The Ultimate Guide To Your Maid Of Honor Speech

here’s no bigger compliment than being chosen as the maid of honor at a wedding. It’s a sign of trust and love, so of course you want to do it perfectly!

The maid of honor has a list of duties to make the bride’s day extra special, including making an unforgettable speech.

This guide will help you write the perfect speech, with a step-by-step guide, top tips, and some of the best examples we could find. So, take a seat, grab a pen, and let’s get started!

What Is A Maid Of Honor Speech?

It is a long standing tradition for the best man and maid of honor to formally address the bride and groom in front of their guests.

It is an important duty for the bride-appointed maid of honor to carry out on the wedding day to express appreciation and congratulations to the happy couple.

We all know that speeches can be terrifying, no matter how good you are at public speaking, because it’s so important to get it right. An amazing speech can make the bride’s day absolutely perfect.

With the right preparation, you will be able to deliver an iconic speech that will be a fond memory for the bride and groom to look back on in the years to come.

Types Of Speeches

When it comes down to it, it’s completely up to you which direction you take your maid of honor speech. You can decide to make it funny, emotional, or unique.

When deciding what kind of speech you want to make, you should think about your own personality and your relationship with the bride.

An extroverted maid of honor who is a sister to the bride might be happy to make a longer speech due to the familiarity with the bride and the family dynamic.

On the other hand, a more introverted person who is a childhood friend of the bride might want to make their speech shorter but more emotional as they talk about how the bride has grown over the years.

Whatever you decide, your maid of honor speech should follow some basic guidelines so you can really make an impact. We will go into more detail later in this guide. 

Speech Timing

Following dinner during the reception, the wedding speeches usually start. Traditionally, the best man or the father of the bride speaks first, followed by the maid of honor.

Your speech should last between three and seven minutes. That is lengthy enough to keep guests engaged but not so long that people might become distracted or have off-topic discussions.

How to Structure Your Speech – The Basics

Getting the basics of your maid of honor speech right is fundamental to the whole process and to its success on the day. Let’s take a look at how you might want to structure your speech.

Introduce Yourself

The first thing to do is introduce yourself to the guests as not everyone may know your name. Then you will want to explain what your relationship is to the bride, you may be her sister, her best friend or a close relative.

This could go something like “Hi I’m Sarah, and I’m the bride’s sister and lucky enough to be her maid of honor today”. This is short and to the point and now everyone knows who you are.

Of course, with sisters you won’t need to explain how you met, but if you’re the bride’s best friend this could be included.

Something simple such as “We’ve been getting into trouble together since kindergarten” or “We grew up next door to each other”. Keep it to a sentence or two though.

The bulk of your speech should be about the couple and their relationship, not about yours with the bride. But don’t forget to congratulate them and tell them how happy you are for them both.

You should also thank everyone who helped with the wedding, and the guests who have come to share in the happy occasion.

How The Couple Met & Their Relationship

Next you should talk about how they met including when and what the bride first told you about the groom.

Something along the lines of “she told me about this really annoying guy she’d met but then couldn’t stop talking about him, so I knew there was a spark”. Share an anecdote about one of their dates that shows how they were obviously meant to be together.

An example would be “on their first date they were both making the same movie references, now that’s a sign of a soulmate.” Make sure any story or anecdote is appropriate and clean, as there may be children present.

Talk about the love they share and insert a few compliments about the groom, including a thank you to him for loving your sister/best friend as much as he does.

Toast Their Future

Finally, you should toast the future happiness of the bride and groom. Perhaps include a quote from one of the bride’s favorite movies or a line from their favorite couple’s song or a touching poem. Make it personal and sincere.

A beautiful example from you as the maid of honor to the bride:

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“When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in {her} may be clearer in {her} absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. For love that seeks aught, but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love, but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught. And let your best be for your friend.”

And for them as a couple:

“Marriage is sharing your life with your best friend, enjoying the journey along the way, and arriving at every destination together.”

Gems To Include

The Ultimate Guide To Your Maid Of Honor Speech

It can be very hard for someone who has never written a speech before to know what to include. You also need to be mindful of not making your maid of honor speech too long, 2-3 minutes is about right.

Although that might not seem like a long time, when you are public speaking 2-3 minutes can often seem much longer.

This is especially true if you don’t enjoy standing in front of a lot of people, many of whom you may not even know. So here we have some ideas that you should try to incorporate into your speech.

Anecdotes

Inserting personal anecdotes shows the extent of your relationship with the bride and your knowledge of the couple’s relationship.

When you are introducing yourself you can add a story about how you and the bride met or talk about some of your fun times together.

An example would be talking about a time you both got into trouble, but the bride took the blame, getting you off the hook. This could lead to a joke about the groom being well and truly hooked and not really wanting to get away.

Humor

You should definitely include some humor in your speech but make sure it is appropriate and not derogatory towards either the bride or groom. One or two is usually sufficient, don’t try to pepper your speech with jokes and make them relatable to everyone.

A nice funny story is a great way to paint the relationship between the couple and show that they are able to have fun as well as being seriously committed to one another.

The main purpose of a maid of honor speech is to pay tribute to the bride but make sure you also share some funny things about her, so it doesn’t feel too gushy.

Compliments

Your words about the bride will of course be complimentary but make sure to be genuine in your speech. Talk about her qualities as a person and not only about how beautiful she looks today.

Let people know what kind of impact she has had on your life. Of course, your speech should have plenty of compliments about the bride but don’t forget the groom as well.

You can talk about the first time you met him and your initial impressions. Then describe how his qualities make him the perfect partner for the bride.

Pitfalls To Avoid

Perhaps more important to a maid of honor speech are the things that you really should not include.

If you have a very jokey relationship with the bride it can be tempting to include some of that into your speech, but remember that you’re also talking to her family, so it may be advisable to steer clear of any dubious content.

Below are a few of the things that are most definitely not appropriate for a maid of honor speech.

Ex Partners

Talking about ex partners of either the bride or groom is not a good idea. While you may share stories in private about these things the maid of honor speech is not the place or time for them.

Nobody wants to be thinking of their ex partners on their wedding day and the guests will most likely find it a bit awkward.

So stick to just talking about the bride and groom and how happy they are together, and avoid mentioning past partners, they’ll both thank you for that.

Embarrassing Moments

Embarrassing Moments

Another subject to avoid are any really embarrassing moments that the bride or groom may have experienced. The best places for this kind of good natured teasing is at the bachelorette or bachelor party.

No one should be looking to embarrass the couple on their wedding day especially as they will have parents, grandparents and children present. Steer clear of this kind of content for your maid of honor speech.

Inside Jokes

While you should include some jokes and funny snippets into your speech, try to avoid anything that is an inside joke between you and the bride and/or other friends. It will probably fall flat if only one or two people understand it.

Your speech should only last about 2-3 minutes, so you don’t have time to fill in the background of the joke. It’s best to just leave it out.

No Ending

One of the hardest parts of writing a speech is knowing how to finish and to make your last remarks some of the most memorable.

Of course, your toast will form part of your closing but try to include something personal for both the bride and groom as well.

Rules To Follow

To write a great maid of honor speech there are some rules you should follow. These will help you to formulate your speech and help you with the delivery at the wedding reception.

Be Sincere

First and foremost it is really important to be sincere both in the content and delivery of your speech. It is the most important day of the bride’s life, and she will want to feel that the sentiments of everyone around her are genuine.

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You can contribute to that feeling. When choosing things to include in the speech make sure you are using real life examples and not just vague references to general good times.

Choose a specific event in your anecdotes and make any stories personal and sweet. Insincerity will be very evident as will trying to impart attributes to the bride that are clearly not true.

Choose her best traits and work them into your speech and any anecdotes. Even better, let everyone know how she has positively impacted you and other people.

Do More Than One Draft

No one gets a piece of writing perfect the first time, it takes at least a couple of drafts if not several to nail a good piece.

A maid of honor speech is a responsibility to do the best you can so take the time to draft a few versions of your speech and show it to others for feedback.

Don’t wait till the last minute to do your speech either, it’s not something that can be done on the back of an envelope.

The bride has entrusted this to you, and you should give it the time and attention it deserves. Once you have the final draft, make some prompt notes, so you don’t forget anything or end up reading the entire speech.

Delivery

Top Tips For The Best Maid Of Honor Speech

Just as important as writing a great maid of honor speech is getting the delivery right. You might have the most heartwarming or funny speech ever but if how you deliver it is off no one is going to remember any of it.

All they’ll remember is your performance. Public speaking comes naturally to very few people. Most of us would rather do just about anything to avoid it, but this is one of the times when you need to step up.

There are a few things you can do to help and none of them involve visualizing people in their underwear. First of all, breathe. Don’t make it obvious, but a couple of deep breaths do wonders for calming your nerves.

Second, admit you’re nervous! Most people will be able to relate to that and that vulnerability will make the other guests feel for you. Then, use your notes. Don’t make the mistake of carrying on talking as you check your notes.

With your head down people may not be able to hear you clearly. Check the notes, look up and begin speaking. Remember to make eye contact with guests in various parts of the room, so you are addressing everyone.

Finally, get familiar with the pause, where you stop briefly to allow for laughter or a round of applause. And then carry on.

Watch The Clock

Your maid of honor speech should always be less than 5 minutes. In fact, the optimum time is actually 2-3 minutes and trust us, this is longer when you’re public speaking than it sounds.

When you practice your speech make sure you time it, so you know where you are at one minute, then at two minutes and finally when you should be wrapping up.

Practice

Before the big day you should have your speech written out on a card and practice in front of a mirror. When you have the final draft, practice in front of friends and family and take on board any suggestions.

It may be a good idea to have a few of the bridesmaids and groomsmen listen to the speech, so they can let you know if something is missing or something should be left out.

These will typically be the people who will know the couple best, so their advice is priceless. You could even record yourself on your phone, so you can judge if anything needs to be changed.

Confidence

It’s fine to have notes to remind you of what you want to say but avoid reading your speech as it will come across as inauthentic.

Making sure you have had plenty of practice beforehand should mean that you will just need a card with some prompts to get you through. You should deliver your speech with a degree of confidence but not overtly so.

Try to smile even though you are a bit nervous, you will get smiles back in return which can make you feel more comfortable and at ease.

Perfect Speech Examples

For Laughs

Well, for those of you whom I haven’t had the chance to meet yet, my name is [NAME]. [BRIDE] and I have been best friends for around 10 years.

We first met at work one day, when she stole my carrot cake out of the fridge in the lunchroom and I threw away her pineapple yogurt cartons in revenge.

I never had a sister, but [BRIDE] has been my stand-in sister for all these years. You could say we are even closer than sisters. We don’t fight like sisters, but we do wear each other’s clothes.

Somehow she can still fit into my clothes, but I can’t fit into hers anymore. I’m sure that is just because her dryer must be shrinking them.

I knew [BRIDE] had found the one when [GROOM] walked into her life. You could see that it was love at first, second, and third sight.

Clearly [GROOM] is charming and it seems to me he offers her what she needs – a strong arm, a kind ear, and an American Express Black Card.

I trust [BRIDE] and [GROOM] completely. I remember the time I asked them to watch my dog, Benji, when I went skiing in Europe.

They were so nice to help out. I got back and Benji was so happy to see me. He was 40 pounds lighter, and now he sees a therapist twice a week.

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Of course, we are having fun today. The test of this relationship will be over the long term. Will she still love [GROOM] when he leaves his underwear on the floor and cuts his toenails at the dinner table?

The answer is no. God, please, disgusting.

No, seriously, I know they will have challenges, as all relationships do. And [GROOM] will learn what all men learn eventually. Keep your wife happy! Happy wife, happy life.

No, really, what’s great about love, relationships, and marriage is learning to grow together. The amount of communication it takes to keep a marriage going is massive.

But half the fun is working things out, talking, communicating, and launching kitchen appliances at each other – real love.

Today has been a great day. The family and friends are here, the sun is shining, and the champagne is flowing. And we’ll need it to get through this chicken dinner.

For A Best Friend

“Hi, I’m [NAME], I am [BRIDE] maid of honor. I’ve known [BRIDE] since college, and since then, my life has changed for the better.

She is really one of my favorite people and one of the best humans on this planet.

When you asked me to be your maid of honor, I was overjoyed. The first thing I thought about was the bachelorette party!

I cannot put into words how much you mean to me. You know that I’m so happy for you and [GROOM], and I will be rooting for your relationship for the rest of my life.

When I met you, I was going through such a difficult time. You’ve taught me to be strong and always strive to be my best self.

There were times when I would almost lose it, then a phone call from you would make things so much better.

One of my favorite memories was when we went to the B2K concert and got a backstage pass from security. And we got to meet Omarion. We didn’t sneak in, nor did we pay for passes.

We got in all because you weren’t scared to just walk through. I followed you in, and because of your bravery, audacity, and fearlessness, I got to have one of the best nights of my life.

[GROOM], this is what you’re dealing with here! She’s a woman who is bold, fearless, and a badass!

My wish, if I get to have one, is for everyone to have a [BRIDE] in their life. She is the most loving and caring person that I’ve ever met.

Her heart is a reflection of what she does. And all she wants to do is take care of everyone around her. At the end of the day, she just wants everyone to love one another.

When you got engaged, I knew that this would be the best decision you’ve ever made. The smiles you both put on each other’s faces are fascinating, and I pray that you both remain happy forever.

I want to thank you so much for letting me be a part of this, and I want to wish you all the love and happiness in the world.

Now let’s toast to the bride and the groom!”

For A Sister

“Hello, my name is [NAME], [BRIDE]’s little sister. [BRIDE], You have been my backbone. The foundation for our family. I do not know where I would be without you.

I am so happy for you and [GROOM] and want to tell you both congratulations on your union. I know you guys will have so many wonderful moments together in your marriage.

[BRIDE], when mom died, you really showed me, our brother, and your son that nothing would ever break our bond. As long as we have each other, everything will be okay

Going through such a traumatic event like that should have made us all statistics. But because of you taking care of us, we are now successful people.

You’ve made us examples of how good could come from a bad situation.

Now that we are adults, all we want is for you to be happy and loved. And we know you’ve got that with [GROOM].

And [GROOM], get used to sister tattoos, sister bracelets, and hair emergencies. Welcome to the family!

Now that you’re officially a part of our cult, cheers to you both!“

Final Thoughts

Being maid of honor is a big responsibility and the bride will be relying on you for a lot of things in the lead up to the wedding. On the day, you will be busy seeing to all the little things that will make her day special.

Your speech is your opportunity to tell everyone how much she means to you and how much happiness you wish her and her groom for the future. We hope you have enjoyed this guide on how to write a great maid of honor speech.

Lisa Plaitt