by Linda DiProperzio
The maid (or matron) of honor at a wedding is a special role. In addition to helping out with any of the pre-wedding planning and events, you’ll be standing at the altar next to the happy couple on the big day as the officiant performs the ceremony. And just like the best man, you’ll be expected to give a toast in honor of the newlyweds at the reception.
Not very comfortable with public speaking? Don’t worry—you’re definitely not alone! Most people aren’t thrilled with the prospect of getting up in front of a room filled with people and giving a speech. Luckily, we have plenty of tips and advice to make sure the process is stress-free for you and a happy memory for everyone.
How to write a maid of honor speech
Before you get started, take a look at some of these quick tips to help guide you through the writing process.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Trust us, you don’t want to procrastinate on this. Holding off on starting your speech will only create stress. Begin preparing your words a few weeks before the wedding date, giving you plenty of time to revise and rework your speech if needed.
Start with an outline
Map your speech out before you begin writing. Some basic elements of the speech can be:
Keep it short and sweet
Remember that other people will also be making toasts during the reception. In addition to the best man, the couple’s parents might want to say a few words—and even the newlyweds could choose to get up and thank all of their guests for coming. The optimal time for your speech should be under five minutes.
Explain your connection to the couple so that guests understand why you were chosen to take on this special role in the wedding party.
Speak from the heart
You want to present a speech that leaves everyone laughing or crying happy tears (or both!) Think about your relationship with the couple and your bond with them. This is a great time to talk about when you realized they were a perfect match for one another.
Share some happy memories
It’s a wonderful touch to include one or two happy memories that you have with your friend—just make sure the stories you choose to share are appropriate and won’t embarrass anyone!
Finish up with some well wishes
Include your hopes for the couple as they embark on married life—happiness, health, a lifetime of love, etc.—and feel free to offer some friendly words of advice if you feel it’s appropriate.
Allow a friend to look it over
If you’re not sure you’ve hit the mark, ask one of your friends to take a look at the speech and give you some honest feedback. You can even practice reading it in to them, so you get comfortable saying it out loud.
Things to avoid in your maid of honor speech
You want your maid of honor speech to be memorable for all of the right reasons. With that in mind, here are a few things you should definitely keep out of your toast:
Any mention of exes
Even if you want to talk about how much happier your friend is with their new partner than they were with their ex, it’s just never a good idea to bring up past relationships.
You don’t want half of the wedding guests to have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about. Save those inside stories and jokes for the bachelor/bachelorette parties.
Sure, you might think that embarrassing story about your friend is hilarious but remember that older relatives and friends of the parents will most likely be in attendance.
While the couple might indeed love R-rated jokes, many of their guests might not be as entertained by off-color humor. In this scenario, it’s always best to keep it clean.
Predictions about kids
The topic of raising a family is something that should only be discussed between the newlyweds.
If there is any tension within the families, keep it to yourself. Even trying to pass it off as a light situation in order to get a laugh is a bad idea.
Negative comments about the couple
Don’t point out any of shortcomings of the couple—either individually or in their relationship. All you want to express is how happy you are for the newlyweds and how perfect they are for one another.
Do’s and don’ts for Writing a Maid of Honor Speech
Do plan in advance
You want to give yourself enough time to craft a beautiful speech so don’t wait until the last-minute to work on it. This is not a task you want to take on a few days before the wedding date.
Don’t try to wing it
Even if you’re completely comfortable with public speaking, you should still plan what want to say in advance. This is such a special moment and you want to put thought into what you say to the couple and their guests.
Do keep it clean
When it comes to including humor in your speech, keep it strictly PG. The couple will have older friends and relatives in attendance and it's best to stay away from racy jokes or stories, as well as bad language.
Don’t talk for too long
You don’t want to bore the guests by standing up there for too long, so write a speech that is short and sweet. The optimal time is no more than five minutes.
Do introduce yourself
Not everyone will know your connection to the couple. Take a moment to introduce yourself to all of the guests.
Don’t talk too much about yourself
Make the intro brief—remember that the speech is about the newlyweds and you'll want to keep the spotlight on them.
One of the big advantages of writing your speech in advance is that you’ll have plenty of time to practice reading it out loud. You can do it on your own or in front of friends who can give you some honest feedback.
Don’t skip the cheat sheets
While it’s best to try to memorize your speech, you should still print it out on paper or on a card so you have something to refer to if needed. Just don’t read from your phone.
Do propose a toast
You always want to close out your maid of honor speech by raising your glass and proposing a toast to the couple’s health and happiness.
Maid of Honor Speech Example
Still not sure how to start? Here’s an example of a short, but sweet maid of honor speech!
Hi everyone, my name is Kate. I am so honored to be Anna’s maid of honor today. We met as freshman in college and soon became the best of friends. We have been there for one another during all of the good times and some hard times, and I have never seen Anna happier than she is with James. They both share a love of traveling and have already shared so many adventures together. And now they are starting off on the biggest adventure of all. Watching them at the altar today, it’s no secret how much these two truly love and adore one another. I know all of you join me in wishing them a lifetime of love, health and happiness. Congratulations Anna and James!
Looking for more tips? Find out how to write the most kickass wedding toast or speech EVER!