You’ve been asked to play a huge role in your best friend’s wedding you’re the maid of honour! But being the maid of honour definitely comes with its slew of important tasks, including giving the maid of honour speech. You and your BFF have been through everything together, and this is the big day to truly celebrate them. But if you’re not used to giving speeches, the whole idea of getting up in front of a crowd can be a little nerve-wracking, let alone the pressure of finding the perfect words to adequately express how you’re feeling.
But with a few tips and tricks, along with plenty of time and practice, your maid of honour speech will go off without a hitch.
As die-hard wedding enthusiasts and staunch advocates of girl code and BFF love, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to create a go-to guide for penning the perfect speech to see your bestie off on her new life with her partner. Read on for helpful tips and proven guidelines to delivering an absolutely unforgettable maid of honour toast.
Most if not all, women are excited about the maid of honour, also sometimes referred to as bridesmaid or matron of honour. You get to be one of the highlights of the special day: To walk down the aisle with the bridal party, and as one of the most important persons at that.
The maid of honour is arguably the most important person at the bridal party, next to the couple. And, truth be told, she tends to attract more attention to a wedding than the best man.
Now, writing a speech can be daunting, even in the best of times. If you are naturally a prolific writer, it may not be as hard, but it still is not easy.
Most of us, however, could use some help in writing an effective maid of an honour wedding speech. Let us now look at some tips on how to go about this.
Table of Contents
- 1 Speech Structure
- 2 Maid of Honor Speech Template
- 3 Maid of Honor Speech Tips
- 4 10 Steps to Nail Your Delivery
- 5 How to Write a Maid of Honor Speech
The structure of many classic maids of honour speeches is pretty simple. First, start out with a thank you. Then, briefly introduce yourself. Establish the relationship that you have with the bride. Tell people how long you have known them, and how well you know them.
Give them a story about when you were both younger together. Comment on how you have seen them change over the years. Next, talk about the first time that you met the groom. You can tell the audience about how special this person seemed to your loved one, and perhaps even give them another story or two about their relationship together.
Then, congratulate the couple. Offer a toast if you would like. To fill in the blanks and get started, first read our selection of maid of honour speech examples we’ve prepared for you.
Maid of Honor Speech Template
While every maid of honour speech will be different, we’ve put together an outline to get you started on yours. Once you have the right flow for your words, the delivery comes easily.
Start with the bride, end with the couple.
Of everyone at the wedding, you have the best insight into how much her partner has changed your bestie for the better. Your speech needs to be about the friend you knew long before she met her partner, and then pivot to what role they have played in her life. Maybe she’s even funnier now thanks to her new partner’s sense of humour, or perhaps their support has empowered her to take risks in new ways. Maybe you’ve simply never seen your BFF so happy and content.
This is also a great way to incorporate her new spouse into the speech if you don’t really know them that well; speak to the way that they complement the bride or have made her a better person.
Become an awesome storyteller.
Stories breathe life into the couple and do a better job of getting your point across than making a blanket statement. A story about your bestie’s character and how great of a friend she has been goes much further than stating a phrase. It can be helpful to think of the speech in terms of one big theme, or several smaller themes, and then flesh it out with memories that highlight those to make sure the examples you choose to share are relevant to your overall message.
End with a positive outlook on their future.
Again, the nature of this speech is not so much about your relationship with the bride, but about the bond that the couple shares together. Make sure that all of the separate components of your toast draw a positive conclusion, ending in how happy the couple is together and your best wishes for their marriage. An easy way to achieve this is to create a sort of skeleton for your speech of all the major points you want to make (like the themes mentioned above)—more or less creating a roadmap for your ideas—and then fill it in with supporting information.
Maid of Honor Speech Tips
Keep in mind these helpful tips to ensure you nail your maid of honour toast.
Ditch generic praise.
There’s a big difference between simply saying, “She is such a great friend!” versus telling the story about the time your BFF got a loan from the family she babysat for so she could visit you in your dorm after being dumped by your boyfriend. Again, you should use the toast as your moment to bring some dimension to the bride, and use stories to illustrate her very best characteristics and qualities.
Remember that it isn’t about you.
While a lot of the anecdotes you use should be about your time with the bride, you should not be the focal point. After you briefly introduce yourself (remember: most of the people probably won’t know who you are or your relation to the couple), you really shouldn’t be making any additional references to yourself. You’re simply the vehicle to explain why the newlyweds are so fantastic. Only bring yourself into the mix as necessary, and instead focus on a couple of the hour.
Do not mention exes.
No one wants to be reminded of their dating failures, particularly in front of their families, friends, and new life partner. So, as tempting as it is, save the ex-talk for your next girls’ night. Keep the tone of your speech positive, and it will reflect, well, positively on you also. You don’t want to come across as a Negative Nancy or worse like you’re trying to roast the bride in front of everyone.
Keep it short.
The longer your speech, the more opportunities you’ll have for people to start losing attention and missing your jokes. The ideal speech length is between three and five minutes, this is plenty of time for you to make your introduction, share your theme and supporting anecdotes, and end with a call to have everyone join you in toasting the newlyweds.
Pause after delivering a joke
Whenever you say a joke, be sure to pause for a few seconds afterwards to let the audience laugh. When you tell a joke and then immediately start speaking right afterwards, you won’t give people a chance to laugh or even understand what you’re about to say next. Keep in mind that starting the speech off on a funny note can help you capture the attention of the audience for a minute or two, but it’s the meaningful content that will keep them enthralled until the end.
Don’t use inside jokes.
If the joke or the situation is something other wedding guests would have to be there to understand, avoid using it in your speech. If people don’t understand the context behind a situation or a joke, it will probably go over their heads. It’s okay to make a little bit of fun of the bride, maybe for her childhood taste in movies or music, but keep it light. Don’t say anything that would be embarrassing or make her feel uncomfortable.
Practice reading your maid of honour speech.
The more times you practice your speech before the wedding day, the better it will sound when you read it for real. Practice your speech twice a day and record yourself a couple of times so you can hear your pacing and your tone. You’ll feel confident because you’ll have practically committed the words to memory. Rehearse the speech in front of friends, too, in order to see if your jokes get a laugh.
10 Steps to Nail Your Delivery
If you’re concerned with the performance part of your toast, keep these tips in mind to help you shine in the spotlight:
- Write out what you plan to say in phrases, not word-for-word. Having blocks of text in front of you gets you to speak more naturally than if you were to read stiffly from complete sentences on a page.
- Keep it short. No one likes to listen to anyone drone on and on and on. Just a minute (perhaps a few seconds more), is all you need to deliver the perfect toast. Anything longer, and everyone thinks, “She likes to hear herself talk.”
- Read your toast out loud to yourself, as well as a friend, to pluck out any awkward spots or tongue twisters.
- Speak a little more slowly than you normally would. When people get nervous, they tend to talk super fast, which is when flubs and stammers happen.
- Breathe! As you practice your toast, mark in red pen places where it’s best to take a “breath break” so that your reading comes out more naturally, instead of you gasping for air at the end of a long sentence.
- Don’t lock your knees. When you’re standing to deliver your toast, keep your knees loose and your body relaxed to stand nice and tall.
- Stay sober. Liquid courage isn’t going to result in a great toast, but rather spins off into slurred tangents, and the bride will never forgive you for being bombed during your big moment in her honour.
- Make eye contact. When you’re talking about the bride and groom, look them in the eyes instead of staring down at your notes or having your eyes dart across the room. If looking at them directly makes you nervous, direct your gaze over the guests’ heads and naturally look from side to side in sweeping glances, not locking eyes with anyone in particular.
- Smile, even if you’re nervous. If you’re talking about something amusing in your toast, be sure your facial expressions match the levity of your story! Don’t just stiffly deliver your toast as if you’re trying to get through it.
- If you get emotional, it’s okay — let a few tears loose, don’t hold back. That’s simply a sign of how much you love the bride and how happy you are. Don’t feel like you have to fight it back.
How to Write a Maid of Honor Speech
The creative juices are flowing. You’ve got a fresh notebook page open or at least the note-taking app pulled up on your phone. It’s time to write an amazing maid of honour speech. But what do you say?
Cover All Your Bases
While you should feel free to innovate and personalize the standard as much as you want, an expert bridesmaid or maid of honour toastmaster will usually:
- Introduce herself and explain her connection to the happy couple
- Express how thrilled she is to be at the wedding and thank the couple (and their parents, if appropriate) for inviting everyone to be a part of their special day.
- Include a personal touch (a favourite memory, joke or sentiment) that will be emotionally significant to everyone.
- Offer encouraging (and often moving) words of advice for their future together. (A quote often works its way in here.)
- Conclude with the standard raising of the glass, saying “To [the couple’s names]!” (Don’t forget to take a sip!)
As you start writing your speech, think about your connection to your best friend. Some of the best maids of honour speeches include stories about how the maid of honour met the bride or fun (appropriate) stories of their friendship. If you’ve gotten to know your friend’s new spouse, tell stories of them as a couple. If their love is truly inspiring, let them know it. This is the time to open your heart, share touching moments and maybe even a silly anecdote or two that captures your friendship.
Pick an Appropriate Quote
If you include a quotation, make sure you choose one that really resonates with you, and that’s relevant to your message. Settle on words of wisdom or poignant wit you can deliver with confidence, sincerity and understanding. And remember, quoting is not required. If it feels at all pretentious or disingenuous, skip it and substitute with something that feels more “you.”
Find Your Style
The best man speech is often expected to be a wry retelling of zany shenanigans, funny commentary on the subject of marriage and self-deprecating remarks. But you don’t need to make your maid of honour speech sentimental and poetic for the sake of contrast. If you’re hilarious, work with it! Don’t worry about stealing anyone’s thunder or not filling the role of earnestness. On the other hand, if quipping isn’t your thing, don’t feel pressured to be a comedian—be yourself and speak from the heart.
Keep It Short and Sweet
As you prepare your toast, keep it simple. Don’t use words you normally wouldn’t use. Try not to ramble—toasts can be as short as two lines or as long as two minutes. Steer clear of X-rated anecdotes, goofy giggling and sing-songy, gimmicky group efforts if you really don’t think you can nail it (although we’ve seen some seriously awesome maid of honour and bridesmaid performances before). Remember, this is your moment. You’ll feel better if you make it a class action rather than force something over the top.
Know What to Keep Out
Your maid of honour speech or bridesmaid toast is not the time to bring up any exes, discuss family drama or mention some of the more inappropriate fun you had at the bachelorette party. Weddings are a time of joy. They’re also family events. Remember, your friend’s parents or grandparents may be in the audience.
Giving Your Maid of Honor Speech
Completing your maid of honour speech or bridesmaid speech is a big accomplishment. Phew. But when your friend’s wedding arrives, you’ll need to actually, gulp, give your speech in front of the couple’s closest friends and family. While public speaking is a common fear, here’s how you can stay calm and toast on.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you’ve written your toast, practice reading it out loud (a lot) to up your comfort level when the time comes. If you want to, grab another wedding party member on the day of the wedding to ask for final feedback on delivery, jokes and hand gestures. You’ll be grateful for the pre-performance audience. Write out the complete speech or transfer it to note cards and bring the cheat sheet with you to the microphone (no, you don’t have to memorize it). You’ll be glad to have the backup in case your nerves get the better of you.