With the whirlwind of planning a bachelorette party, baking for the bridal shower, helping address invitations, giving vender opinions, keeping the bride calm and getting your own dress fitted and hemmed, the responsibilities of a maid of honor can be extensive. But for many of us, all of that pales in comparison to the pressure we feel when our best friend in the world asks us to give a Maid of Honor speech at her wedding.
Suddenly flooded with ALL the emotions, from delight to mild terror at the idea of speaking in front of a crowd, the pressure of giving the perfect toast can weigh on even the most experienced MoH. But never fear! Using these tips from real life maids of honor, we can help you keep your cool and give a toast that both the couple and their guests will love!
Make It About The Couple, Not You
Lois, who was her sister’s maid of honor, advises that after introducing yourself and sharing what your relationship is to the bride, make the toast less about you and all about the couple. While guests will no doubt fall immediately in love with your winning personality, they traveled here to celebrate the bride and groom, so it’s best to make sure your Maid of Honor speech does the same.
“Take your moment to share, speak from the heart and be yourself while you’re doing it,” Lois said. But “don’t steal [the bride’s] shine in the process. It’s her, and the groom’s, special day.”
Anna, who was a maid of honor once and loves helping friends write their MoH toasts, agrees.
“It’s fine to share how you know the bride, and maybe a brief childhood story, but make the speech more about the bride/couple than your friendship with her,” she said.
Keep It Brief
If you want to be a favorite of both the couple and their guests, keep yourMaid of Honor speech tight. A toast that’s about three minutes is your sweet spot: just long enough to share a heartwarming story or two, but not so long that it drags and everyone begins to check their watches.
Anna is equally as passionate about brevity as she is about keeping things about the couple.
“Remember, it’s supposed to be a heartwarming and brief TOAST, not a 30-minute dissertation on your inside jokes,” she said. Keep it “short, sweet and to the point [with] one or two classy jokes and absolutely nothing embarrassing.”
Skip The Inside Jokes
Like Anna, Claire believes that inside jokes are best reserved for times when you aren’t holding a microphone.
“I’d definitely skip the inside jokes,” she said. “Don’t mention them, because people won’t get it and that’ll be awkward.”
Few things are more uncomfortable than a single person laughing at a joke told in a room full of people. So if you do want to tell a joke, Claire recommends going for something that will make your guests laugh along with the bride and groom and “make sure it hearkens back to a quality about the bride/couple that people will find relatable.”
Speak From The Heart
While speaking in front of a crowd can be nerve-wracking — and holding notecards with a few points you don’t want to forget is more than fine — reading a prepared speech line by line usually comes off as a little too rehearsed. Rather than over-preparing, Molly, who was her friend’s maid of honor a few years ago, believes that the best thing you can do as the MoH is speak from your heart.
“I planned one joke at the beginning, just to break the ice I suppose, but honestly didn’t plan much else,” she said. “I just spoke from the heart about how much I loved my friend and how happy I was for her. I didn’t want to be the person reading off of a phone.”
And if you fumble your words because of emotions or get a little choked up along the way? Don’t worry! The honesty of the moment will move the couple far more than the most beautifully written speech ever could!
When it all comes down to it, you were chosen by the bride to be her maid of honor because of who you are, so what she wants to hear and see more than anything in your toast is you! My very own maid of honor, Samantha, exemplified that in her toast at my wedding and gives this piece of advice to all maids of honor to be.
“A lot of people try to make it too humorous or too heartfelt or whatever,” she said, “but stick with what is comfortable for you. The bride picked you because she wants YOU, not what any other maid of honor is. Just be you, let your personality lead you and focus on why you love the bride and the couple. It’ll all come together if you stay true to that.”
So cheers to you, maids of honor, and best of luck on those toasts!