When I first started working as a hired bridesmaid for strangers, I used reception speeches as an opportunity to hide in the bridal suite and take a break. I would dread listening to wedding toasts because they often were too long or too hard for the audience to follow.
Over time, I started to stay in the room for these speeches and I’d listen very closely. I started to realize that any good maid of honor speech needed to follow a solid structure. It was easy to see that there was a specific format, length and tone that often went over well with the newly married couple and the guests. If a best man or maid of honor stuck to that script, they were guaranteed to get laughs and big applause.
But after attending more than a hundred weddings as a professional bridesmaid and writing hundreds of maids of honor speeches for clients, there’s one particular maid of honor speech that’s been unforgettable.
The Best Maid of Honor Speech
Read on to hear why the speech below is the best I’ve ever heard and how you can write a similar one the next time you’re a maid of honor.
The first few lines of a maid of honor speech can set the tone for the next few minutes. If you can find a way to add in an unexpected joke, you’ll hook the audience into the toast and capture their attention. This speech did that in the final line of the introduction. It made me laugh and wonder what was going to be said next.
Good evening everyone,
Thank you all for being here tonight and joining us on this amazing day for Maren and Joe.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ashley and I’m the beautiful bride’s maid of honor and best friend.
Once in a while, two amazing people meet, and you just know it was meant to be. That’s exactly what happened over 18 years ago… when Maren and I met.
After explaining who you are, the next move is to share how you met the person getting married. Even if your friendship has lasted decades, it’s best to keep this part short. An audience wants to hear a quick memory about how you met so they can dive into the more entertaining stories next.
I’d say it was pretty much friendship at first sight. We played basketball together on the same team and Maren seemed cool, so I went up to her and decided to make her my new friend.
Our friendship has been that smooth ever since. Though I'll admit, Maren and I truly define the rule that complete opposites attract. Maren is quiet, before you really get to know her, and I can be obnoxiously loud.
The Friendship Growth
Before diving into a big story or a memory that anchors the speech, quickly explain how your friendship with the person has lasted over the years. This helps the audience understand how you two have stayed close even as your surroundings have changed.
So if you’re wondering how our friendship has stayed unbreakable over 18 years, I’d like to thank our mutual love of music, shopping for clothes, and wine. Lots and lots of wine.
Maren and I have spent the last couple of years in a long-distance friendship. But no matter how far she’s moved—Seattle, Japan, and Australia, the thousands of miles between us have somehow only brought us closer. We email constantly, chat on the phone almost every day, and visit each other whenever we can.
The Heartbeat of the Friendship
The best way to wrap up the first half of the speech is to explain how the person inspires you, supports you, and helps you grow as a person. You can end this section by sharing the gratitude you have for a friendship like this.
Maren is the most determined, motivated, trustworthy, and honest person I know.
Especially the honest part.
She’s been there for me no matter what and gives me the kind of advice that nobody has the guts to tell me. With Maren, if you want the truth, you’re going to get it. If you don’t want the truth, well, you’re still going to get it. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything. She tells it like it is and then pinky-promises you that she’ll be by your side.
Maren, you’ve been my go-to person to vent to, open up to, and even cry to. You’ve helped me through the toughest of times and embraced all the happy times too. I’m so grateful to have met you when we both had an embarrassing obsession with every Jonas Brothers song and a terrible sense of fashion.
The Partner Impression
Start off the next section by sharing your first impression of the person they just married. You can include what you remember your friend telling you about them, how they met, or what you thought when you met that person for the first time.
When Maren first told me she met someone named Joe, I forced her to tell me everything about him.
The way she described his kindness blew me away.
But the more time I’ve spent with Joe and the more time he’s become a giant part of Maren’s life, the more I've come to see that he is the most outgoing, genuine, and friendly person I’ve ever met. When Joe walks into a room, he leaves that same room with at least five new best friends.
The Perfect Match
As someone who knows the couple well, it’s helpful to share with the audience why you think they are a perfect match. You can do that through stories, memories or by detailing the couple’s similarities.
I’ll never forget visiting Maren and Joe in Seattle last winter. In just the few short days I spent with them, I could see that their relationship was solid and had developed and matured in all the best ways. Both of them have the utmost respect and love for one another and I knew, right there, it was only a matter of time before Joe popped the question.
Joe and Maren define the rule that complete opposites attract. But just like Maren and I, Joe and Maren's differences complement each other in the most unbreakable kind of way.
To close out the speech, share with the couple a personal message that you have for them going forward. Then ask the audience to raise their glass and close out the speech with a toast to the future.
Joe and Maren - your relationship is a perfect example of what true love means.
I can’t wait to continue watching you make each other so happy as you both flourish in your careers, eat more sushi together than any couple ever should, and spend a lot of quality time with your dog Beacon.
If everyone could please raise their glass, I’d like to propose a toast to the new Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Here’s to love, laughter, and happily ever after. Congratulations!