I've been meaning to start a blog since last year.
What inspired the idea? I was searching online for good examples of what others had delivered in a maid of honor speech after two of the most important women in my life - my twin sister and best friend - anointed the title to me. Their respective weddings were three weeks apart. I made a mental note to curse them out later.
What I found disturbed me. Online search results surfaced videos of mascara-streaked women with upspeak or younger bubbly sisters singing off-key to the popular love song of the moment. I knew that wasn't the approach I wanted to go with. My twin sister and best friend make up such an indelible part of my soul, they deserved more. I wanted to pen them a life-long love letter.
My speech to my twin sister was exceptionally trying. I needed to capture over 35 years worth of memories in 3 minutes. I've always embraced public speaking as an exciting fear that I enjoyed stepping into. But displaying vulnerability (and very possibly tears) in front of a captive audience didn't sound as neat.
Despite it so cliche, it remains true. When you love someone, speak bravely from the heart. Don't defer any more time in letting them know how much they've moved you. After a couple of plastic attempts at humorous drafts, I surrendered to the idea of losing control and getting emotional. If I became a wet mess in front of my sister and the audience, well, stranger things have happened.
The budding inspiration behind starting this blog was to share life's moments seen through the lens of Cali-cool sensibilities. So, just in time before wedding season erupts to critical mass, here are my tips to keep in mind if you're oratorically prepping for a VIP bride in your life.
- Write several rough draft speech versions. Be messy at first. Just jot down the main points you want to convey. Give yourself enough runway time for re-writes.
- Edit, edit, edit. As you do with your closet, the same with your words. As my sister's wedding planner told me, if a speech runs too long, people's eyes begin to glass over. And be sure to rehearse your near-final version with a few trusted friends for honest feedback.
- Everybody loves a good story. Add a personal moment about you and the bride and tell it well. Make eye contact as you storytell. People will have an inclination to stop eating and lean in to listen.
- Go notes-free. You're giving a speech because presumably you're close to this person. You probably know this person better than anyone else in the room, so what's with the notes? Besides, nobody wants to see you read from paper that's been folded several times over.
- Don't procrastinate writing that draft! (See point above.)
- If you're not comfortable with a direction that doesn't feel authentic to who you are, bag it. The number one secret in delivering a winning speech is to speak from the heart.
- Don't let the day of the wedding be the first time you're hearing yourself give the speech. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Familiarity breeds confidence.
- Don't panic if a sudden bout of anxiety hits you before you speak. You're nervous because you care and want to do a good job. A swig of alcohol beforehand is a bit of a miracle worker too.
- If you must have your lucky feather and insist on notes, please don't read them from your iPhone.
Video shot and edited by the crazy great storyteller Dave Nguyen and his team behind Lightbulb Videography.