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 assistant editor
by
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot assistant editor
Chapelle Johnson
Assistant 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 Aug 03, 2022

As a wedding party member, you'll likely be asked to give a toast in honor of the newlyweds. In fact, giving a maid of honor speech is one of the most important maid of honor duties to complete on the wedding 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. We've created a step-by-step guide to help you nail your maid of honor speech. We break down what to say, how to say it and exactly how to get rid of any nervous butterflies you might be feeling. Use these tips to write a perfect maid of honor speech that'll bring the house down.

In this article:

Common Questions About Maid of Honor Speech Etiquette

Nailing your maid of honor speech can seem like a daunting task, but we're here to help you take the stress out of it. Here are answers to common questions people have regarding writing their 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 maid or 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 toast a minimum of three minutes or at most five minutes.

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 three-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.

What do I 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 at the wedding, we suggest that 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 just don't want to give your speech alone, consider doing a joint maid of honor speech. By doing a joint maid of honor speech, you have more opportunities to be creative, like setting each other up for jokes or performing a heartfelt song together.

When does the maid of honor give her speech?

If the couple is following a traditional wedding speech order, the maid of honor gives her speech after the newlyweds' parents give their speeches. Typically, following the maid of honor is the best man. Keep in mind that that wedding speech order isn't for everyone since a couple's wedding party size and wedding reception timeline impacts 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 wedding speech order to confirm your spot in the toast lineup.

Wedding speeches are common activities at receptions. In addition to the maid 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 a number of speeches to fit in with meal courses, dancing, games and additional activities, keep your salutations short and sweet. Aim to make your maid of honor toast between two to three minutes, and try to avoid exceeding five minutes total.

Wedding guests will be excited to hear your well-wishes and funny stories, but a long MOH speech can lose the interest of a crowd (especially if it's full of too many personal inside jokes). A three-minute speech will give you just 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 Write a Maid of Honor Speech

So, how do you write a maid of honor speech? You don't need to be a professional speechwriter to write a special toast for the newlyweds. Use this guide as a template for creating a heartfelt message that'll make everyone laugh, cry or both.

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 on some tears or laughs, but either way, it shows 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 maybe you and the newlyweds have known each other since high school and have plenty of silly and maybe some embarrassing stories from that time. No matter which memory you choose, pick your favorite (appropriate) story and have fun with it.

Celebrate the couple's relationship.

Another part of your maid 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 of the 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.

Avoid taboo topics.

There are certain topics you shouldn't have in your maid or matron 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 maid of honor speech on uplifting the newlyweds and celebrating their love for one another.

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. Make sure you don't use any inside jokes or references that only you and the newlyweds would understand. Your speech should be something every wedding guest can appreciate and laugh at. This also means that 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 your jokes 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.

Create your maid of honor speech outline.

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

  • An introduction, along with an explanation about your connection to the happy couple.

  • A word of thanks to the couple for inviting you to be part of their special day.

  • One or two personal anecdotes, like a favorite memory, joke or sentiment that most guests will understand.

  • Encouraging words of advice or a thoughtful quote about the newlyweds' future.

  • A closing remark, along with the invitation for guests to raise their glasses.

Best Maid of Honor Speech Examples

Need more than a maid of honor speech template to help you? Check out a few maid of honor speech examples to get your creative juices flowing.

Funny maid of honor speech example

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 that 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!

Maid of honor speech for sister example

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 end up working, 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 not only me but to many others as well. 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 best friend example

Good evening everyone! I thought the most nervewracking part of being a maid of honor was going to be 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 a significant person in your lives. I'm excited to watch as you two enjoy this new chapter in your lives as a married couple. I love you both so much!

Short and sweet maid of honor speech example

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.' I think this perfectly explains why [Newlywed's Name] and [Spouse's Name] have always radiated so much joy since they've met each other.

I have no doubt in my mind that [Newlywed's Name] has found the person that 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]!

5 Tips for Giving a Great Maid of Honor Speech

Completing your maid of honor speech is a big accomplishment, but the work doesn't stop when you write the closing line. Giving a great wedding toast is all about the delivery. Here's how to nail your maid of honor speech with confidence.

1. Don't procrastinate.

We recommend you start writing your maid of honor speech at least two months before the wedding day. As the maid of honor, you'll be 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 won't hurt to write a few drafts and have someone you trust edit your work. By preparing in advance, you'll be able to fully focus on writing a toast that 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.

2. 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 all about speaking honestly and naturally, so write how you generally speak. Don't forget that this isn't the time to use inappropriate language, since you will be speaking to the couple's nearest and dearest. Your writing should feel like a natural extension of the way you talk. Don't try to force something over-the-top. A genuine speech from the heart is impactful.

3. Write it down.

Yes, you're expected to make an amazing speech, but that doesn't mean you have to 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 to use, but the phone screen light that would wash over your face as you're reading your speech distorts wedding photographs. To avoid ruining any wedding photos, write your speech down instead––it's said that handwritten notes boost brain activity and optimize memory.

4. 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 out loud 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.

5. Stay calm, cool and collected.

Whether this is your first time giving a wedding speech or you're a toast-making 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 have to say. 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.

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