As maid of honor, your responsibilities may include assisting in planning the wedding ceremony itself, choosing the bridesmaids’ gown design, hosting or co-hosting the bachelorette party and the bridal shower, and, of course, giving the notorious maid of honor speech during the reception.
Oh, and in case you’ve forgotten, you are also going to give a maid of honor speech during the reception. How many times are you going to speak and give a toast as the maid of honor? You’ll do it only once unless you also have to do the same at her wedding rehearsal dinner. So, you have to make it incredible.
Here are a few tips for creating and delivering your maid of honor toast!
What You'll Learn...
- 1 1) Write out your maid of honor speech
- 2 2) Be conversational
- 3 3) Shorten your sentences
- 4 4) Choose the right anecdote for your maid of honor speech
- 5 5) Choose the right words
- 6 6) Empathize
- 7 7) Stick to the program
- 8 8) Be sincere
- 9 9) Be yourself
- 10 10) Rehearse your maid of honor speech
- 11 11) Choose the perfect wedding gift
- 12 Wrapping It Up
1) Write out your maid of honor speech
Begin writing or typing your draft at least three weeks in advance. It’s tempting to put it off since you only need to speak for about 1 ½ to 3 minutes.
Winging it is not an option regardless of whether you are an excellent public speaker or not. If you do speak off the cuff, you might blurt out something embarrassing to the crowd and to the newlyweds.
Do you always have your smartphone at your fingertips? You never know when inspiration will hit you. When it does, type or record on your phone what suddenly occurs to you. If you don’t, you’re bound to forget what could have been the perfect thing to say during your toast.
2) Be conversational
Don’t despair if giving speeches is not exactly your cup of tea. It helps if you imagine yourself having a conversation with your friends and not to a roomful of formally attired strangers.
True, a speech is not a conversation, but you’re not delivering the State of the Union Address. You’re going to talk about your personal feelings and experiences. The best way to express these is by employing a conversational tone that will help you connect with your audience on an emotional level.
3) Shorten your sentences
Write whatever you’re going to share in the shortest way possible. You can introduce yourself and state your relationship to the bride or couple in one sentence.
We’re not telling you to be dull, but your maid of honor speech can be moving and entertaining with fewer words. That’s why writing or typing your draft will make it easier for you to edit later. Also, short sentences are easier for you to remember when you give your speech.
4) Choose the right anecdote for your maid of honor speech
If you want to share a story or stories, thoroughly search your library of memories. Don’t pick one that immediately comes to mind. If you’ve known your best friend since childhood, we’re talking about a lot of memories and a lot of stories to tell. But, not all of them are appropriate for sharing at a wedding reception.
Your anecdote should focus on the best qualities of the bride. In your speech, explain how she became your best friend and why your bond continues to the present day. Insert funny moments, but don’t overdo it.
Don’t be afraid if your story is turning out to be nostalgic and sentimental. Let her know you love her, and you’ll always be there for her. And, thank her for choosing you to be her maid of honor.
You also need to talk about the groom. You surely heard of him first when your best friend described him to you after their first meeting. Write down when and how you met him. What were your first impressions?
On the other hand, you might have met him first and introduced him to your best friend. If you did, explain why you thought they are a good match. Regardless, part of your speech should tell your audience why you think he is the right man for your best friend.
Now comes the part where you will talk about them as a couple. Try to think of an event or a defining moment when you suddenly got the feeling they would end up getting married one day. It could be something as simple as seeing them at a supermarket, sharing a cart and bickering while buying groceries, as husbands and wives often do.
5) Choose the right words
Use words that are part of your normal everyday vocabulary when writing or typing your speech. Hey, it’s okay if you usually say “elucidate” instead of” explain” or “gregarious” instead of “friendly.”
What’s not okay is trying to impress others by using big words that make you sound “unnatural.” People who know you, including your best friend, will immediately notice and catch on what you’re trying to do.
On the other hand, it’s wise to search for a word’s synonym that could better express your thought or feeling. Sometimes, the right word is at the tip of your tongue. Or, you are using words repetitively that you could substitute with other alternatives. In such instances, there is nothing wrong with seeking help from a thesaurus.
Figuring out what you’re going to say requires careful thought and good judgment. Just because your toast sounds right to you doesn’t necessarily mean it’s appropriate for the reception.
Place yourself in the shoes of the bride, the groom, and all the guests. Ask yourself, “Will they like what they’ll hear?” “Will my best friend be glad she chose me to be her maid of honor, or will she regret she asked me?”
7) Stick to the program
There are three parts of your toast – the introduction, main content, and end. You end with raising your glass and asking everyone to join you in wishing the newlyweds health, happiness, and more.
You’re free to express your ideas and feelings. But, a wedding reception is not the venue to push your own beliefs that have the potential to offend your audience and your best friend. Don’t use the occasion to advance your agenda.
You are not there either to preach to the couple. You can give the newlyweds some advice but make it light and funny if you can.
8) Be sincere
When you review your maid of honor speech, ask yourself if it was as sincere and truthful as you could make it? Did you mean everything you wrote down? Is it you speaking and not some persona you’ve created to impress others? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself after you’ve completed your first draft.
Also, to please your best friend, you might have exaggerated too much. Believe me, she’s not going to appreciate it! Her family and friends won’t either. Don’t call her a great chef if she’s culinary-challenged. Get rid of those embellishments.
9) Be yourself
It’s the subtle message in most of the tips above. I’m sure you already knew that, but it doesn’t hurt to remind you. Your best friend loves you for who you are, and despite your flaws, she chose you to be her maid of honor. So, she expects a toast from her best friend, and that means one thing – be yourself.
10) Rehearse your maid of honor speech
Practice your toast aloud! Do your words roll off your tongue? Do you feel happiness and excitement? If your answer is a “yes” to both, you’re more than halfway there. On the other hand, if the opposite is true, review your draft. Read it slowly and check what’s not right.
Are you fond of taking videos of yourself? Now is an excellent time to put that skill to good use and take advantage of the extra features of your smartphone. Take a video of yourself while practicing.
It’s better than speaking in front of a mirror, which can be distracting.
Mount your smartphone and record at a distance where you think your audience will be. Doing so will give you a better idea of how you will be seen during your speech.
Review your video. Is your body language or facial expression in sync with what you are saying? Are you speaking monotonously or with emotion? Lastly, are you smiling during your speech?
Find out what you like and dislike about your performance. Make changes to your content and delivery until you’re sure you’ll be making an excellent toast.
11) Choose the perfect wedding gift
You might have already bought a wedding present for your best friend. But, has it ever occurred to you that being a great maid of honor is the best gift you can give. And, making an incredible speech is the perfect icing on the cake!
Wrapping It Up
So, are you ready to put pen to paper? Keep in mind all these tips you’ve just read. It’s not just a speech. It’s your expression of love for your best friend. So take what you’ve learned here today, and give the best maid of honor speech in the world!
Here are some additional tips for giving the perfect speech that I think will help you on your way!