If you’re a VIP guest at a wedding, chances are you’ll have to make a speech at some point during one of the various events. Lucky you, right? Marisa Polansky and Kristine Keller are all too familiar with the stress and anxiety that can come with this honor so they founded Speech Tank, a speech-writing service for any occasion. They believe anyone is capable of giving a great speech—some people just need a little help finding the magic words.
“Help! I have to give a Maid-of-Honor speech, but I really don’t like the groom. Am I screwed?” -A distressed MOH
We get this question a lot—like, a lot a lot. Okay, so the bad news is the guy your friend’s marrying kind of stinks. The good news is you’re not marrying him. And the best news? You can still give a killer speech to an audience who will never know that you’d rather she marry her ex from the LFO cover band. Or that park performer who paints himself silver and pretends he’s a statue. Or really…anyone else.
Below we share Speech Tank tips for when the bride’s future spouse is meh, pretty bad, or the worst:
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IF HE’S MEH: Emphasize “Them”
Is he interrupts-her-during-dinner-and-makes-fart-jokes bad or is he if-her-mama-only-knew bad? Could it be that though he’s not right for you, he’s actually right for her? Is she lighter, more confident or curious with him? Leave your feelings out of it and imagine that just maybe, they’re stronger together. If that’s the case, your job is easy. Swap out the “her” anecdotes for “them” stories. Don’t emphasize one and then the other, which might show the cracks in your “I’m sooo happy for them” façade. Instead, make the bulk of your speech about the times you knew they were the real deal—or at least the times you knew that she knew they were the real deal.
IF HE’S PRETTY BAD: Don’t Ignore Him. At Least Not Tonight.
A good MOH speech should be two-thirds about your friend and one-third about the betrothed. If you really don’t like the groom, though, you’re going to have to do some creative accounting. Use the first two-thirds to express all the greatness that makes the bride, the bride. Spend the last third detailing how she’s changed or grown since meeting her fiancé. Was she deeply afraid of sharks before, but now she’s a deep-sea diver? Talk about that. You sound like you’re saying nice things about the groom without actually saying anything nice. It’s like the “I’m too organized” answer for the “what’s your biggest flaw” interview question. And, if like the hiring manager, the audience knows it’s bullshit? Well, at least it sounds good.
IF HE’S THE WORST: Keep It Short…And Short
If the situation is so bad that you wish your speech was during the “speak-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace” moment, then keep it short. The truth is, brevity is a gentle suggestion for all wedding speeches, but when you can’t stand the future spouse, it’s a rule. There’s just no way you get out of talking about the groom if you deliver a fifteen-minute address. Try and remember that most of all, you’re hoping for happiness for your friend, both in your speech and in her life. So, if all you can muster is a “to health, happiness, and good fortune” toast, then start your speech with that glass held high. And don’t feel too bad, he likely has someone from his life delivering a speech too. Or maybe he doesn’t. He sounds pretty bad.