After you've bought the dress and helped the bride conquer her seven page to-do list, you may find one more task on your list of maid-of-honor duties that's making you flutter with nerves: giving a speech at the wedding.
The bride and you may have quite the rolodex of memories, but how do you know which ones to choose? And after you select the top couple of memories, how do you even form a speech that'll keep people engaged and laughing and not drowning themselves in the extra salad dressing that's on their dinner table?
Here are six tips and tricks of how to pull off a maid-of-honor speech that'll be memorable — in a good way.
1. Organize your bursting thoughts
Chances are you have a lot to say! To be a maid of honor, you have to have some kind of interlocking history and relationship with the bride. Start off by organizing your speech into four parts: how you met, what made you two so close, what you know about her and her love for the groom, and last, a wish that you have for the newlyweds.
2. Leave out the R-rated embarrassing parts
Whether you have some laughable memories about the bride from late nights out in college or spring break trips, leave out the embarrassing stuff that involves her intoxicated or looking like a hot mess.
3. Address the groom
Because he's the other half of the picture and therefore, should be the other half of your speech.
4. Keep it sweet but short
Our attention spans during a wedding are busy flirting with the open bar, the dance floor and all of the guests that surround the reception room. Be sure to cut out any long chunks of your speech to keep it under three minutes.
5. Have a good time up there
Remember to give your speech personality. Avoid clichés or template speeches that people have heard over and over and over again and go up there and have fun.
6. Give your speech a read ahead a time
Read your speech out loud three times so you can catch errors and also establish a nice pace and tone.
Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.