Writing a maid of honor speech is nothing short of—well—an honor. You certainly don’t want to wing it or leave it until the last minute. The goal is to write a speech that’s epic and memorable while also honoring the happy couple. After all, it’s a speech they will remember for the rest of their lives—no pressure.
So, how to write a maid of honor speech? We can help. Whether you’re the bride’s sister or her best friend, we’ve got a number of tips to help you hit your MOH speech out of the park.
Maid of Honor Responsibilities
It’s the bride’s prerogative to choose anyone she wants as her maid (or man) of honor. Typically it’s a sister, a friend, or some other female relative that’s usually very close to the bride. Some nonconformists might choose to have a man of honor instead. However, the MOH duties don’t change.
So, what does a maid of honor do exactly? A maid of honor is essentially the “leader” of the bridesmaids. She is the person in charge of keeping everyone organized and prepared. The maid of honor duties that come with the title may include planning a bridal shower, planning a bachelorette party, helping the bride with getting ready on her wedding day, and more recently, delivering a maid of honor speech.
What’s a Maid of Honor Speech?
A maid of honor speech is a more recent trend that’s gained in popularity, largely due to movies like Bridesmaids.
It's newness is actually very helpful, as there are no traditions attached to it. This means that the maid of honor gets a lot of freedom when planning her speech.
The point of a maid of honor speech is to give all the guests some insights into the bride and shed some light on what kind of person she is. Obviously, you should write the speech to be flattering, and seek to highlight her best attributes and qualities.
However, the most important thing to remember when writing your speech for your bride’s special day is to make sure what you write is sensitive and thoughtful. It should really be about celebrating your friendship and celebrating her marriage. It’s also best to try to avoid off-color or inside jokes because not everyone will “get it.”
Remember, the goal is to give the guests a deeper peek at who the bride is, which is important for those in attendance that don’t know her as well. Make the moment special and don’t embarrass her.
Writing Your Maid of Honor Speech
Like any other speech, the maid of honor speech should have a clear structure. Design it almost as if it’s a story, with a start, a middle, and an end. That way the speech will be easy for all the guests to keep up with what you are saying.
Some good tips to help you get started include:
Write an Introduction
The first thing you should do is to introduce yourself. Not all the guests are from the bride’s side, meaning they might not know who you are. Tell them who you are and what your relationship with the bride is. You can also include where and how you two met and how long you have been friends. This is the start of your story and your chance to provide context to allow the audience to relate
Share Stories About the Bride
The next thing you might do is share some stories involving you and the bride. Ideally, these stories should highlight your friendship and showcase the bride’s best qualities.
You might share a memory about a difficult time you weathered together and reveal how it brought you closer, or share how she helped you out of a bind when you were in trouble. Keep the focus on the bride’s kindness, compassion, loyalty, and other attractive qualities.
You might also share memories regarding her charitable personality, to show her humanitarian side or a funny moment that shows off her playful side. Think of these memories as the “middle” of the story you’re telling. You have the opportunity to develop and steer it any way you want.
Don’t Forget to Include the Groom
There are a few ways you can do this. If you personally know the groom well, you can share something about the kind of person he is, and how his personality complements the bride’s personality.
If you don’t know him very well, try sharing your opinion about the changes you have noticed in the bride since she started dating him. You might include things like how she has become a better person since they met, or how she has found the courage to chase her dreams, etc.
Remember that though your speech is honoring the bride, it’s also in honor of the marriage itself, which means you must include the groom in it somewhere.
Time for Your Best Advice, Wishes, and a Toast
As your speech comes to an end, offer your best wishes and blessings on the happy couple. You could also offer some wisdom or advice for their future, or stick to the classics and just share a sentimental quote or poem. Finish off your speech with a beautiful toast to celebrate the happy couple and their forever union.
Classic Toast Ideas
Speech Writing Dos and Don’ts
Weddings are very emotional occasions, especially for the bride and groom and their loved ones. As everyone is feeling sentimental, which means it is more imperative than ever to be sensitive with your words and actions.
When sharing a speech, you command the attention of the whole room. For some, this can trigger a bit of nervous rambling. That’s why it’s vital to prepare your speech beforehand so that you have a script to follow.
Some dos and don’ts to consider while preparing your speech include:
Don’t Try to Be Something You’re Not
There’s not a perfect speech you can use as a template. Make it personal to your relationship with the couple. Some of the best speeches for maid of honors have a light-hearted tone while others are more serious. If you are naturally a funny and humorous person, then by all means, open with a joke. If you are not, don’t force yourself to insert jokes into your speech, let alone open with one. Keep in mind that the bride chose you to be the maid of honor, knowing exactly the person you are. So there is no need to try to be something you are not. Rock your unique self, nothing less.
Don’t Share Embarrassing Stories
There is a fine line between funny stories and embarrassing stories. Sharing funny incidences that you experienced together is a great way to reel the audience in and make them relate to your friendship.
However, sharing embarrassing stories makes the situation awkward for the bride and groom, as well as the audience. You should also keep in mind weddings are a family affair.
Do not share anything that the bride might not like her grandmother knowing. These include drunken adventures, her questionable dating history, or anything else that could raise eyebrows.
Don’t Talk About Her Ex-Lovers
Mentioning any previous husbands, fiancés, ex-boyfriends, or other such affairs in a maid of honor speech is cringeworthy. It makes the situation super awkward for both the bride and the groom. Remember, this speech is shared in front of her husband’s family and it could ruin their good impression of her.
Do Keep Inside Jokes to the Minimum
As you are the maid of honor, it’s a given that you are someone who is close to the bride. That means it’s clear to everyone that you probably share a lot of jokes and stories that only you know about. When it comes to the speech, keep the inside jokes to a minimum, or better yet, leave them out entirely. Otherwise you run the risk of making the audience feel excluded and uninterested.
Do Include the Groom
It is his wedding too, after all. If you know him personally, you may include some funny stories about him as well, but it’s important to not cross the line between funny and humiliating. Keep it entertaining without making it crash.
Do Have a Proper Ending
For a well-received speech, it’s ideal to have a proper ending. Rambling off into silence is never a good idea, even as a maid of honor. End with love and a toast.
Do Remember It’s Not About You
Keep in mind that you are here to talk about the couple and your friendship with them, not about yourself. It is best to keep the I’s and me’s to a minimum to make sure you don’t come off as self-centered. Also, make sure to put the focus on the bride’s best qualities, not on yours.
Don’t Forget to Say Thank You
As a maid of honor, it’s just good manners to thank all the guests for coming, the planner for organizing the event, the family of the bride and groom for their support, as well as to anyone else that you think deserves some recognition.
Do Start and End with Gratitude
Start your speech by saying a general thank you, especially if someone introduced you beforehand. Similarly, you can end the speech with a thank you. This shows you are a polite and well-mannered person. Thank the audience for their time, as well as the bride for her trust in you.
Additional Maid of Honor Speech Tips
Apart from suggestions on writing your speech, below are some additional tips to help you deliver your speech with panache.
Sip Water Before You Begin
Being nervous before speaking in public is common. In some cases, nervousness can cause dry mouth. Drink some water before getting started to ensure you don’t croak.
Keep It Short and Sweet
An ideal maid of honor speech should only be a few minutes long. Any longer and the guests may lose interest.
Don’t Be Formal
While writing your speech, remember that it’s not a formal essay. Write as you would normally speak. Follow the overall structure so you end up with a good speech, but don’t get hung up on perfection. You don’t need a speech that’s perfectly written, only perfectly delivered, with the perfect amount of grace, sentiment, and humor.
Maintain Eye Contact
For a good delivery, it is always important to maintain eye contact with the audience. If you are addressing the bride and groom directly, then maintain eye contact with them, otherwise, glancing at them a few times is enough.
Never Wing It
It’s never too early to write down your maid of honor speech. Start with a rough draft and jot down your feelings for the bride, any funny incidences you remember, as well as your opinions on her relationship. Do it well in advance, so you have plenty of time to modify it and ensure that you don’t include bits that are insensitive because you’re in a rush.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Finally, as we all know, practice makes perfect. Therefore, practice your maid of honor speech as much as you can. Deliver it in front of a mirror, a family member or friend, or even your cat. Saying and hearing it out loud will also help you during the editing process.
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