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.
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 the bride happy, and even if you completely fail, they’ll still love you for trying your best.
SEE MORE: Wedding Speech Disasters
Here are the things to include in your speech, with examples of how previous MOHs did so. So raise your glass, because here we go.
Why You’re There
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!
Yes, you will have to go a little deeper than your name and relationship with the bride. When writing your maid of honor speech, focus on incorporating personal details into sentences you might normally say something generic. For example, swap “[Bride’s name] is amazing,” for 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.]. It’s always great to mention that they are a perfect match and that their love story is why everyone is here.
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 the groom — not necessarily him alone, but in relation to the bride. 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!)
A Limited Number of Jokes
In a maid of honor speech, landing one joke is hard; — but landing any more than five is nearly impossible. It’s more than likely that you don’t know everyone on the guest list, meaning that something that’s funny to you could be offensive to someone else. You should tread especially light when making jokes at the bride or groom’s expense.
If you choose to place jokes throughout the entire speech, make sure you’re pacing yourself. If you talk too quickly, you won’t give anyone enough time to laugh.
A Time Limit
After awhile, no matter how funny or charming you are, people are going to get bored. Plus, you’re more than likely standing between guests and dinner or cake — and nobody likes that. You should aim for around two minutes.
This isn’t 8th grade geography, so don’t end your speech like you’re concluding a PowerPoint presentation: “So… um, yeah!” Offer a solid conclusion, followed by something that prompts guests, like “Here’s to [bride and groom’s names!” or “Cheers!”
Happy writing! Don’t forget to practice, too.
Looking for more Maid of Honor speech tips? We also like this advice from speechwriter Victoria Wellman.