A Step-by-Step Guide to Nailing Your Maid of Honor Speech
As a member of the bridal party, you'll likely be asked to give a toast in honor of the newlyweds. In fact, giving a 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 maid of honor 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:
- How Long Should a Maid of Honor Speech Be?
- How to Write a Maid of Honor Speech
- How to Give a Maid of Honor Speech
How Long Should a Maid of Honor Speech Be?
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 come up with a special toast for the newlyweds. Use this guide as a template for creating a heartfelt message that'll make everyone laugh or cry... or both.
A witty and charming bridesmaid speech doesn't happen on its own. (Read: Your best friend's wedding isn't the time to ad-lib something on the spot.) Writing a great MOH speech requires thought, preparation and practice. Before you put pen to paper, put yourself in the right headspace. In agreeing to toast the couple at their reception, you take on a big honor and responsibility. Don't take the situation so seriously that you agonize over it, of course, but embrace the task with the grace and maturity it deserves.
To get your ideas flowing, start by looking up maid of honor speech examples on YouTube or social media. This can help you identify the style you want to emulate. A funny speech or custom rap might be best fit for your relationship—or, you may want to give an emotional toast instead. Once you know what you want your speech to sound like, you'll be ready to start writing.
We recommend writing your bridesmaid speech about three weeks before the wedding day. It won't hurt to write a few drafts or have someone you trust edit your work. Advanced preparation will help you write a toast that you're excited to read in front of a crowd.
Cover The Bases
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.
As you start writing your speech, think about your connection to your best friend. Some of the best speeches include stories about how the maid of honor met the bride or fun (and appropriate) stories of their friendship. If you've gotten to know your friend's new spouse, tell stories of them as a couple. This is the time to open your heart and share a few favorite memories or silly stories that capture your relationship.
Don't feel pressured to write a bridesmaid speech that sounds overly professional. A great maid of honor toast is all about speaking honestly and naturally, so write how you generally speak. Keep in mind 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 will be impactful.
Know What to Keep Out
Your bridesmaid toast isn't the time to bring up inappropriate stories, like friendship drama or wild memories from the bachelorette party. Weddings are family events, so remember who you're speaking to and craft your words accordingly.
How to Give a 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.
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.
To ease any pre-speech jitters, remember that you don't have to memorize your toast word-for-word. We recommend writing the speech on note cards to bring with you to the microphone. Having a cheat sheet will help you relax when all eyes are on you.
Confirm Speech Schedules
Wedding toasts usually happen once everyone has been seated and served champagne, but the couple may want speakers to give toasts in between meal courses. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, ask the couple when they want you to speak. Following the wedding day timeline is crucial for keeping everything running smoothly, so it's important to know exactly when it's your turn to take the floor at the reception.
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 friend's wedding, their heartfelt reaction to your words will make your efforts worth it. And, as soon as your speech is over, you'll be free to celebrate with the newlyweds and the rest of the wedding party.