Writing a killer maid of honor speech is no easy feat, nor is delivering one — especially when you think about what you’re up against. The entire internet.
You can’t even search for inspiration without being bombarded with over-the-top, super creative speeches. That joke you crafted? Someone already made it, but they delivered it with a choreographed dance. That ending line you thought up? Someone already used it, but they timed it perfectly to a smoke machine. Every idea you had? They’ve all been done way better than you were ever going to do them.
Or at least that’s what it seems like.
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While you’re free to go all-out, there’s not really a need to. A great maid of honor speech really only needs a few elements to make your best friend happy. And even if you completely fail, they’ll still love you for trying your best. So let that sink in and hopefully calm your nerves!
Here are the things to include, along with several bridesmaid speech examples. Using these tips from real life maids of honor, we can help you keep your cool and give a toast that both your bff and wedding guests will love! So raise your glass to the happy couple, because here we go.
SEE MORE: Wedding Speech Disasters
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 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.
WGM Says: As far as some guests are concerned, you’re a stranger. It might be obvious, but be sure to mention your name, that you are the maid of honor, and how you know the bride!
Keep It Brief
If you want to be a favorite of both the couple and their guests, keep your speech tight. A maid of honor toast that’s 2-3 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.
Maid of Honor 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.”
You Might Also Like: Don’t Forget these Maid of Honor Duties
Skip The Inside Jokes
Like Anna, maid of honor Claire has found 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 note cards 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, adding that she just “spoke from the heart about how much I loved my friend and how happy I was for her,” without sounding like I was “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! Maid of honor, Samantha, exemplified that in her toast 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.”
Real Maid of Honor Speeches
Looking for real life maid of honor speeches? Don’t miss these popular videos that got millions of likes!
- Bride’s Life Told Through Musical Mashup
- This Sister Knocked Her Speech Out of the Park
- Why Not Just Rap Eminem Like This MOH Did?
Here are even more tips for writing the perfect maid of honor speech for your bestie
Before you put pen to paper (or, ahem, keyboard to paper) you’ll want to keep these guidelines in mind:
Introduce yourself and explain how you met the bride
Guests want to hear if you’ve been BFFs since kindergarten or if you’re cousins who grew up down the street. Talk about why she’s such an amazing friend and how lucky you feel to be standing beside her. This can be as sentimental or silly as you make it, depending on you and the bride’s personalities, but remember that sweet never fails while attempts at humor can occasionally fall flat.
Don’t forget the personal details
While you should definitely talk about how you met the bride as mentioned above, you’ll want to keep the personal details coming.
For example, when writing your maid of honor speech, focus on incorporating personal details into sentences where you might normally say something generic.
Instead of “[bride’s name] is amazing,” try something along the lines of [I’ve been close with [bride’s name] for X years, because she’s extremely [caring, hilarious, loyal, etc.]” and follow it up with a quick story that illustrates how she’s [caring, hilarious, loyal, etc.].
Adding personal details to a general compliment is a great way to appeal to both the bride and all of the guests (even the ones that aren’t from the bride’s side). What you don’t want to do is tell a story or a joke that only the bride is going to understand. Keep the inside jokes for your texts!
This also applies to their partner. What do you love about them together? What was your first impression of the pairing (avoid phrases that sound like jokes but are really just insults: out of his/her league, downgrade/upgrade, etc.)? When did you realize they were perfect for each other? Where do you see them in 20 years? (As long as it’s not separated!)
Keep the Jokes to a Minimum
In a maid of honor speech, landing one joke is hard; — landing more than three is nearly impossible. It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t know everyone on the guest list, so something that’s funny to you could be offensive to someone else.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show off your sense of humor! Just make sure you choose the right jokes. And pro tip: Make sure you’re pacing yourself. After you tell a joke, take a pause. If you talk too quickly, you won’t give enough time for the laughter to fill the room!
And Definitely Don’t Talk About Exes
You may find stories about the bride’s ex-boyfriends hilarious, but the maid of honor speech is not the time or place to bring them up. Save your jokes for the bachelorette party, where the bride’s embarrassment is up for grabs! Nobody wants to be reminded of their or their spouse’s ex’s on their wedding day.
Show it to Friends
You should absolutely show your MOH speech to a friend or two so you can get some feedback. There’s a shockingly good chance that you might think a speech is great, but when other people read it they aren’t on the same page. Instead of taking that risk, show your speech to a few friends and make sure it’s as good as you think it is.
Create an Outline…and Practice!
Even the best writers and speakers need to do several drafts (or five) before they get a great toast. The best way to start any speech is to create an outline, which could look something like this:
- Your name and your connection to the bride
- Why you’re so happy to celebrate the couple (mention their names) today
- How the two of you met
- Your first impressions of her
- An important memory you shared together and the bond you have now
- The first time the bride told you about their now-spouse
- What your first reaction was and any anecdotes you want to share
The Love Story:
- How you saw it unfold
- When you knew it was true love
- How the bride has changed for the better, and the special qualities they bring out in each other.
Happily Ever After:
- Why you think this love story is so special
- Advice from you, her best friend, to her partner
- What you wish for the couple
- Consider wrapping up with a love quote/lyric/movie saying (“like that famous line from Katy’s favorite movie, “it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, meant they were supposed to be together.” Pssst. It’s Sleepless in Seattle!)
Once you write the speech, you’ll want to make sure you practice saying it out loud at least a few times a week leading up to the wedding. Consider recording it on your phone and saying it in front of the mirror, so you can see how you look. The more comfortable you are making the speech, the more you can make eye contact with the couple and guests at the wedding reception while you’re doing it!
Have an Ending
This isn’t 8th grade geography, so don’t end your speech like you’re concluding a PowerPoint presentation: “So… um, yeah!” Offer your well wishes, followed by something that prompts guests, like “Here’s to the newlyweds!” or “Cheers!”
Are you writing a maid of honor speech? Let us know how it’s going, below, and be sure to follow us on Instagram for more great wedding ideas!