So the time has come, and you’re getting ready to write your maid of honor speech! We get it. You’ve been mentally writing your toast since the day you and your BFF met in second grade, or since you became roommates in college, or since she was the only person at your new job who welcomed you. Or you have more to say than you can possibly boil down into one maid of honor speech because this is your sister. She’s been with you through thick and thin.
When the time comes to write something that feels so darn special, it’s easy to find yourself with more questions than answers. Just how many inside jokes can you include? (Not that many.) How long should your toast be? (Not that long.) What should the maid of honor speech say? (We’ve got a formula for you.) How should you end the maid of honor toast? (Go out strong.) We get how overwhelming it can be, and we are here to turn all of that love into the perfect three-minute speech, that will bring down the house.
How do you write a wedding speech? Let’s break it down: In its simplest form, the maid of honor speech is one to four minutes wherein you will wax poetic about how much you love this person, how you can’t believe that she and her partner found each other because they are so perfect together, and how you can’t wait to see what kind of life they will build together. You’ll throw in a few anecdotes (tales from summer camp or college, erring on the side of caution and eschewing details that no one except the two of you needs to know). You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll toast the couple, and it will be brilliant. But if any part of you is worried about how that might come together, We’ve got some very specific tips on how to write the perfect maid of honor toast:
How To Write A Maid Of Honor Speech
the Step-by-step process
- Start early. Don’t leave writing your Maid of Honor toast for the night before, or even that week. You’ll be busy supporting your friend and I promise it’ll feel less stressful if you get ahead of it.
- Brainstorm. Before you start writing, maybe even weeks before, do some brainstorming. Have a note started on your phone from the moment you know you’ll have a speech to write, spend an evening going through old photos, do whatever it takes to help yourself remember some old stories and anecdotes that will help you make your speech that much more personal.
- Write drunk, edit sober. Or, write fast, edit slow. Just know that your first draft isn’t the end-all. You’ll undoubtedly have a hard time deciding which story to tell, maybe you’ll include a few too many jokes or loving jabs… either way, give yourself the time and space to really edit. And ask a friend for feedback, too.
- Cut it down. Take Raymond Carver’s advice: “Get in, get out. Don’t linger. Go on.” It can sometimes be so much easier to write or say a lot of words, but narrowing it down to the core feelings and message are what will make it powerful.
- Practice, practice, practice. Please don’t let the day of the wedding be the first time you read your toast out loud. Thank me later.
Download our “how to write a maid of honor speech” workbook:
How long should the maid of honor speech be?
You should set a goal of two to three minutes for your Maid of Honor toast. Can it be a bit longer? Sure. But avoid surpassing five minutes. Katelyn Peterson, a wedding speech and vow writer from Wedding Words, gives the following advice, “Written, your speech should be 300 – 700 words. This comes out to roughly 2 – 5 minutes. Any longer and you’ll lose impact while guests lose interest. Plus, there’s nothing that needs to be said in 10 minutes that you can’t say in 5 minutes. Brevity is key to making a positive impact through your speech.”
What should the maid of honor speech say?
Katelyn Peterson has this great thought on what you should include in your toast: “Great speeches include great storytelling. What does every story have? A relatable character, a compelling event, and an internal shift.”
Her example: Tell the story about that time the bride (relatable character) helped you break into your own apartment after you locked yourself out (compelling event) and you ended up laughing so hard, you weren’t upset anymore because she made a challenging moment fun (internal shift).
This story also SHOWS something about the bride (which every story should accomplish in a MOH speech). She has the ability to take stressful situations and make them fun. This is your theme. Now come up with two more short stories that SHOW this theme in action using these same storytelling elements.
How should you end the maid of honor speech?
While it’s a speech, it is also meant to be a toast. So, consider ending your time at the mic with a clear closing remark, and asking folks to raise their glasses and toast to the couple. Katelyn also suggests that you “close with a callback. Callbacks are instant crowd-pleasers.” So if you can circle back to one of your stories or anecdotes in your closing toast, you will really win at this whole maid of honor thing.
Photo by Leah and Mark & Co.
Tips For Writing Your Toast
- Get personal. Obviously, this is not the time to use every awful person your friend has dated as evidence for how excellent her chosen life-mate is, but it is the time to share a few personal stories. You’ll want to talk about how happy you are for the couple, how much as you knew your BFF was your BFF the second she traded shoelaces with you, you knew that her chosen partner was perfection when they showed up to her house wearing bacon-themed socks. After that, wrap it up nicely and sweetly, toast the couple, and have a seat.
- Don’t worry about the Best Man. Best men have a rep for sometimes being uncool during their speeches (let’s avoid that). And if you’re worried, just ignore whatever the best man might get up to, and do you. You don’t have to bring out the waterworks as a counterpoint to a counterpoint to potentially awkward jokes if that’s not your style. If you want to be funny, be funny! Steal the best man’s thunder. It’s fine.
- Don’t turn it into stand-up. That said, your toast is not the time to try out your future career as a stand-up comedian (unless you literally are a stand-up comedian, in which case, you’ve got this). No one is expecting Maya Angelou to suddenly appear and speak through you, but they probably are expecting something heartfelt and sincere. So really consider the speech and take it seriously, even if humor is your vehicle of delivery.
- Consider your audience. If you were writing this maid of honor toast for the bachelorette party, I’d say, ‘go wild.’ You’re not though. There will be your friend’s new in-laws, grandparents, and siblings around… so keep it appropriate and, ideally, not at all embarrassing. (Hot tip: Avoid talking about exes.)
- Don’t wait too long to start writing. Try to start writing your speech the month before the wedding so that you can practice on a friend (not the one who is getting married) or partner, and adjust as needed.
Photo by Vivian Chen
Just about everyone gets the jitters when they’re in front of a large group and have to speak—it’s fine! If you’re super freaked out, just use the formula:
A Made of Honor Speech Template
- Part 1: Introduction, Congratulations, & “I love you both so much.”
- Part 2: A lovely anecdote about the couple’s relationship and how awesome they are. (Try to stay away from something about just one of them, but about them as a couple. Talking about primarily one person within the context of their relationship and their love can be lovely, too, if that’s your relationship to the couple.) This should be the bulk of your speech.
- Part 3: I hope you are always as happy, joyous, and in love as that moment. OR This proves how madly in love you two are. May you continue to be an inspiration to us all. Etc.
- Part 4: (Actually make the toast.) Everyone drinks!
Photo by Betty Clicker
maid of honor speech EXAMPLEs
Here’s a sample maid of honor toast that follows the formula perfectly:
Haley and Rachel,
I love you both so much. Haley, not only for you being one of my best friends, but for being there for me when being my friend didn’t just involve late night Wal-Mart runs and hours of watching ’80s movies. We’ve grown up together and I am so very grateful that we did not grow apart. And Rachel, I love you, too, for not only being such an incredible partner for my Haley, but for being a great friend to me also. I know you didn’t expect that dating Haley would include helping her flaky friend after she locked her keys in the car three times in one month, but you are a doll for doing so with a smile and only laughing at me a little.
However, what I love most about the two of you is how you are together. I’ve never seen two people that fit so well in each other’s lives; it’s hard to imagine a time when you weren’t “Haley and Rachel.” It may seem to some like you two were just meant to be and that fate put you together, but I think to look at it that way diminishes how amazing your relationship really is.
Having been there from the beginning, I know that what appeared to be seamless was the effort of two people who truly loved one another and were determined to make their relationship work. They didn’t just magically fit into each other’s lives; they rearranged their lives to make room. They changed priorities, made time for one another and learned to love each other’s little quirks… like Rachel’s not-so-secret love of R&B vocalists.
But nothing shows this as much as Haley, Rachel, and the hockey debacle. You see, when they started dating, Rachel noticed that Haley had a framed Gretsky jersey in her living room. And, deciding to play it cool, Rachel started asking Haley if she wanted to go to local hockey games and watching the latest game on TV just so she’d have something to talk about to Haley the next time they chatted. Haley, oblivious to all of this, thought Rachel really liked hockey so she enlisted my brother to teach her more about the game. Because, you see, Haley never watched hockey. The jersey belonged to her Uncle Mike, and Aunt Laura gave it to her as a reminder of him after he passed away. Meanwhile, both my brother and Rachel are pretending to know more about hockey than they actually do and were starring in their own sports-themed comedy of errors.
Eventually, they figured it out… and by eventually I mean seven months later. However, once these two worked on their communication skills, they had a new favorite hobby to do together… and further proof that Uncle Mike really is watching over Haley. AND, he’s bound and determined that she marry a hockey lover!
And it only goes to show not only how goofy these two are for each other, but how much they truly are committed to being in each other’s lives. Your love makes us smile, makes us tear up with joy and makes us believe in the kind of love cynics would make you feel is impossible. Thank you for being an inspiration and my friends.
To Haley and Rachel! (everybody drinks)
Photo by Vivian Chen
Here’s another great example. There’s a reason this YouTube video has over a million views. The speaker in this video follows a pretty simple maid of honor toast template, one that might help you.
- “Good evening, everyone.”
- Short joke or anecdote from the day.
- A bit about how you know the couple. (Katelyn from Wedding Words suggests that you “don’t add fluff to your intro. “For those of you who don’t know me…” is an unnecessary line. Instead, jump right in by simply stating your name, role, and relationship to the couple.”
- Storytime. This might be one long story or a few short stories. Tell about the couple’s love story, about when you met the partner or when you knew this was going to be your friend or sister’s spouse. Throw in a few small laughs.
- Offer advice or well-wishes for the couple’s future.
- “I love you.”
One more heartfelt example. Her outline is similar, do we see a pattern?
- Hello / introduction (if you’re going to make it funny, make yourself the ‘butt of the joke.’)
- Storytime. The maid of honor stretched her story out to create the entire speech while peppering in mini-stories about different times she and her family spent time with the groom. She got some good laughs without any embarrassment to the couple.
- She didn’t feel like she had advice to give, so she offered “Three things I know,” where she highlighted different wonderful things about the couple’s love.
- She did a call back to the beginning of her story.
- A toast.
Download our “how to write a maid of honor speech” workbook:
Have you ever written or heard a truly great maid of honor toast? What works—and what doesn’t?