10 Maid of Honor Speech Ideas & Tips to Help you Give a Killer Toast

Knock your maid of honor speech out of the park with these tips!

Updated 06/19/17
Photo by Giuseppe Marano

Gearing up to give a maid of honor speech? Sisters and BFFs, you can make it funny and sweet by following these 10 tips. Here's a quick guide to delivering an absolutely unforgettable maid of honor toast!

10 Maid of Honor Speech Tips

1. Ditch Generic Praise

Too often maid of honor speeches devolve into a series of platitudes: "She's the best!" "She's so pretty!" "She's so funny!" While all of this might be true, this kind of generic praise doesn't have any heart. Use the toast as your moment to bring the bride to life. So, use stories to back up exactly how the bride embodies all of these qualities. This leads us to the next tip...

2. Become an Awesome Story Teller

There's a reason stories are passed down from generation to generation: they resonate. We don't remember numbers. Or platitudes. Or generic advice. But stories? They stick with us. They breathe life into the bride and the groom, and do a better job of getting your point across than making a blanket statement.

There's a big difference between simply saying: "Sarah is such a great friend! She'd do anything for me!" vs. really telling a story. Instead, try something like: "When we were freshmen in college—thousands of miles apart and penniless—I had just been dumped by a boyfriend. I was devastated and spent my days crying. Sarah got a loan from the family she babysat for so she could come and visit me. She spent four days sleeping on my dorm room floor, reminding me of how much better off I would be, but that it would take time to get there."

3. Remember: This Isn't About You

While a lot of the stories you tell should be about your time with the bride, you should not be the focal point. There's nothing worse than a speaker who goes on and on about herself! You hear about her parents, her ideas for the future, how she overcame adversity and then finally—finally!—she mentions the bride. This isn't your moment. You're simply the vehicle to explain why the newlyweds are so fantastic. Only bring yourself into the mix as necessary, and instead focus on the couple of the hour.

4. Do Not Mention Exes

You have a treasure trove of stories about your best friend's dating life. The guy (or girl) who claimed he was an attorney, when in fact he was just taking the LSAT. The guy who insisted he be called "El Jefe" whenever they got intimate. The guy with extreme mommy issues. There's no doubt that these tales are hysterical, but they're also embarrassing. No one wants to be reminded of their dating failures, particularly in front of their families, friends, and new life partner. So, as tempting as it is, save the ex-talk for your next girls' night.

5. Start with the Bride, End with the Couple

You're likely giving a speech because you've been extremely close to the bride for a long time. Of everyone at the wedding, you have the best insight of how much their partner has changed your friend for the better. Your speech needs to be about the friend you knew long before she met her partner, and then pivot to what role the they have played in your friend's life. Maybe she's even funnier now thanks to her new partner's sense of humor, or perhaps their support has empowered her to take risks in new ways. Maybe you've simply never seen her so happy and content.

6. Keep It Short

The longer your speech, the more opportunities you'll have for people to start losing attention and missing your jokes. Start the speech off on a funny note and you'll capture the attention of the audience for a minute or two.

7. Pause After Delivering a Joke

Whenever you say a joke, be sure to pause for a few seconds afterward to let the audience laugh. When you tell a joke and then immediately start speaking right afterward, you won't give people a chance to laugh or even understand what you're about to say next.

8. Don't Use Inside Jokes

You and the bride may have shared some incredibly funny moments that still make you laugh out loud to this day. If the joke or the situation is something other wedding guests would have to be there to understand, avoid using it in your speech. If people don't understand the context behind a situation or a joke, it will go over their heads.

9. Poke a Little Fun

It's okay to make a little bit of fun of the bride, maybe for her childhood taste in movies or music, but keep it light. Don't say anything that would embarrass her or make her feel uncomfortable.

Leave out any R-rated embarrassing anecdotes about the bride being intoxicated during spring break or anything else that can make her look like a hot mess.

10. Practice Reading Your Maid of Honor Speech

The more times you practice your speech before the wedding day, the better it will sound when you read it for real. Practice your speech twice a day and record yourself a couple of times so you can hear your pacing and your tone. The more times you do this, the easier it will be when you do it in person. You'll feel confident because you'll have practically committed the words to memory. Rehearse the speech in front of friends, too, in order to see if your jokes get a laugh.

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