Oh, not everyone takes paper up with them to make their maid-of-honor speech?
Well, old habits die hard.
One of the perks of being a writer is that you’ve always got words- usually far too many- whenever they are needed. This month, I was maid of honor in the wedding of one of my closest friends. Without saying too much here, watching her move through life and appreciating just how much she has grown in so many different directions in the time we’ve known each other has been remarkable. Friendships like that make for difficult speeches, because how can you convey all of complexity in just a page or so?
Only if you are willing to let go of someone for their own good, do you become worthy of them.
While there’s no way I can condense the essence of my friend and our friendship, as well as her relationship with her husband as I understand it into a mere page, I can definitely narrow down the topic. Conventional writing rules still sort of apply:
Theme: One of the reasons why my friend and I are so close is that we see the world in similar ways. We also see relationships in similar ways. Both she and I only want to be with people who are safe to grow with, and who prioritize our growth and their own over other goals or distractions in life. The commitment aspect of a relationship isn’t to love the other person no matter what, but to always ferret out the things that will help them become who they were meant to be, and tirelessly champion them, being their safe place to explore, to fail, and to try again. And of course in turn, they do the same for us. The feeling of being in love can come and go, but the feeling of being with someone who has your best interests at heart and supports those over what is comfortable for them isn’t something that comes along every day. When you find someone like that- someone who cares enough about you to let go of their ego and the need to control an outcome and instead just facilitate your soul’s growth regardless of where it takes you both- you hold on. That’s the theme of the speech.
Plot: Like with everything good to read, stuff has to happen. There has to be an arc of narration. To ensure the speech hit all the sweet spots, the same rules apply- ensure there’s an opening, the rising action, the climax, and denouement. This gives it emotional roundness, and makes it resonate. Rather than just listing out things, I told a story that illustrated how her growth and mine have intertwined, to show that I understand the trajectory of her life That puts me in the position of understanding how her husband is facilitating her growth and dreams.
POV: I considered my own point of view here- I’m the friend. That means, I can speak with most authority about our friendship. And in this case, how it changed and improved through her relationship with her new husband.
Audience: My friend has a really small family, but her husband’s is huge. I considered what his family would want to hear from me- I could give them insight into what she’s like both with and without him. I can give my insight into where I think she hopes the relationship will go, and what his role in her life will look like.
Pacing: There’s one page, Sutton. No room for subplots or meandering side-explorations about the meaning of life.
In this case, the speech became a no-brainer. He cares more about her becoming who she is supposed to, than he does about selfishly holding onto her. If she ever outgrows him, I believe that he will let her go gracefully and with love. I believe the sorrow in his heart at losing her will be tempered by the comfort that she’s exactly where she should be.
Only if you are willing to let go of someone for their own good, do you become worthy of them. This is why I think their marriage will last, and that is what I wanted to show everyone else through my speech.