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Maid of Honor and Best Man Guide
As the maid of honor or best man, you have been selected by the bride and groom to have a special role at their wedding. This role is important during both the ceremony and the reception. There are many things you can do to ensure that their day is extraordinary, and here are a few tips to help you along the way:
Generally, your master of ceremonies will introduce the bridal party as you enter the reception. Parents and grandparents are normally introduced from their seats, then ushers are announced as they enter, followed by the bridal party, and finally the bride and groom. The bridal party normally enters with the best man and maid/matron of honor right before the bride and groom enter. The master of ceremonies will make sure everyone is in the right order before announcing you, however it is helpful for you to have some understanding of how this will work and keep the rest of the bridal party organized in one place so we don’t have to chase anyone down.
Bridal Party Dance
Help the bride and groom with song suggestions if they need it and make sure the rest of the bridal party is informed about when the bridal party dance will occur. When the time for the dance is approaching, keep an eye out for those involved and make sure they are present.
The concept of the money or dollar dance is that guests pay for the privilege of dancing with the bride and groom. This dance gives the bride and groom a way to spend a few moments with each guest and thank them for coming. The money is often used for the honeymoon or just to give them a little extra cash to start their lives together.
Collect money from participating guests on behalf of the bride or groom. Usually the maid of honor collects money for the bride and the best man collects money for the groom.
Keep the line moving. If given the opportunity, some guests will dance with the bride or groom for a whole song—which isn’t practical if there are 10 to 20 other people in line. To keep the money dance from dragging on, we recommend sending a guest to cut in after 20 to 30 seconds.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
You and the rest of the wedding party help set the mood for the event and other guests will look to you as an example. Your presence on the dance floor will encourage other guests to come out and dance as well.
Don’t drink to excess. Especially before your toast, alcohol can do more than just loosen you up—it can lead you to make a not-so-positive impression of yourself or the rest of the wedding party. Have fun, but know your limits.
Generally, the best man and maid of honor are each expected to propose a toast to the bride and groom during the reception. We will communicate with you at the reception to determine exactly when and how the toasts will occur. Having seen our fair share of poorly executed toasts, here are some suggestions to help make you look like a rock star.
- Take time at least a few days before the wedding to think about what you are going to say. You may find it helpful to write your speech out in its entirety, but when you deliver it at the reception try not to read it word-for-word. Instead of a complete script, we recommend making a few notes (an outline or key words) on an index card. You can lay the note card on the table and glance at it as needed to make sure you’re on the right track, and it will sound much more natural. This method allows you to make eye contact with the bride and/or groom, as well as the audience, instead of just looking at a piece of paper for the entire speech.
- What you choose to say is up to you, but here are some things that may help get you started:
Start with a brief introduction, making sure to identify your relationship with the bride and groom.
Determine whether you are going to give a more touching speech or a more humorous one. Keep this tone in mind as you write your speech.
Describe the bride or groom before they met their new spouse, and then how you’ve seen that person change after they met.
A quote, story of how the bride and groom first met, or a fond memory of you with one or both of them may also be nice to include.
Keep your content PG-rated—there may be children or elderly guests present.
Avoid making the bride or groom look bad or mentioning anything that might be embarrassing.
Keep your speech light-hearted. Guests want to be entertained—not taught a life lesson.
Don’t forget to raise your glass! Often, less experienced toasters get so caught up in the story aspect they trail off and pass the microphone without ever raising their glasses to salute the bride and groom. Decide how you’re going to finish your toast ahead of time—a special wish, recited traditional toast, or blessing of the bride and groom all work well. Raise your glass with a resounding congratulations or cheers, and don't forget to clink glasses and drink to your own toast!
- Make sure that everyone can see and hear you as you make your awesome speech.
Stand with good posture and hold the microphone at your chin to make sure it picks up your voice so all guests can hear you.
Your speech does not have to be long—no longer than three to five minutes or people start to get antsy.
Engage your audience by looking out across the room and also at the bride and groom—glance down at your notes only when you need to.
If you know you are likely to get emotional during your speech, be prepared with kleenex or a hankerchief.
Remember to enjoy the moment and have fun!
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P.O. Box 1544
Ames, IA 50014