Congratulations, someone close to you is getting married, and you’ve been asked to be the maid of honor! This is a huge honor and big responsibility. One of the biggest things that maids of honor feel nervous about is giving a speech at the reception.
Toasting the bride and groom on their big day is an important part of the wedding day. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We’ll cover everything you need to know about how to write a maid of honor speech that will be fun, meaningful, and help the reception go on without a hitch.
General Tips for Writing a Maid of Honor Speech
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you tackle the first drafts of your speech. Some of these will help you in the planning stage, while others are to keep in mind as you practice and prepare.
1. Start Early
The last few weeks before a wedding are hectic, especially for someone with a lot of responsibility like the maid of honor! If there is one thing you don’t want to leave until the last minute, it is the maid of honor speech.
You want to make sure you plan ahead and prepare before walking into the reception. While some couples opt to not have toasts or speeches done, the last thing you want to do is be caught off guard and have nothing prepared if the occasion arises.
Try to start working on your maid of honor speech at least three weeks before the wedding, though you can do drafts much earlier if you’re feeling productive, or have a long history with the bride. Sometimes its harder to narrow down what to say for someone you have known most of your life, like a sibling.
2. Start By Brainstorming
When you first sit down to write your speech, start with a brainstorming session. Write down all the best memories that stand out when you think of your relationship with the bride.
Examples might include how you met, times when you had one another’s backs, ridiculous situations you found yourself in, or funny adventures you’ve had side by side. Naturally, you won’t be including all of these in your speech, but they can be a good jumping off point for other content!
3. Keep Things Positive
Whatever you do, keep things upbeat. While jokes and silly anecdotes are okay, try to avoid jokes about certain topics.
Don’t make a joke about divorce, or talk about how terrible you think marriage is. Those jokes tend to land flat on a day that should be all about celebration. Instead, focus on positive things and compliments.
Make sure to mention how beautiful the bride is, what a happy day it is, and how wonderful it is to be celebrating all together. You are, after all, celebrating the union of two people you are undoubtedly close to.
4. Steer Clear of Cliches
If you’ve been to a lot of wedding in your life, chances are you have found a pattern emerge in some people’s speeches. And the more weddings you’ve been to, the more often you have probably heard the same lines uttered over and over again. The first time you heard it, it may have been sweet, or funny, or inspirational. However, after the fifth time you’ve heard it, it loses its appeal.
Keep those out of your speech and stick to original content, which will be much more meaningful to the couple and those listening.
Some of the cliches we have all heard before include:
- Talking about soulmates, or comparing the couple to a prince and princess who are going to live “happily ever after”
- Threatening the groom and telling him not to hurt the bride (that’s just rude!)
- Saying you never thought the bride would find “the one” (that’s rude, too!)
- Quoting 1 Corinthians 13 (“Love is patient, love is kind…”)
Once you have written your maid of honor speech. don’t wait to run through it till you’re standing in front of a crowded reception hall!
Make sure to practice a few times before the big day. This will help you hear how the words sound and help you hit a natural rhythm. If you’re nervous about speaking in public, practicing is another way to calm your nerves.
If you’re not sure how something sounds, you can record yourself or practice in front of a friend.
What to Talk About
Now that we’ve talked about how to get started, here are a few topics that your maid of honor speech should cover.
1. The Bride And Your Relationship
At the start of your maid of honor speech, make sure to introduce yourself. That includes your name, the fact that you are maid of honor, and how you know the bride.
For example: “Hi everyone, I’m Ashley. I met Becca when we were roommates during our freshman year of college, and today I’m thrilled to be her maid of honor.”
The audience will want some context for your relationship. You can’t expect hundreds of guests to know who you are and what role you play in the bride’s life!
After you’ve established how you know one another, it is time to talk a bit about the bride. The best way to do this is through sharing a personal story. This can be sentimental or funny, but the “personal” aspect is the most important part.
Don’t say: “Allison is such a great friend!”
Say: “I once arrived for a job interview only to realize that I was wearing two different shoes. I gave Allison a quick call, and after laughing at me, she drove across town to bring me a new pair. It’s this kind of selflessness and friendship that everyone who knows her associates with her.”
2. The Couple
Next, it is time to segue into talking about the couple. This is another great opportunity for a story.
Maybe you remember how giddy she was when they went on their first date or how he forgot to make a reservation so they had a picnic. Just remember that if the story makes either of them look bad, clear it with them first! Otherwise, don’t use it.
You don’t want to come across like you are making fun of the couple. As long as you have made sure that they are comfortable with whatever story you’re telling and it is clear that you are poking fun with love, you’re in the clear.
Now it is time to talk about her partner and how his qualities compliment hers. Make this personal by incorporating it into a story. This is key to the difference between a boring, run-of-the-mill wedding speech and one that will get people first laughing and then dabbing their eyes.
Don’t Say: “Jared is such a nice guy and that’s why I knew he was great for Amanda!”
Say: “After he took her rollerblading for their first date, he drove her to the hospital for her sprained wrist. Then he stayed with her the whole time and even brought her ice cream. I think that’s when we all knew that this was something special.”
3. A Couple Of Jokes
If comedy isn’t your strong suit, there is no need to force it. But if you think you can manage it, include a couple of jokes in your speech. Keeping things fun and lighthearted is a good way to keep everyone’s attention and help them enjoy the speech instead of just endure it.
This can be done through anecdotal stories from the couple’s relationship, or your friendship with the bride. Often times a joke or humorous story is a great opener to segue into something heartfelt and genuine.
4. Your Hopes And Advice For The Couple
If you are married yourself (technically making you a matron of honor!) you might have some marriage advice to incorporate into your speech. Or maybe your grandmother passed some wisdom along that has always stuck with you. In other words, share some wise words that will help the couple as they start out on their new adventure together.
If you don’t feel qualified to give advice, talk about your hopes for the couple. Tell them you hope they support one another and have grand adventures. Tell them you love seeing the way they make each other laugh and you hope they continue to do that their whole lives.
Whatever you use, keep it simple and heartfelt and there won’t be a dry eye in the room.
5. A Good Quote
It is possible to include a good quote in your maid of honor speech that isn’t one we have heard a million times before. Steer clear of the cliches we mentioned before, overused ones, and if possible, try to find one that aligns with the couples’ interests.
Here are a few great examples:
- “We love because it’s the only true adventure.” – Nikki Giovanni
- “What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined . . . to strengthen each other . . . to be at one with each other in silent unspeakable memories.” – George Eliot
- “Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner.” – Amy Bloom
6. A Toast
The perfect way to tie up your maid of honor speech is with a toast. Invite everyone to raise their glasses to the happy couple.
If you want to keep things simple, you can just say, “So let’s raise our glasses to the couple!” But if you prefer, there are many great toasts available. This is also the perfect time to incorporate a cultural toast, which can be a beautiful gesture.
Here are some examples of good toasts to use:
- “Here’s to the new husband and here’s to the new wife. May they remain lovers for all of life.”
- “May you be friends to each other as only lovers can, and may you love each other as only best friends can.”
- “May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.”
What to Avoid
There are some things you want to steer clear of when you write your maid of honor speech.
1. Inside Jokes
Inside jokes are inside jokes for a reason. They are between you and the people you share them with. You might have been friends with the bridge since you were toddlers.
But no matter how many inside jokes you have, no one else wants to hear them. There is nothing worse than watching two people joke about something no one understands while the rest of the room chuckles uncomfortably.
2. Past Relationships
This is a day to celebrate and honor the happy couple. Don’t embarrass either of them by bringing up past relationships or heartbreaks.
It’s also downright painful to think about failed relationships, so don’t bring it up on what is supposed to be the happiest day of your friend’s life.
Don’t Say: “I never thought Kaitlyn would find love after her endless parade of boyfriends!”
“Jake has plenty of experience when it comes to the ladies!”
“Thank goodness Brian is better than the last guy you dated. I watched you cry for weeks after you broke up!”
3. Personal Or Embarrassing Stories
If you’ve ever been to a wedding where someone cracked a sexual joke or tried to embarrass the couple, you know how excruciating it can be.
Stay classy and avoid any innuendos. Don’t tell stories that make the couple look stupid or laugh at their expense (unless they have a good sense of humor and you’ve cleared it with them beforehand).
This includes any inappropriate stories about the past. Remember that the couple’s family is at the event. A good rule of thumb is to remember that you’ll be talking in front of someone’s grandmother — edit the content accordingly
This should go without saying — now is not the time to parade your own accomplishments. This is a day to celebrate the couple, and your speech should reflect that. Steer the limelight away from yourself and toward the ones who are getting married.
Writing a maid of honor speech doesn’t have to be difficult. It is all about staying authentic and positive, and keeping the focus on the couple and the life they are building together. You can create an amazing speech that the couple will cherish and the crowd will enjoy with ease.
If you have any other tips for writing a maid of honor speech, drop them in the comments below!