Many, many years ago, I was maid of honor for my best friend’s wedding.
I’d never been the maid of honor before, and I think it took some time for it to sink in that I would have to give a speech at the wedding. Public speaking and I are enemies. In college, I took an entire year of French to meet my public speaking requirement instead of one semester of speech.
However, I couldn’t get out of the obligation at the wedding. I mean how does one say, “Pass” to their best friend on their most important day?
The entire day leading up to the speech, I was a nervous wreck.
The event took place on a vineyard, and before the late afternoon ceremony, the wedding party had a wine tasting. I’m not much of a drinker, so I only took tiny sips to avoid getting plastered and doing something horrendous like puking during the vows.
For the most part, I succeeded in not getting tipsy.
After the vows were exchanged, we sat down for dinner, and I realized I’d been signed up for a vegetarian meal. At the time, I didn’t eat much meat, but here’s the kicker. I hate veggies. My idea of a vegetarian diet consists of beans, rice, and cheese.
The caterer had prepared a gorgeous tower of colorful vegetables that was too pretty to eat. Since I hated nearly everything else on my plate, I didn’t touch it.
When I’m nervous, my throat gets dry. The only drink on the table was wine. I mean, we were on a vineyard, so this shouldn’t have been a surprise. I started drinking my wine on a completely empty stomach. The staff kept filling my glass. I continued sipping it so I could eventually speak when my time came.
The speeches started, and I noticed something that had never entered my head. Everyone had a prepared speech written out, and they read from a paper.
I hadn’t prepared at all. Remember, I never took public speaking 101.
And, I was now drunk.
It was finally my turn, and I remember standing to speak. That’s pretty much the only thing I can recall, aside from my knees knocking together.
After I spoke, I returned to my seat and downed another glass of wine.
The follow morning, I woke on the vineyard, and the entire wedding party planned to hit up some other vineyards in the area before we all scattered to our flights back home.
I was nervous to go to breakfast because I thought I’d flubbed my speech. I winged it when others had probably struggled for days finding the right words.
Not so confidently, I entered the dining area, and the mother of the bride told me how nice my speech was. I’d known her for years, and I chalked it up to her being kind. But, as the day progressed, everyone confided in me that I had given the best speech.
When we sat down on the plane, I turned to my partner and said, “What exactly did I say in my speech?”
“I can’t remember, but it made me cry.”
I still don’t know what I said, but I’m counting it as a win. It was also the last time I was maid of honor. I can’t handle the pressure.