We doubt Modern MOH was your first stop on the “how to write a maid of honor speech” search train, but we do hope to be your final destination. You see, unlike most articles you’ll find on the subject of wedding speeches, we’re actually going to give it to you straight. No vaguely basic outlines or generically boring examples, just the cold hard facts. Because we have some serious experience in the toast department, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned about writing a killer maid of honor speech, it’s this: there is no secret formula, no one right way. How could there be? Each and every relationship between a maid of honor and bride is different from the next, just as each and every memory is uniquely yours. So stop looking for speeches to steal off the internet and start writing your one-of-a-kind story using our 5 D’s.
1. Define your objective
Before you begin writing your maid of honor speech, you must first define your objective. In other words, you need to have a goal you’re looking to accomplish. For example, are you hoping to make wedding guests laugh? Cry? Both? Do you want talk about your history with the bride, about how you met the groom, or what their relationship as a couple means to you? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you figure out the direction you should take when writing your maid of honor speech.
If you find yourself struggling to define your objective, simply think of your relationship with both the bride and groom. Do they have a great sense of humor? Is your time together spent mostly joking around and laughing? If so, try taking a comedic approach to your speech by cracking a few funny jokes along the way. Or maybe you and your bride have been through some very serious times together that you want to share, in which case your speech may be much more emotionally moving. The great part about this objective is that it’s your own, so there is no one right or wrong way to go about it.
Our advice: Touch on a little bit of everything. Start strong with a joke or two and finish out with a sentimental toast. While there is no exact formula to it, a truly killer maid of honor speech is both funny enough to get wedding guests laughing and moving enough to bring a tear to their eye. Secondly, don’t spend so much time talking about your history with the bride that you forget to talk about the groom. Even if you don’t have your own personal memories with your BFF’s new hubby, that doesn’t mean he should be left out of your speech. Instead, talk about their relationship as a couple and what it means to you, including your wishes for their future together.
2. Decide on your point of view
The key to writing a killer of maid of honor speech is to not think of it as a speech, but instead a story. And as the narrator of this particular story, it’s up to you to determine the point of view from which you tell it. While it may seem obvious that you’d write from the first person POV, there are definitely some benefits to switching it up.
To begin with, writing from a third person POV will give your speech a unique twist and a more story-like feel. For example, instead of saying “Taylor and I met on the school bus in the third grade and she’s been my best friend ever since”, you could say “When Taylor was in the third grade, she met a little girl on the school bus who remains her best friend to this day”.
Like the idea, but don’t think you can write an entire speech that way? No problem. Unlike what you were taught in grade school, you have the freedom to switch between differing points of view when telling your story. If you haven’t caught on yet, let us reiterate: there is no right or wrong when it comes to writing your speech.
Our advice: Take advantage of switching up the points of view. Start with narrating from the first person point of view, especially if it’s easier for you to tell the history between you and the bride that way, and when it comes time to talk about the couple, tell their story from an outsider’s perspective. If you do decide to go this route, don’t get so crazy with it that you start confusing your audience. The whole point of using different points of view is to enhance your maid of honor speech, not complicate it.
3. Determine your must-haves
Now that you’ve defined your objective and decided on your POV, it’s time to determine your must-haves. By must-haves, we mean the anecdotes you absolutely want to include in your maid of honor speech. For instance, is there a particular memory you have with the bride that you definitely want to share with wedding guests? Or maybe you were there when the bride and groom met and you want to tell your side of the couple’s story.
Determining your must-haves before you begin writing will guarantee you don’t forget to feature them. Not to mention, it will keep you from going off track when it comes time to put pen to paper. If you’re having trouble narrowing it down, keep this in mind: it’s much better to have one or two epic stories than a mix of mediocre ones.
Our advice: Don’t be that maid of honor that goes on and on about memories and “funny” inside jokes you have with the bride (no wedding guest wants to hear it, trust us). Instead, tell one or two really great stories that portray your friendship and then move on to her relationship with the groom. Too many MOHs make the mistake of making their speech all about them and not enough about the couple they are supposed to be celebrating. If you want to talk about yourself in front of a big audience, try Youtube.
4. Develop your story
As we mentioned before, the key to writing a killer maid of honor speech is to tell it like a story. And just like any great story, you must develop it from beginning to middle to end (think along the lines of “once upon a time” to “they lived happily ever after”). While it’s entirely up to you to decide what constitutes the beginning, middle and end of your particular story, you should avoid big jumps in time. In other words, do your best to develop it in chronological order so you don’t confuse wedding guests.
For instance: Start by telling the story of how you and the bride met, continue on with a memory you have of the bride and groom, and finish with a toast for the couple. Again, there is no magic formula when it comes to writing a maid of honor speech, but having a clear and concise story line is highly suggested.
Our advice: Don’t be predictable. Chances are you and your best friend didn’t cross paths in some epic way (especially if you’re sisters), so skip the generic “this is how we met” story. Instead, dive right into a funny/crazy/holy s*$&! moment to get the crowd’s attention. And don’t be boring with your finale either. No generic “cheers to the Mr. & Mrs.”, we know you can do better than that. Your goal should be to receive a standing ovation, not a polite golf clap.
5. Describe your characters in detail
We can’t stress how important this final step is when it comes to writing your maid of honor speech. Seriously, taking the extra step to describe your characters in detail is what differentiates the bland from the bomb. And just so we’re clear, by characters we mean the bride and groom and by detail we mean elaboration. For example, instead of saying “Taylor is such a great friend, she’s always been there for me whenever I needed her”, you should say “I’ve never met a more loving and loyal person than Taylor, she truly exemplifies what is means to be a best friend”.
These extra tweaks may seem insignificant to you, but they’re exactly the lines that will resonate with your audience and more importantly, the couple. And if writing isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry. Simply speak from the heart, you’ll be surprised at how well your final product turns out.
Our advice: Use a thesaurus (seriously, we do it all the time). It’s a great way to spice up your word choice and will stop you from repeating yourself. On the flip side, don’t feel like you have to use a ton of fancy words- you want to sound like yourself after all, not Shakespeare. Lastly, don’t be afraid to throw a bit of alliteration in there. It brings character to your writing and makes it much more memorable (see what we did there?)
Maid of Honor Speech Dos and Don’ts
When it comes to delivering an epic maid of honor speech, there are a few must-dos and even more please don’ts. While these dos and don’ts may seem pretty obvious to most people, you’d be surprised at how many speeches are ruined by too little of the former and too many of the latter. To ensure that your maid of honor speech goes off without a hitch, we’ve put together a list of our top heck yeses and hell nos.
DO introduce yourself
Unless you’re somehow acquainted with every single family member and friend of the bride and groom, chances are that there will be many people attending the wedding who will have no idea who you are. To give some context as to why you’re the one delivering the maid of honor speech, take a minute to introduce yourself and talk about your relationship with the bride.
DON’T tell your life story
Seriously, don’t make this about you. The hundred-something people in the audience don’t care that you broke your arm when you were 7 or that you’re scared you’ll never meet the man of your dreams. The only thing they care about is the love between husband and wife, so stick to that. Any talk of yourself needs to be in relation to an experience or memory involving the bride and groom.
DO talk about the couple
Too many MOHs make the mistake of talking about the bride the entire time and fail to ever mention the groom or the two as a couple. We get it, you’re the maid of honor and you’re supposed to talk about your experiences with the bride… but that’s not all you need to cover. The sole reason you are delivering a maid of honor speech is in celebration of the new Mr. and Mrs., so make sure actually acknowledge the couple and their matrimony.
DON’T tell inside jokes
The problem with inside jokes is that only a select few are actually on the inside, leaving everyone else wondering what the hell you’re even talking about. So unless your goal is to make people feel excluded, we suggest ditching them altogether. Instead, give your stories the background and context needed to make your audience feel included enough to find your jokes funny.
DO be yourself
The bride asked you to be her maid of honor for a reason, so don’t do her a disservice by not being your true self. A genuinely great maid of honor speech is one that is spoken from the heart and in the words of the person delivering it. Which leads us to this…
DON’T copy off the internet
We repeat: speak from the heart!! Yes, it’s okay to use a nice quote or toast that you find online, but don’t copy and paste the entire speech. Not only is that extremely lazy, it’s totally messed up. If you can’t be bothered to take the time or make the effort to write a personal and heartfelt speech, you should consider stepping down as maid of honor.
…tell any extremely embarrassing stories about the bride or groom
…mention any exes or past romantic relationships
…say anything that about the wedding “finally” or “actually” happening
…ramble on without a clear ending (check out our 10 speech-ending toasts)
…even think about using the word “divorce”
…get drunk before delivering your speech
WHAT’S NEXT: How Long Should a Maid of Honor Speech Be?