How to Make Sure Your Maid of Honor Speech Inspires Happy Tears

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Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Country Living

Your best friend is getting married, and she's asked you to be her maid of honor, cementing your status as BFF. But it's not all about winning the closest friend award. Maid of honor duties are no joke—you'll be busy brainstorming stunning rustic wedding ideas, picking the just-right flowers for the gorgeous wedding bouquets, and throwing the perfect bridal shower. With little time to spare, you might be tempted to put off perhaps the most important duty: the maid of honor speech.

The first rule of thumb is simple: Do not wing it. Giving a maid of honor speech is, well, an honor, and it should be treated as such. Put pen to paper and write a thoughtful expression of your love for the couple on their wedding day—and then practice, practice, practice.

So, how do you write a unique maid of honor speech? We have some step-by-step advice on what to say—and, more importantly, what not to say.

Introduce Yourself

Sure, the couple and their families likely know you well, but many of the guests will not (unless you're the bride's sister, of course). Put a name to your face, along with a quick history of how you met the bride and how long you’ve known her. Include how you first heard about the groom. Do you recall the first time the bride told you about him? When did she tell you that he was the one? These are all things guests probably don’t know, and they'll really enjoy getting the scoop.

Show Your Sense of Humor

People love a good laugh (and probably expect it), so tell a joke or sprinkle in a funny anecdote or two. If you’re having trouble thinking of a specific story, browse through photos of you and your BFF. You’re bound to come across something hilarious—like the middle school dance or camping trips—that sparks a funny memory. But avoid inside jokes—you don’t want other guests to feel left out.

Photo credit: Caiaimage/Tom Merton - Getty Images
Photo credit: Caiaimage/Tom Merton - Getty Images

Make Your Words Heartfelt

In other words, don’t be afraid to get emotional. After all, this is a really big day for the couple. Weddings often bring out all the feelings, so if you want to share your love in a more heartfelt way, now’s the time. (However, now is not the time to express that you aren’t 100 percent in support of the bride’s spouse-of-choice. If that’s the case, keep it to yourself and focus on your love for her instead.)

Keep It Clean and Positive

It's likely that you and the bride have experienced a lot of crazy times together. (That’s why you’re the maid of honor!) But please, keep it clean. You don’t want to embarrass the bride and make other guests feel uncomfortable by mentioning drunkenness, exes, or anything that you wouldn’t want shared about yourself. Save those stories for the bachelorette party.

Practice Makes Perfect

Do yourself a favor and spend more time than you think is necessary practicing your speech out loud. It may feel corny, but it'll help the words flow more smoothly when it’s time to take the mic. You'll also know when to pause for laughter, or discover which words you want to put a certain inflection on.

Keep It Short and Sweet

We’ve all been to events where someone wears out their welcome on the microphone. An appropriate amount of time for a maid of honor speech is absolutely no longer than five minutes (two to three is the sweet spot). After that, you run the risk of losing guests’ attention, and you may be holding up other important reception activities (like cake!).

Be Prepared

It's okay to write key words or bullet points on a note card, or even print out the entire speech. It’s better to glance down for a reminder than completely blank on what you so lovingly planned to say. (Actors do it at awards shows—it’s fine.) Also, if your microphone experience is limited (karaoke doesn't count), speak clearly into it and hold it about a third of an inch from your lips. Don't be self conscious about your voice being louder than normal—it's important that everyone can hear you well or else they might lose interest quickly.

Photo credit: A&J Fotos - Getty Images
Photo credit: A&J Fotos - Getty Images

Play a Game

If you’re less sentimental and want to have a little fun, try an interactive approach like playing the shoe game (always a crowd-pleaser!). Place two chairs back to back where guests can see them, and ask the bride to sit in one and the groom to sit in the other. Each will remove both shoes and swap one (the groom will hold one of his shoes and one of the bride’s shoes, and vice versa). Ask funny questions like, "Who's the best driver?" and "Who's the best cook?" The couple will answer by raising that person’s shoe. "Who loves the other the most?" is a sweet last question. Wrap it up by saying a little tidbit about how much you love them, and voila! Speech done.

Limit Your Drinking Beforehand

The last thing you want is a sloppy speech being captured on video and going viral. It’s perfectly normal to want to take the edge off, but you don’t want to embarrass yourself or (especially) your BFF on her wedding day by drinking too much before taking the mic. Limit yourself to one glass of bubbly to calm your nerves, and no more until after your speech.

How to End a Maid of Honor Speech

As you're wrapping up your speech, make sure to thank the couple and their families for including you in this very special day. Some sweet last words to consider are:
Best wishes to the happy couple!
May you live happily ever after!
Cheers!
Raise a glass to the newlyweds!
I love you.




Photo credit: Caiaimage/Martin Barraud - Getty Images
Photo credit: Caiaimage/Martin Barraud - Getty Images

Be Your Charming Self

The bride has chosen you as maid of honor because you are you. Whatever you say, just be yourself. A sweet, genuine tribute from friend to friend will be the best wedding gift ever.

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