The Mother of the Bride's Speech

She is your little girl and you have probably spent many months preparing for her big day. Whether you had a large role in crafting this event or were only a necessary second opinion for her desires, you will likely find yourself seated at a table during a rehearsal dinner or reception expected to make a speech.

The first component of a lovely speech is preparation. Discuss when and if your daughter wants your speech to be delivered.  Then, determine how long you are comfortable speaking.  Once you have a length of time set, you can begin to build a speech to fit your time frame.

The first line of your speech is crucial to setting the tone.Like the beginning of a good story, consider the first line your opportunity to seize the attention of the audience. You may want to open with a fact, a quote, or a joke. This type of opening is to the point and sets the tone.

Keep in mind that this event is about your daughter.  It isn't your time to challenge yourself or step outside of your comfort zone.  In many ways, you are talking to your daughter and the rest of the guests just happen to be listening. Do what makes you comfortable.  If you aren't comfortable being witty, forgo the joke and think of a meaningful quote or fact that really speaks the relationship you have with your daughter.

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Once you have decided on an opening line, offer a bit of vulnerability.You want to speak highly of your daughter's development from a young girl to a capable woman and focus on the ways in which she has changed and the ways she has stayed the same.  You don't have to have a long list of traits.  Pick one or two and elaborate with anecdotes that reflect the personal nature of a wedding.

Since you are in a position of vulnerability, don't be afraid to show emotion.This is an emotional milestone that will make you laugh and cry.  Be open to those emotions.  If you find yourself feeling like you cannot continue with your speech, make eye contact with your little girl and give yourself permission to shed tears.  You may find your daughter is right there along with you!

Towards the end of your speech, you will want to mention your daughter's relationship with her brand new husband.Whether you know a lot about him or just a little, describe what you have observed between them that makes you confident in their future.  You may even consult your daughter about specific details regarding her husband.  These details do not have to be brought up in your speech, but they may make you feel more confident about discussing this man in her life.

The ending of this type of speech will be very similar to the beginning.By the end of the speech, you may feel more comfortable getting everyone to chuckle.  Or, if your speech was particularly sentimental, you may want to be consistent with your ending.Don't forget to raise your glass for a toast!