Being asked to be a maid of honor is a special privilege. It’s a bride’s way of telling you how important you are to her. Whether it’s your sister or your best friend who’s asked you to participate in their special day in this way, being a maid of honor is a memorable and exciting way to be involved in a wedding.
A checklist of tasks to complete as a maid of honor includes supporting the bride, planning the bridal shower, and managing the bridesmaids. One of the tasks this job calls for may make you feel nervous: delivering the maid of honor speech at the reception.
It could be that you’re worried you won’t be able to sum up your love for your best friend in a brief speech, or public speaking isn’t exactly one of your strengths. But, no matter your concerns about delivering the maid of honor speech, don’t worry. Here are some key tips to help you write and deliver a thoughtful, memorable speech.
Begin your writing process by writing down any emotions, memories, or ideas that make you think of the bride. Try free-writing for 15 minutes, and when you’re done, you should have some quality material that you can incorporate into your speech.
Brainstorming will allow you to plan all the major points you want to make and then fill it in with supporting information.
The bride carefully selected you because you share a deep bond, so make that connection shine. It could be that you went to college together, grew up together, or the bride is your sister. Whatever your relationship with the happy couple is, be sure to share that with the other wedding guests. It will give your speech a sense of history and connection.
Also, be sure to greet everyone with either “Good evening” or “Welcome,” and share your full name. You may know many of the guests in attendance, but it’s always better to ensure everyone knows who you are before you proceed with your speech.
The best speeches are the ones that are personal and highlight the relationship between you and the bride. Share about your friendship, including funny moments, adventurous trips, and other memories you have together. Sharing these warm, funny memories is a great way to celebrate your friendship and show your love for each other.
However, there are some things you shouldn’t mention, such as prior relationships, personal struggles, or awkward fights. You know your bride, so you know what she would be comfortable with. Knowing when you can share specific things and why sometimes you can’t is important to know beforehand. You want to use your speech to remind the bride and guests of the good times, so remember this goal when thinking about what stories to tell.
Talk About Bride and Groom
At a celebration focused on how two people met and fell in love, it can be fun to hear about the first time the maid of honor met their best friend’s partner. Maybe you remember how thrilled your friend was after she met them, or perhaps you remember her calling off dating only days before meeting her future love.
Whatever the story is, it can be a fun way to give a glimpse into their relationship from a different point of view. Also, don’t be afraid to put your emotions into it. Your goal is for what you say to resonate with the bride. And maybe you’ll even cause a few laughs or tears!
Whether or not you’re comfortable with public speaking, practice your speech before the wedding. It can help to write a draft on your phone or an index card. Having a few topic ideas or bullet points written down will help to keep the words flowing, but avoid reading off a script robotically.
Don’t feel like you need to memorize the entirety of the speech, either, as that will add unnecessary pressure. You want to practice enough to be familiar with the speech and can say most of it off the cuff conversationally. You’ll want to have a written backup in case you need it.
Practice twice a day, starting at least a week before the wedding. You might even try recording yourself a few times so you can hear your pacing and tone. Try practicing in front of a mirror to nail your expressions and physical presence. Rehearse your speech in front of friends, too, to see if your jokes get a laugh!
What Should You Avoid in a Maid of Honor Speech?
A good rule of thumb is to keep your speech short and sweet. You’ll want to avoid taking over the many other speeches ahead. Most weddings run on a timeline, so keep that in mind, and you cover the most important parts. Generally, wedding speeches should not exceed the three- to five-minute mark.
Anything Inappropriate or Embarrassing
A wedding is a formal event, and you are speaking to a crowd full of the bride and her partner’s closest family and friends. Therefore, when delivering your maid of honor speech, it’s important to ensure you’re on your A-game. That probably means you shouldn’t drink excessively beforehand.
Keep private stories or anything that may be seen as inappropriate to yourself. Those hilarious anecdotes about the bride’s partying or hookups might be best for the bachelorette party rather than the reception, with Granny sitting just five feet away!
If you’ve been entrusted with the role of maid of honor, you clearly mean a lot to the bride. Don’t improvise your speech on the day of the wedding! Make sure you consider what you want to say beforehand.
The bride obviously means a lot to you, so take some time to reflect on your best times together, think about your relationship, and remember the moments of the couple’s relationship when you were by their side. This speech might seem like an intimidating task. However, the more prepared you are for the speech, the more comfortable you will be. Plus, it’ll mean you’ll experience less stress on the day of the wedding.
At the end of the day, the maid of honor role is an honorable one. Speak clearly, speak from your heart, and remember you are very special to the bride.
Heather, an Event Manager for the Rough & Ready Vineyards, oversees the day-to-day operations. She takes satisfaction in seeing everyone happy and is always grateful for the opportunity to make this happen. Heather enjoys meeting with brides-to-be in order to gather the details needed to ensure their wedding day is perfect! “Every wedding and reception at the Rough & Ready Vineyards is so beautiful,” she says. “I love being able to see people enjoy the amazing venue we have created here!”