maid of honor with bride

10 Helpful Maid of Honor Speech Ideas and Toast Tips

Oct 10, 2022
By Wedding Spot

Are you a little stuck writing your maid of honor speech? There are numerous advice forums and social media groups dedicated to tackling the task, but wading through a sea of information for a helpful tip or two isn’t very efficient. Whether you were just named maid of honor, are looking for ways to spice up a speech you’ve already written, or are racing to write your speech at the very last minute, we’ve got you covered. Our list of maid of honor speech ideas and toast tips was designed to guide you through the entire speech-writing process—from brainstorming to the big day.

General guidelines for writing your maid of honor speech:

Think before you speak
• Be mindful of foul language and inappropriate jokes. The bride’s mother or grandparents could be present, and they may not appreciate the saucy jokes about their daughter that you find funny.
• Tell a story about how you met the bride or a short, funny anecdote about a favorite memory.
• An important wedding speech tips everyone should know: Avoid talking about yourself too much. Remember that the purpose of the speech is to celebrate the newlyweds, not your relationship with the bride.

Watch your tone
• What you say in your maid of honor speech is important, but so is how you say it.
• Be sincere, kind, and aim for a healthy balance of sweet and funny.
• Cheeky jokes and sarcasm are good for a laugh or two, but guests will grow weary listening to a lengthy speech soaked in sarcasm.

Pay attention to speech length
• Wedding speeches should last 3-5 minutes, and ideally closer to three.
• Aim for a brief introduction of 30 seconds or less before spending 2-3 minutes on the main story line. Wrap up with your well wishes and toast in the final 30 seconds.

Discover 10 maid of honor speech ideas and tips for crafting the perfect toast

If your maid of honor duties include making a speech at the reception, this list can help!

1. Confirm the order of reception speeches.

While many wedding receptions include speeches made by members of the wedding party, it’s best not to assume. Some couples choose to keep their list of reception speakers short, especially if guests are sitting through a lengthy or eventful wedding ceremony. Confirm the wedding order of events with the soon-to-be newlyweds before brainstorming maid of honor speech ideas.

2. Establish which topics are off-limits.

Stay away from controversial, risqué, or provocative speech material unless you garnered permission from the married couple in advance. While you may find your maid of honor speech ideas hilarious, you could end up upsetting the couple, offending their family, or making the remainder of the reception very uncomfortable (at least for yourself).  Confirm which topics or stories are off-limits beforehand to avoid any upset.

Toast tip: Don’t talk about exes. Even if the bride doesn’t specifically request you to avoid exes, it’s best not to broach the topic at all.

3. Use a template to help plan.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to be “off-book” or have your speech memorized. Feel free to carry notes and refer to them during your speech, especially if you plan to have a few drinks prior to the reception. Staying sober ahead of speeches is recommended for those toasting. If you will be partaking with the wedding party prior to the reception, however, it’s a good idea to keep a template of your maid of honor speech on-hand.  

If you’re wondering how to write a maid of honor speech, start by outlining the main points of your speech. Use a template to brainstorm key story points, jokes, and specific quotes you want to incorporate in the speech.

Use this maid of honor speech template to get started.
I. Introduce yourself.
Say your name and how you know the bride/couple. Use this opportunity to thank the wedding hosts, remark on the ceremony, or mention the beautiful wedding venue.

If you’re from out of town, or don’t know a large portion of wedding guests, be sure to introduce yourself:

“Hello, I’m (Name). Although I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting many of you yet, I wanted to say how thrilled I am to be a part of (Bride)’s special day. We’ve known each other since kindergarten and have remained best friends ever since—even our many adventures kept us apart for long stretches of time. I’m thrilled to be here today as her maid of honor.”

II. Offer compliments.
Early in your speech, say something kind of clever about each of the newlyweds. When brainstorming, ask yourself:

• What makes the bride such a wonderful friend?
• What do you know and love about the groom?
• Which of their quirks make them so compatible?

III. Tell a story.
Tell a short 1–2-minute story or personal anecdote about the bride. Relay a sweet, nostalgic, or funny story, but don’t try to do too much. Tell a story that applies to the couple as well, not only your relationship with the bride.

IV. Close with well wishes and a toast.
Give the married couple well wishes in your closing remarks. Think about all the couple can accomplish in the future and your hopes for their life together. Toast to health, wealth, and all of the happiness in the world.

Let these popular wedding toasts inspire your closing:
“May your ‘for better or worse’ be far better than worse.”
"May your heart be light and happy. May your smile be big and wide. And may your pockets always have a coin or two inside."
"Here's to the bride, may she share everything with her husband, and that includes the housework.”

Your closing toast can be thoughtful, clever, quoted, or rhyming; the choice is yours.

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4. Let your relationship inspire you.

Is the bride a family member or friend? Have you known her since childhood, or did you meet in college? If she’s your sister, is she younger or older? Let your relationship to the bride inform your speech style and the content of your speech.

Have you found yourself filling the maid of honor role, but you don’t have a close relationship with the bride? Perhaps you’re the groom’s sister and have only met the bride once or twice before. If you find yourself in this position, try focusing on the couple’s hobbies and interests in your speech. Does the couple enjoy hiking, baking, fishing, completing puzzles, or watching Star Wars together? Center your speech around shared interests to help personalize your toast content, even if you don’t know the bride well.

Toast Tip: If you don’t have a close relationship to both of the newlyweds, avoid making personal jokes about the couple.

5. Choose an outstanding opener.

The opening line of any toast or speech sets the tone for what’s to come. Capture the attention of the audience with a great opening or hilarious one-liner. Many of the best opening lines have an unexpected twist that ads humor.

Check out these openers for inspiration:  
• “I’m so excited to be here today celebrating the wonder, beauty, and magic that this open bar has provided us all.”
• “What can I say about (Bride) that we don’t already know? She’s charming, funny, boisterous…buoyant…? I’m sorry, (Bride), I can’t read this line. What did you write?”
• “We’re here today to celebrate (married couple), laugh, dance, and share in their joy, but we have something else in common: We’re all terrified of what I’m going to say next.”

Don’t be afraid to roast the newlyweds or mock the wedding party a bit. Most wedding guests can appreciate a good joke, but do your best to read the room. If the crowd isn’t responding to your story well, wrap it up quickly. Offer a short, sweet toast and pass the mic.  

6. Tell a great story.

After opening jokes and introductions, focus on your relationship with the couple. Wedding guests can connect more easily with personal stories than they can an attempted stand-up set. Try building your speech around a central story instead of the jokes you’d like to tell.

• How did you meet the bride? Tell your origin story (fun pun for comic book and fantasy fans) or share a special story about your friendship.
• Think about what makes the couple’s relationship special or unique. Is there as story that perfectly captures their one-of-a-kind bond?

Toast Tip: Avoid clichés. Instead of saying, “The bride is such a great friend,” tell a story that demonstrates why she is.

7. Use personal anecdotes.

If you’re having trouble choosing a specific story for your speech, consider adding short anecdotes throughout instead. Brainstorm 5-6 related anecdotes before whittling that list down to 2-3 winners.  Pepper the best anecdotes throughout your speech.

Katelyn Peterson, founder of Wedding Words, gives this advice for peppering in anecdotes, “Each anecdote you share should have an underlying theme that ties all the short stories together… Reveal that theme near the end of your speech, and you’ll achieve a strong emotional impact."

Toast Tip: Start your speech talking about the bride and end it talking about the couple.

8. Write a song or rap.

Do you and the bride have a history of singing karaoke, Disney tunes, or love the theater? If so, consider spicing up your maid of honor speech with an impromptu performance like this pair of sisters did when they rewrote the lyrics to the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song. The sisters then performed their cover together as dual Maids of Honor, absolutely delighting the bride.

Toast Tip: If you have a lot to say, writing a song or rap may be the way!

While unique and entertaining, the sisters’ performance still told a story. Their rewrite connected the Maids of Honor to the couple personally, included jokes, mentioned the groom multiple times, and was still just over three minutes long.

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9. Rehearse.

Practice your speech. Repeat it out loud until you feel comfortable with the words, and they flow naturally.

Toast Tip: Does public make you nervous? Instead of looking wedding guests in the eye during your speech, try looking just above their heads instead!

If you want to test-run your toast, try recording yourself and playing it back to hear how it sounds. How was the tempo? Do you need to speed up or slow down? Listen for missed joke opportunities or throwaway lines that could be cut.

10. Prepare for unexpected emotions.

Don’t be surprised if you get emotional giving your maid of honor speech. You’re celebrating someone deeply important to you, sharing personal stories, and trying to put your love for the bride into words. Even if you don’t consider yourself an emotional person, you could find tears springing up anyway. Keep a handkerchief or cloth napkin on-hand, just in case.

Now you know how to knock your maid of honor speech out of the park!  

You’re ready to plan and give a funny, moving maid of honor speech that the entire wedding can enjoy.  Bookmark this article in your “wedding planning” or “MOH” tab for quick reference when working on your maid of honor speech ideas.

Next, we’re reviewing bridal party responsibilities to ensure no stone is left unturned on the bride’s big day!

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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.