Maid of Honor Speech: Where to Start

Being selected as a maid of honor in a friend or family member's wedding is a high prestige, but it can easily become a daunting task — especially when writing a speech for the reception. We asked several wedding industry experts for their best tips to ease your stress while creating a heartfelt tribute to the couple on their special day.

wedding toast
Photo: Niki Marie Photography

"These are emotional moments, and we have a lot of clients that worry about crying. Yet some of the best speeches are ones where some level of emotion comes through. This is where practicing becomes really important because once you've said the words a dozen or so times, you'll be insulated from completely falling apart, yet all the feelings will still be there in your voice." —Brian Franklin, Vows & Speeches

"If a maid of honor is overwhelmed with creating an engaging, emotional, heartfelt speech, they should start by selecting a favorite memory or story of the bride to share with the guests. A story is a seamless transition into honoring the couple and signifies emotion and connection. After telling a story, the maid of honor can pinpoint the bride's traits exemplified through the moment and focus on these qualities for the remainder of the speech. With this strategy, a homogenous, sincere speech that honors the couple will form." —Sarah Jobe, Twickenham House and Hall

"Talk about them individually and as a couple. You might be closer to one member of the couple getting married, but be sure not to make it awkward and only make your toast about that one person. Make an effort to include both [people in] the couple in your toast, and you can’t go wrong.” —Julianne Smith, The Garter Girl

“Be sure to acknowledge people in the room, including parents, step-parents, grandparents, etc. So many people contributed to the wedding, a little shout-out would make them feel great. Be aware of who you are talking to in your speech, and choose the right words to convey your love to your best friend." —Diane Kolanović-Šolaja, Dee Kay Events

"Practice using inflection. If the camera adds ten pounds, well, similarly, when giving a speech, we lose volume. It's really important to exaggerate your facial expressions and project your voice beyond what will feel comfortable. It's then that the audience will hear it just right! Remember to smile!" —Amber Anderson, Refine for Wedding Planners

"This is a time for loving humor but not for a roast. Funny moments add levity and emotion to a speech, but stay away from embarrassing stories or things that have no bearing on the relationship that is being celebrated!" —Cathy O'Connell, COJ Events

"You can crack jokes and be silly, but certain things do not need to be part of a maid of honor speech. Don’t be mean or rude in your jokes. Keep exes, mother-in-law drama, and any other private things just that — private. If you think or suspect that something in your toast may be offensive, it's best to err on the side of caution and take it out!" —Lilia Shatnaya, Plume and Stone Invitation Studio

"End on a high note and cheers. Your closing remarks are just as important as your opening ones, so make sure to end your speech on a high note. Summarize your message in a memorable way. Perhaps quoting a favorite song or poem. End with a heartfelt message of congratulations and well wishes for the bride and groom. Last but not least, invite the room to raise a glass and toast the couple." —Mary Angelini, Key Moment Films

"Take some time to truly consider if you want this on your phone or a piece of paper. When you are reading (or in some ways ad-libbing), you may want to have it in a format where you do less stumbling and fumbling when you lose your place. Also, consider having a backup version if you have written something! Email it to yourself, put it in phone notes, and print it out. This way, if you are too nervous about just 'winging it,' then you have the points, stories, and fun things right there in front of you." —Jen Sulak, Weirdo Weddings

From staying organized to knowing when enough is enough, these tips are all great reminders that can get you through this special event without feeling overwhelmed or unprepared. Don't forget to take time for yourself before the big day arrives so that you can be fully present on the wedding day. With these tips in mind, we wish you luck as you write an amazing maid of honor speech!

Weirdo Weddings