Tips for Writing a Stellar Maid of Honor Speech
Written by: Rob Franklin
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been asked to serve as maid of honor at the wedding of a friend or family member. And make no mistake — they asked you because they value your voice and have no doubt you’ll knock it out of the park.
And you will (let’s make sure of it).
But for now, you may be staring at the blank page, wondering exactly where to start. It can be intimidating: writing a speech that eloquently sums up what might have been a years or decades long relationship, balancing your natural voice with the polish a maid of honor speech deserves.
So let’s start simple.
Your traditional role as Maid of Honor is to serve as the main “attendant” of the bride, or whichever partner chose you for this role. While your duties may extend to a number of activities, from dress selection to planning the bachelorette, your speech at the rehearsal dinner or reception is central. While the focus of this speech should be the bride, it should also show love and recognition to both partners and to the couple as a unit.
Your Checklist for Writing a Stellar Maid of Honor Speech:
- Include 2-3 stories in your speech that capture the essence of the bride or your friendship.
- Make sure your speech is appropriate by discussing "no-go's" with the bride beforehand.
- Acknowledge the bride's partner in your speech and speak about how the relationship has helped the bride grow.
- Offer a thematic takeaway, such as the importance of friendship or the strength of the couple's love.
- Be sure to practice
Provenance Tip: Check out our new, easy-to-use Toast Builder tool! It'll guide you through the writing process and swiftly help generate that first draft, without the stress.
Include 2 - 3 Stories in Your Maid of Honor Speech
Stories make wedding speeches. They are the raw material, the bricks with which you build the structure. Beyond that, they’re what distinguish one speech from the next. Most likely, the bride is a person you’ve known for years and about whom you could tell dozens of stories, so the question is: which should you pick?
We recommend beginning with a brainstorm, either with pen and paper or in the notes on your phone (or if you use our Toast Builder, you'll add them directly into the tool). When you think of the bride, what stories come to mind? Jot down a few notes for each — the vivid details, bits of dialogue, etc.
Now take a step back. When you examine your list, which of these stories feel like they best capture the bride’s essence, whatever makes her so unique in your mind.
Provenance Tip: Read more about selecting a great wedding speech story.
Make Sure Your Maid of Honor Speech is Appropriate
While identifying which stories to tell, you should pay careful attention to context and tone.
We’ve all seen a Maid of Honor who, often after one too many martinis, rambles on or cracks a joke but doesn’t stick the landing (example A). Before drafting, you should have a simple conversation with the bride to identify topics to steer clear of in your speech. Such diligence is particularly essential for the Best Man and Maid of Honor, as their speeches set the tone for those following — and because people may be less forgiving of indiscretions or flubs than they would be with the parents or officiant.
In thinking about tone, you should carefully consider your strengths. You were asked to serve this role because the bride values your particular voice, whether that’s hilarious or poetic and heartfelt. Be true to that, but also recognize that the point of this speech is not simply to amuse the audience, but to honor your friend and articulate what makes her so special.
Provenance Tip: Read more about having the “no-go” conversation and sense-checking your wedding speech jokes.
Your Speech Should Acknowledge the Partner
As maid of honor, it's important to not only focus on the bride in your speech, but also acknowledge her partner. Even if you're not close with the partner, you can speak about how the bride has changed and grown in their relationship. You can also offer advice, based on your knowledge of the bride's love language and needs for support. Above all, acknowledging the partner in your speech is a meaningful gesture that welcomes them into the bride's community.
A Great Maid of Honor Speech Offers a Thematic Takeaway
If the stories are the bricks, then these thematic takeaways are the mortar — what connects an otherwise disordered pile into something that stands on its own, and can be quite beautiful.
Meditate on what ties these stories together, beyond the characters: is there something particular about the way the bride exists in relationship to others, how she cares for them or expresses love? Is there something noteworthy and potentially affecting about her emotional development and arc?
Whatever it is, this theme should be used, structurally, as a “trope” to which you return — tying the stories together and leading your audience toward the takeaway or end note that sums up what you love about the bride.
Be Sure to Practice Your Maid of Honor Speech
Finally, practice your speech before the big day. This will help you feel more confident and comfortable, and allow you to make any necessary revisions or adjustments. And on the day of the wedding, remember to speak from the heart and enjoy the moment. With these tips, you’ll be able to deliver a meaningful, polished Maid of Honor speech that the couple will never forget.
To make sure you follow all of the above steps (while also not needing to remember them because they're built into the tool), check out Provenance's new Toast Builder.