With a few tips and tricks, along with plenty of time and practice, your Maid of Honor speech will go off without a hitch. Try this clear and simple frame-work for a Maid of Honor speech that includes a beginning, middle, and an end. This structure helps guests stay on track and if they do get distracted they won’t get lost.
- The ideal speech length is between 3-5 minutes.
- Who will be speaking before or after you, and how this will affect the content of your speech can be important because you might want to include a reference to their toast in your speech, thank them for an introduction, or introduce the next speaker.
- The more times you practice your speech, the better it will sound when you read it for real. Practice by recording yourself a couple of times so you can hear your pacing and your tone. The more times you do this, the easier it will be when you do it in person. You'll feel confident because you'll have practically committed the words to memory. Rehearse the speech in front of friends in order to see if your jokes get a laugh. An epic speech is about more than just the words you choose to share, it's also about the body language that emphasizes your message. Practicing the toast in front of a mirror can help you nail your physical presence as you deliver your speech and ensure you're smiling and making eye contact the whole way through.
Tell guests who you are, mention you're the Maid of Honor and highlight your relationship with the bride. That way, the speech gives context and helps the guests to connect with what you’re about to say.
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. There's nothing worse than a speaker who goes on and on about herself. You hear about her ideas for the future, how she overcame adversity, and then finally, she mentions the bride. This isn't your moment. 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 the couple of the hour.
Start With the Bride
Talk about why she’s a good person and a better friend. There might be some guests that don’t know the bride very well yet, so share a story about why she's so great. Use this moment to really paint a picture of how amazing she is. Bring her incredible character to life through anecdotes and details that only you could know. Celebrate your friendship with the bride!
Pro Tip: What would the bride want her in-laws and newly acquired family to know about her, and how can you attest to those qualities or characteristics from your own experiences with her? You and the bride may have shared some incredibly funny moments that still make you laugh out loud to this day. But if the joke or the situation is something other wedding guests would have to be there to understand, avoid using it in your speech. 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. Too often the speech devolves into a series of generic compliments; and while this kind of typical praise might be true, it doesn't have a whole lot of heart. Use stories to illustrate her very best characteristics and qualities.
Tell One or More Stories
Share profound memories. Adventures that you've experienced together. Be entertaining, heart-warming, loving, genuine, and funny. The humor can be built around some stories but don’t force it. A story about the bride's positive character and how great of a friend she's been goes much further than stating a phrase.
Pro Tip: Don't mention exes! You may have a treasure trove of memories about your best friend's dating life, but this is definitely not the place for it. Although there's probably no doubt that some of these tales are hysterical, they're just a big no go. No one wants to be reminded of their dating failures, particularly in front of their families, friends, and new life partner, and especially not the in-laws. So, as tempting as it is, save the ex-talk for the bachelorette party!
Keep the tone of your speech positive and it will reflect positively on you as well. 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. Whenever you say a joke, be sure to pause for a few seconds afterward to let the guests laugh. When you tell a joke and then immediately start speaking right afterward, 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.
Photo courtesy of Devin Hendrick Photography
Share Their Love Story in Your Own Words
Share your version of how they met. What did she say? What was her first comment? What was her impression? How did YOU know she had met "The One"? Their first date? Who liked the other first? When you picture the couple's life together in a few years (or from this moment forward) what do you see? What's a warm memory of the newlyweds that always makes you smile? (Think: If their relationship was a Hollywood movie trailer, what key moments would be featured.)
Pro Tip: Share some insight into how much her partner has changed your best friend for the better and then pivot to what role they've played in her life. Maybe she's even funnier now thanks to the groom’s sense of humor, or perhaps his support has empowered her to take risks in new ways. Maybe you've simply never seen the bride so happy and aligned.
This is also a great way to incorporate the groom into the speech if you don't really know them as a couple that well; speak to the way that he complements the bride or has made her a better person. Stories that resonate with people are the ones that will stick with guests.
Compliment the Groom
Say some nice flattering things about the groom. Talk about why he’s a great match for your friend. Share some of the nice things he does for her and loves about her. What was your first impression when you met him? Why do you think he's the one for her? Is there something you want to say to the groom? Any light hearted tips on how to handle the bride from what you've learned from your own experiences with her?
Celebrate Their Marriage
Why are they great together? How have their lives have changed for the better once they started dating? Why will it last forever? Talk about the bond that the couple shares together that you witness all the time.
Share Some Words of Advice
Wish them wonderful things for the future or offer some wisdom. It doesn't have to be written by you, you can read romantic poems or share memorable quotes.
Toast to the Newlyweds
Raise your glass and say: “Here’s to the happy couple” or one of the below options, and take a sip!
Please raise your glasses in honor of the Bride and Groom!
Join me in honoring the marriage of [Bride Name] and [Groom Name]!
With love and happiness, here's to you, [Bride Name] and [Groom Name]!
Cheers to the happy newlyweds!
Let us toast the happiness of the [Bride Name] with her new husband, [Groom Name]!
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to have a full glass ready to toast rather than waiting for the waiter to run over so you can finish the speech. 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.
Hero photo courtesy of ShelbyRae Photographs