A Step-by-Step Guide to Nailing Your Maid of Honor Speech

There won't be a dry eye in the house.
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
Associate Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Oct 09, 2023

As a wedding party member, you'll likely be asked to speak at the wedding. In fact, giving a maid of honor speech is one of the most important maid of honor duties to complete on the big day. You may be a gifted orator, which means writing (and giving) a speech will be a breeze. But if the thought of speaking in front of a crowd makes you a little nervous, don't panic. With the help of Heidi Ellert-McDermott, professional speech writer and founder of Speechy, we've provided you with everything you need to know about the matron of honor speech. Learn what to say, how to say it and exactly how to get rid of any nervous butterflies. Use these tips, template, outline and more to write a perfect maid of honor speech that'll bring the house down.

In this article:

Printable Template | How to Write | Examples | Tips | FAQs

Printable Maid of Honor Speech Template

For those looking for a quick and simple reminder of how to write a maid of honor speech, bookmark this template. You could even save it as your phone or laptop wallpaper while you're writing to keep you on task.

Free printable maid of honor speech template
Design: Natalie Romine

How to Write a Maid of Honor Speech Outline

So, how do you write a matron of honor speech? It helps, but you don't need to be a professional speechwriter to write a special toast for the newlyweds. Use this guide to create a heartfelt message that'll make everyone laugh, cry or both.

1. Reflect on your relationship with the couple.

Think about your relationships with each person in the couple. This is your time to write down any personal moments you shared with them. These moments can bring some tears or laughs, but they show the wedding guests how you know the happy couple. Maybe you and one of the newlyweds went on an epic trip to Europe together. Or you and the newlyweds have known each other since high school and have plenty of silly and embarrassing stories from that time. No matter which memory you choose for your maid of honor speech, pick your favorite (appropriate) story and have fun with it.

2. Celebrate the couple's relationship.

Another part of your matron of honor speech should be dedicated to the couple's relationship. You can talk about when they first met, when you knew they were in love, or how you knew they were meant to be. If some details are a little fuzzy, talk with the other honor attendants or close friends of the couple to help refresh your memory. Overall, you want to paint a picture of how the couple was when they first met, how they've grown together and why they complement one another.

3. Avoid taboo topics.

There are certain topics you shouldn't have in your maid of honor speech. It doesn't matter how you try to deliver it. These taboo subjects are liable to offend someone:

  • Negativity about marriage in general.
  • Past relationships.
  • Previous marriages/divorces.
  • Drinking, drugs, gambling.
  • "Adult" humor or any other mention of sex.

Remember, you don't want to cause any drama. Keep the focus of your speech on uplifting the happy couple and celebrating their love for one another.

4. Add jokes—but not too many.

Feel like you have a comedic gift? Consider adding some jokes, one-liners or funny marriage quotes to your maid of honor speech. Ensure you don't use any inside jokes or references only you and the newlyweds would understand. Your speech should be something every wedding guest can appreciate and laugh at. This also means your jokes shouldn't be too harsh or bring up any taboo wedding speech topics we previously listed.

Be deliberate about where you put your jokes and spread them out. You want them to add comedic relief to a sentimental toast, not seem like a stand-up routine. Start your speech with a funny opening line so the guests can laugh and get an idea of what kind of person you are—plus, laughs give you time to overcome any nerves you might have.

5. Create your maid of honor speech outline.

Get creative and personalize your maid of honor speech as much as you want. A customized script is much more endearing for guests. But when it comes down to it, a great wedding toast will include the following remarks:

  • Start with an introduction—along with an explanation about your connection to the happy couple.
  • Next, give a word of thanks to the couple for inviting you to be part of their special day.
  • Say one or two personal anecdotes, like a favorite memory, joke or sweet sentiment that most guests will understand.
  • Provide encouraging advice or a thoughtful quote about the newlyweds' future.
  • Finish with a closing remark and an invitation for guests to raise their glasses.
Maid of honor giving speech
Photo: Matt + Jess

Maid of Honor Speech Examples

Need more than a maid of honor speech template to help you? Then choose your favorite sample maid of honor speech below and use it to help get your creative juices flowing.

Funny Maid of Honor Speech

Hello! For those of you who haven't had the chance to meet me yet, my name is [Your Name]. [Newlywed's Name] and I have been best friends since high school, which means we've been on each other's top eight friends list for a while. That's for my old Myspace users out there.

Typically, public speaking makes me beyond nervous, but I knew I had to make a speech for one of the most important people in my life. I've known [Newlywed's Name] for a long time and have appreciated every special moment we've shared over the years. [Newlywed's Name] has a beautiful soul, and I'm so happy that [Newlywed's Name] has found someone who complements it.

As everyone probably knows [Newlywed's Name] isn't a shy person, so the fact that [Newlywed's Name] would always giggle and blush whenever referring to 'the hot coworker' and I knew something special was going to come out of it. I've gotten to know [Spouse's Name] really well over the years, and I can honestly say [Spouse's Name] is one of the most genuine and caring people I've ever met.

Everyone aims to find their one true love, their soulmate, the person that's going to love and cherish them for the rest of their lives. And that moment came for [Newlywed's Name]...when they met me 18 years ago. But in all seriousness, I wish you and [Spouse's Name] a long and wonderful marriage. Congrats to you both, and I hope you find a lifetime of happiness together. Cheers!

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Maid of Honor Speech for Best Friend

Good evening everyone! I thought the most nerve-wracking part of being a maid of honor was giving the speech, but fixing [Newlywed's Name] shoe malfunction before the wedding ceremony is high on the list.

I think I've calmed down by now, so I'll continue. My name is [Your Name], and I've known [Newlywed's Name] since college. We sat next to each other one time in an eight A.M. Spanish class and have been inseparable ever since. We've known each other for so long I would consider us siblings now, and I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful person in my life.

[Spouse's Name] is charming, intelligent, thoughtful and to quote [Newlywed's Name] after their first date, 'sooo cuteee.' I consider myself a top-notch wingwoman and matchmaker, but even I couldn't have picked a better person for [Newlywed's Name] to fall in love with. Anyone can take one look at them together and see that they're a perfect example of 'meant to be.'

I'm honored that you both have not only chosen me to be a significant part of your big day but also a significant person in your lives. I'm excited to watch you two enjoy this new chapter in your lives as a married couple. I love you both so much!

Maid of Honor Speech for Sister

Hello everyone! If you couldn't tell already from our almost identical faces, I'm [Bride's Name] sister. We're only two years apart, so we've always been really close. We would do everything together, like that one time we got gum stuck in our hair on the same day and spent hours combing peanut butter into each other's hair to help get the gum out. Unfortunately, this didn't work out, and we had to chop a lot of hair off.

Regardless of all the trouble we've got ourselves into, I can't imagine sharing such fun memories with anyone else. I've always looked up to [Bride's Name] and continue to think of her as a great role model to me and many others. I feel so happy and proud to call [Bride's Name] my sister.

[Spouse's Name], you've come into our lives seamlessly, and I've never seen my sister happier. You're such a funny and loving person, and to this day, every time my sister talks about you, she gets giddy. I really do think you guys are perfect for one another, and I can't wait to see how you grow even more as life partners.

Everyone raise your glass to congratulate [Bride's Name] and [Spouse's Name]. May each day be full of love and laughter!

Maid of Honor Speech for Cousin

Shout out to Ellert-McDermott for writing the passionate maid of honor speech below.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family and all you lucky souls who scored an invite to the wedding of the century. My name is [Your Name], and I have the pleasure of being the maid of honor today, or as I like to call it, the 'official party planner, the emergency dress fixer and human tissue dispenser.'

You all know [Bride's Name] as this gorgeous, successful, brilliant person you see before you today, but I know her as my little cousin. And I don't care how many promotions she gets, how many exotic countries she visits or how married she gets, that's who she'll always be to me. Yes, the girl who, for several years, ate nothing but chicken nugget sandwiches and had a special tree she liked to wee behind when we visited Grandma.

Being the only girls in our tribe of siblings, we quickly became best friends and partners in crime. We loved playing dress-up, but rather than pretending to marry our Prince Charmings, we'd pretend to be lawyers or scientists. And we wonder why no one wanted to hang out with us.

Our geekiness lasted well into our teens and developed into a mild addiction to One Direction, "Glee" and astronomy. We'd spend hours staring into our telescopes, wondering what we would say when we became the first astronauts to land on Mars. Sadly, that dream never came to fruition, but [Bride's Name], as we all know, did become a lawyer—an incredibly successful one at that.

But seriously, watching [Bride's Name] achieve her dreams has been a delight because she's quite simply one of life's special people. I feel incredibly lucky to have been blessed with such a fun-loving, wise and caring cousin––a special type of friend who's duty-bond to be in my life forever.

I always knew that [Bride's Name] deserved to be loved by someone special, and I'm delighted to say that person is [Newlywed's Name]. I've had the privilege of getting to know [Newlywed's Name] well over the last three years, and I must say, you're a brave soul for marrying into our family and having to cope with our crazy Christmas traditions. But I think you've figured out our secret. The louder we are, the more we like you. And just to clarify, we like you very much.

You have a kind heart, a wonderful wit and you're willing to dance to One Direction after we've had a few beers. I can also see how much you love my cousin. I can see that you 'get her;' that you know just how she likes her coffee, that you understand her sarcasm is a sign of affection and that you appreciate how intelligent she is even if she insists on watching "Selling Sunset" at every opportunity she can.

You're an incredible couple, and I've no doubt your love will continue to grow with every passing day. As your maid of honor, I couldn't be happier for you, and I look forward to sharing more happy memories with you guys in the future. And with that, everyone please join me in a toast to the happy couple and a life filled with love and laughter.

Short Maid of Honor Speech

I would like to quote the famous American author, Mark Twain, who once said, 'To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.' This perfectly explains why [Newlywed's Name] and [Spouse's Name] have always radiated so much joy since they've met each other.

I do not doubt [Newlywed's Name] has found the person they will spend the rest of their life with. You both make a beautiful couple and may you continue to get the full value of joy out of life with one another.

Congratulations, [Newlywed's Name] and [Spouse's Name]!

Maid of honor giving speech at wedding
Photo: Brandi Allyse Photo

Maid of Honor Speech Tips

Completing your matron of honor speech is a big accomplishment, but the work doesn't stop when you write the closing line. The right delivery is what makes it. Here are confidence tips for your maid of honor speech and other speaking engagements.

Don't procrastinate.

We recommend you start writing your maid of honor speech at least two months before the wedding day. As an honor attendant, you're expected to attend and plan numerous prewedding events, like dress fittings, the bach party and the rehearsal dinner, which means you won't have much time to write as the wedding day approaches. Also, it doesn't hurt to write a few drafts and ask someone you trust to edit your work. By preparing in advance, you'll be able to focus on writing a toast you're excited to read in front of a crowd and not have to worry about leaving a wedding event early so you can go home and write.

Add stories, not adjectives.

"Adjectives are just white noise in wedding speeches. Describing the newlywed as 'kind,' 'fun' or 'beautiful' is nice but doesn't really add much. Illustrate their characteristics and qualities by sharing the evidence of them in action," Ellert-McDermott, author of "The Modern Couple's Guide to Wedding Speeches," says.

Be true to yourself.

This is the time to open your heart and share a few favorite memories or silly stories that capture your relationship with the newlyweds. So don't feel pressured to write a maid of honor speech that sounds overly professional. A great maid of honor toast is about speaking honestly and naturally, so write how you generally speak. Don't forget this isn't the time to use inappropriate language since you'll be speaking to the couple's nearest and dearest. Your writing should feel like a natural extension of the way you talk. A genuine speech from the heart is impactful.

Remember to mention the partner.

"Yes, the focus of your speech is your friend and your relationship with them, but don't forget what the day's actually about. Try to make your tribute to their partner seem like more than a cliched afterthought," Ellert-McDermott advises.

Write it down.

Yes, you're expected to make an amazing speech, but that doesn't mean you must memorize it. Writing the entire speech word for word or just jotting down bullet points of your speech's outline can work wonders for your confidence. We suggest you read your maid of honor speech on index cards instead of reading it off your cell phone. Phones are more convenient, but the phone screen light that washes over your face as you're reading your speech distorts wedding photographs. To avoid ruining any wedding images, write your speech down instead. (Psst. People say handwritten notes boost brain activity and optimize memory.)

Practice in front of an audience.

Practicing your speech is just as important as writing it. As with any public speaking gig, you'll become more comfortable with the material as you practice it. Read your toast aloud a few times to catch any spelling or grammar errors. This will also help you find a rhythm—you'll know exactly when you want to pause for reactions and emphasize certain points, which is key for staying within a designated time frame. You can also read your words to another wedding party member for feedback. When the time comes to stand up in front of the crowd, you'll be grateful for the pre-performance audience.

Stay calm, cool and collected.

Whether this is your first time giving a wedding speech or you're a pro, it's normal to feel a little nervous beforehand. Take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves and collect your thoughts. Speak slowly and clearly, and remind yourself that guests are excited to hear what you're saying. As nerve-wracking as it might feel to give a big speech at your loved one's wedding, their heartfelt reaction to your words will make your efforts worth it. As soon as your speech is over, you'll be free to celebrate with the newlyweds and the rest of the wedding party.

Don't forget to smile.

"Because they're nervous, speakers often forget to smile as they deliver their speech, but it's a simple and effective way to create a good vibe in the room. A smile is literally infectious, so make sure it looks like you're actually enjoying your time on the mic," Ellert-McDermott says. Putting on a soft smile also helps the photographer capture stunning pictures of you killing your speech.

Maid of honor giving wedding speech outdoors
Photo: K.R. Moreno

Maid of Honor Speech Frequently Asked Questions

Delivering a unique maid of honor speech can seem daunting, but we're here to help you take the stress out of it. Here are answers to common questions regarding the maid of honor speech.

Does the maid of honor have to give a speech?

It's expected for a maid of honor to give a speech, especially if the other honor attendants are planning on giving one, but it's not required. Giving a maid of honor speech can be a fun experience, but it isn't for everyone. If public speaking makes you nervous, you can express yourself in other ways, like through song, dance or by creating a sweet love story presentation about the happy couple.

How long should a maid of honor speech be?

In addition to the matron of honor speech, there might also be a best man speech, toasts from the couple's parents or even a thank-you message from the newlyweds. Since there are several speeches to fit in with meal courses, dancing, games and additional reception activities, keep your salutations short and sweet. Aim to make your maid of honor speech a minimum of four minutes and at most six minutes—Ellert-McDermott suggests anything between 700 and 1000 words.

Wedding guests will be excited to hear your well-wishes and funny stories, but a long MOH speech can lose the wedding guests' interest (especially if it's full of too many personal inside jokes). A four-minute speech gives you enough time to speak about the couple's love story, offer a personal anecdote or two and finish with encouragement for married life.

How to Start a Maid of Honor Speech

"Like every other speaker, the maid of honor should say a quick hello and introduce themselves to the guests. They should explain how they know the bride and try to add some humor early on too. Tailor your speech to suit the style of the wedding. Is it a rock n roll affair or a traditional bash with children present? Consider your audience and decide if 'ladies and gentlemen' is necessary or overly formal (generally, it's the latter)," Ellert-McDermott notes.

How to End a Maid of Honor Speech

"Towards the end of the speech, the maid of honor should reiterate their joy in seeing their friend getting married. They may refer back to special memories they share with the bride and explain why she is such a great friend to them. The final few lines should be about wishing the couple well in their future life together and proposing a toast to them both," Ellert-McDermott suggests. Here is an example of a personal maid of honor toast ending from Ellert-McDermott:

Here's to a lifetime of drinking mojitos and dancing on tables. To Sophie and Taylor.

When does the maid of honor give a speech?

If the couple is following the traditional wedding speech order, the maid of honor gives her speech after the newlyweds' parents. Typically, following the maid of honor is the best man. That wedding speech order isn't for everyone since a couple's wedding party size and reception timeline impact the order too. Also, sometimes couples opt to have all the wedding speeches delivered during the rehearsal dinner. So check with the to-be-weds about the order to confirm your spot in the toast lineup.

What to do if there are multiple maids of honor?

If you are one of the multiple maids of honor, you and the others should keep your maid of honor speeches to three to five minutes long. Before delivering your speeches, we suggest you and the other maids of honor go over them together to make sure they aren't too similar (and if they are, to adjust accordingly). If you and the other maids of honor have a close relationship, want to create only one speech or you don't want to give your speech alone, consider doing a joint maid of honor speech. By doing a combined speech, you have more opportunities to be creative, like setting each other up for jokes or performing a heartfelt song together.

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