Your best friend is getting married and you have the privilege of being her maid of honor. Along with sharing one of the most important days of your BFF’s life comes a pile of tasks, not the least of which is the maid of honor speech at the reception.
The perfect maid of honor speech will not only talk about what makes the bride so special, it will capture the attention of the audience and induce laughter and maybe even a few sentimental tears — all within two or three minutes.
Sound like a daunting task? We get it, not everyone is a born speech writer. If the idea of writing a speech that is both sweet and amusing is stressing you out, we’re here to help. Our guide not only walks you through the dos and don’ts of maid of honor speech writing, we have some great examples to inspire you.
The Dos and Don’ts for a Memorable Maid of Honor Speech
Whether you’re a first-time maid of honor or you’ve done this before, our list can help you write a killer speech that the bride and all of her wedding guests will love. Here are the 12 main points to keep in mind when putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
1. Do brainstorm
If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, one of the best ways to get your creative juices flowing is by brainstorming ideas. Make a point form list of some of the stories you could tell and sentiments you want to express. From there, cut your points down until you have the best two stories left and then flesh those out with supporting information.
Once you start writing, you may find that two stories is too many, especially if they are on the longer side. Always err on the side of brevity and choose your best one rather than having two long tales to tell and risk losing the attention of the audience.
If you’re having trouble with the brainstorming process, think about your memories of the bride or the couple. Which memories make you smile or laugh? Once you’ve jotted down a list, choose the best few to craft a speech around.
2. Do keep it short and sweet
One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when making a speech at a wedding is to talk too long. Let’s face it, the guests are far more interested in eating, drinking and dancing than in listening to speeches. Even if your speech is clever and charming, you will lose the interest of the room if you drone on and on.
The perfect speech at a wedding clocks in at under three minutes. Try to keep your speech at somewhere between two and three minutes for ultimate impact.
3. Do talk about the newlyweds, especially the bride
Whether the bride is your sister, cousin or best friend, you are likely one of the people who knows her best, so find a story you can tell about the bride that describes how she has always been there for you and her loved ones.
You’ve likely also been a witness to how her new life partner has had an impact on her life. You can start your speech by talking about the bride before she met her spouse and then find a way to segue into how the bride has changed for the better since meeting her soulmate.
Maybe it’s simply that your bestie has never been happier than she has since meeting her sweetheart. Or maybe her new spouse has helped her to have the confidence to go after a life-long dream. Whatever you come up with, it’s an easy way to incorporate the new spouse into the speech while still making it mostly about the bride.
4. Don’t talk about yourself
If you and the bride have been on a lot of escapades together, it can be really easy to talk about yourself in your speech — possibly without even realizing it. While sharing stories about memorable times you’ve had with your friend is great, it’s important to make sure the story focuses on the bride, not you.
After introducing yourself and explaining your relationship to the bride, keep any additional references to yourself minimal. The goal is to talk about why the bride — and her new spouse — are so amazing.
5. Don’t talk about exes
One of the biggest faux pas you can make in a wedding speech is to reference a past romantic relationship. Talking about exes in front of the bride’s family, friends and spouse is never a good idea, even if it does involve a funny story. Stick to anecdotes that only involve friends, family or the new spouse. That way you won’t embarrass the bride or make anyone feel uncomfortable.
6. Don’t use inside jokes
Another major no-no when it comes to writing a speech is including an inside joke that only you and the bride are privy to. If the wedding guests don’t understand what you’re talking about, they will quickly lose interest and tune you out.
7. Do be funny (but keep it appropriate)
Reminiscing about funny things that have happened during your friendship with the bride is always great for a few laughs. Just make sure the stories aren’t inappropriate or embarrassing to the bride. Talking about getting lost together on a road trip is one thing — talking about drunken escapades, however, is probably not a good idea. While it’s OK to want to make people laugh, you don’t want to come off like you’re roasting your bestie. Roasts are always in bad taste at a wedding.
8. Do try to use a common theme
What is the best quality the bride possesses? Is it her kindness? Her quick wit? Her fun-loving personality? Choose one characteristic and fashion your speech around it.
If for instance, you want to tell everyone how kind and thoughtful the bride is, think of a few short stories that illustrate just that: The time the bride nursed a bird with a broken wing back to health as a child or how she always bakes her friends their favorite dessert for their birthdays no matter how busy she is.
At the end of the speech you can tie it all together by talking about how the bride has found a spouse who is just as kind as she is. Not only will your speech please the bride, but the underlying theme will make it easy-to-listen-to and enjoyable for the guests too.
9. Don’t talk too fast
It can be tempting to try to get through your speech as quickly as possible, especially if public speaking doesn’t come naturally to you. Keep in mind, however, that talking too fast may mean that the bridal couple and their guests will have trouble understanding you.
When giving a speech, it’s important to speak at a normal conversational pace with pauses in specific spots to allow the guests to react. If you share a joke and immediately start speaking right afterward, people won’t have a chance to laugh and that can cause them to lose focus throughout your speech.
10. Do end on a positive note
No matter what funny stories or anecdotes you choose to tell, it’s important to make sure your speech culminates in a positive thought. One of the best ways to do this is by noting the happiness of the newlyweds and how great they are together and then ending your speech by offering your best wishes for their marriage.
11. Do practice, practice, practice
One of the biggest mistakes any speaker can make is failing to rehearse beforehand. While you don’t have to memorize your maid of honor speech, experts recommend practicing until it feels effortless. For some people that might be 10 times, for others it could be more.
Your best bet is to start practicing a week before the big day. Try rehearsing in front of friends to see if they understand and laugh at your jokes. It can also help to practice in front of the mirror or even to record yourself to get your gestures and pacing down pat.
12. Do introduce the next speaker
If someone will be speaking after you, it’s a good idea to announce that person when your speech has concluded. It offers a much more seamless transition than someone else having to get up, go to the mic and announce who is up next.
Maid of Honor Speech Examples
Still in need of some inspiration? These three examples will have you well on your way to crafting your own amazing speech for your bestie’s big day.
Good evening everyone. My name is Jaclyn and I feel so incredibly blessed to be part of Sabrina and Ryan’s special day. I’ve known Sabrina since the first day of Kindergarten when we bonded over fingerpainting. We’ve been inseparable ever since.
As someone who has known Sabrina for more than 20 years, I can tell you that she is one of the kindest and most compassionate people you will ever meet. When we were in Grade 11, a girl in our English class lost her home to a fire. Sabrina, being the caring person that she is, organized a huge fundraiser to help the family in their time of need.
She convinced the principal to let us host an auction in the school gym to help raise money for the family, she recruited staff and students to help with the event and she literally went to every business in town to ask for donations — and trust me — she didn’t take no for an answer. Well, like everything Sabrina put her hand to, it was a huge success. I had never been so proud to have her as a best friend. And that has never changed.
I am truly pleased to tell you that Sabrina has found a man whose heart is just as big as hers. They met serving hot meals to the homeless and it was in that soup kitchen that Sabrina and Ryan discovered they share far more than a desire to help others. They share the type of love for each other that everyone hopes to find one day.
Sabrina and Ryan, you were so blessed to find each other. You truly are made for each other and I wish you all the best for your future as husband and wife. To the bride and groom!
Hi, my name is Rebekah, the maid of honor and the bride’s best friend. It was our mutual love for coffee that brought Kelli and I together as college freshmen. Stumbling to the coffee shop before our shared 8 a.m. first class, we discovered not only do we both love the same type of coffee, but we had the same career goals.
The next four years were filled with a lot of studying, parties, laughter and, of course, coffee and I realized that I hadn’t just made a friend, but a friend for life. Kelli, you truly are like a sister to me and that’s why I couldn’t decide if I should talk about your most embarrassing college moment or not…
It was finals and Kelli was determined to ace her psychology exam. She spent hour after hour in the library. She studied so hard that she must have exhausted herself because she fell asleep and got locked in for the night. When the library finally opened the next morning she came out looking like a wild woman and ran smack dab into the man who would be her future husband.
He helped her to her feet and insisted on walking her back to her dorm and the rest, as they say, is history. Rick, I am so glad that you swept Kelli off her feet back in college. I’ve had the pleasure of watching the love between the two of you grow ever since and my hope for you both is that your love will stay strong and true over the many years ahead. You make such a beautiful couple. To the bride and groom!
Good evening. My name is Rachel and, as the older sister of the bride, I have so many wonderful memories of watching this once freckle-faced little girl with blonde pigtails turn into the beautiful and amazing woman that sits before us tonight. And, as her maid of honor, I believe it’s my duty to share my favorite childhood memory of Sarah with you.
Sarah has always loved to sing. As a child, she sang while she was playing, she sang while she did her chores, she even sang in the bathtub. She loved singing so much that she asked me to take her to try out for the school choir when she was 10 years old. After the music teacher listened to a very confident Sarah belt out a passionate rendition of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love,’ she told Sarah that she couldn’t sing.
Sarah looked right back at her and said, “well of course I can, didn’t you just hear me?” When the music teacher told her she couldn’t be in the choir because her vocals weren’t good enough, Sarah replied. “That’s OK, I’m more of a solo artist anyway.” I’ll never forget the look on that teacher’s face as Sarah confidently walked away, singing her favorite Elvis Presley song. As a 14-year-old, it took a lot to impress me. But Sarah impressed me that day and she has continued to do so over the years, time and time again.
As many of you know, Sarah never stopped singing. In fact, she went on to study music at Juilliard where she met the man of her dreams, Mike. And now Sarah, an accomplished vocalist and Mike, a wizard on the guitar are making beautiful music together.
My wish for you Sarah and Mike is that you will continue to make beautiful music together both literally and figuratively. May you continue to inspire everyone you meet not just with your music but with your ever-growing love for each other. To Sarah and Mike!