom a healthy, happy family full of tons and tons of babies, it's best to leave any mention of future children out of your speech. "Phrases such as 'I can't wait until you have a beautiful daughter of your own,' will be hauntingly sad on the wedding video if the couple winds up struggling with infertility," explains Farley. "It also presupposes that the couple actually wants to have children, which they may not."
Anecdotes that will upstage the best man.
For the sake of keeping things fresh for the audience, Farley suggests that the maid of honor compare notes with the best man to ensure that they do not duplicate anecdotes. "The toasts will likely be stylistically different—they should contain different content, too, complementing one another rather than competing with one another," he adds.
Maryanne Parker, etiquette expert and founder of Manor of Manners suggests staying away from controversial topics, including politics and jokes that could be misunderstood. "For example, if the couple's families are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, this is definitely not the place to mention it," she says. "Additionally, if, for some reason, you don't think the marriage is a good idea, this is not the time to mention that."