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. For her Brides.com column, Jen helps out tongue-tied bridesmaids everywhere.
For many people, the worst part of being a maid of honor isn't having to shell out a couple of hundred on a bridesmaid's dress you'll never wear again, or having to fly to Cancun, Mexico for a bachelorette party and come face-to-face with too many tequila shots. For most of us, the worst part of being a maid of honor is the dreaded speech. We're all just regular people, with regular jobs, and no professional public speaking skills. So what to do when one is faced with having to stand in front of 350 people and say meaningful words. How do you get up there and do it without first downing a bottle of champagne? How do you remember to speak?
Speaking in front of a crowd is terrifying. Let's just acknowledge that simple and true fact. It's scary, everyone's eyes are on you, and they're expecting you to say three minutes worth of the right thing. Everyone experiences this, even the pros. But there are simple and easy ways to mask this. The first thing you need to do is write the speech. My advice to you, off the bat, would be to keep your speech short. Keep it natural. Write it like you would speak it, that way when you deliver it, it sounds like a fluid conversation and not a research paper. Wondering how to do this and do this right? Use the voice-to-text function on your phone and speak what you'd like to say. When it types it out, it should sound more like you than a robot.
Practice your speech twice a day and record yourself a couple of times so you can hear your pacing and your tone. The more times you do this, the easier it will be when you do it in person. You'll feel confident because you'll have practically committed the words to memory.
Admit to yourself that yes, this will be scary, but you can do it. Keep it short, practice often, and have a glass (just one!) of champagne nearby.