Picture this: Your best friend in the entire world just asked you to be the maid of honor for her wedding! You couldn’t be more excited to help her pick out her dream dress, plan an unforgettable bachelorette party, and stand next to her on the most important day of her life. And then it hits you. Being the maid of honor means giving a wedding speech in front of potentially hundreds of people.
We get it—that’s a ton of pressure. Public speaking, in general, can be incredibly nerve-racking, not to mention the added pressure of wanting to make your friend feel loved, valued, and appreciated on her big day. The best way to handle those nerves? Preparation! Start writing your speech as early as possible, and then practice, practice, practice.
If you need some help putting together that perfect speech, you’re in the right place. Whether you’re the maid of honor or simply a loved one asked to say a few words, read on to find out exactly how to write a wedding speech everyone will remember. Follow this framework to ensure you’ll feel confident and prepared when the moment comes.
1. Start by introducing yourself
First things first: Let the audience know who you are and how you know the couple. This can be very straightforward, so don’t worry about adding humor or extra flair to this part. There’s plenty of time for that later! Simply share your name and your role in the wedding so guests know who’s speaking.
2. Tell a story about your friend
Next, dive into a few memories you share with the bride or groom—whomever you are standing up for. Keep these stories appropriate and family-friendly. Now is not the time to embarrass the newlyweds in front of their grandparents. Consider starting with a funny anecdote before moving into a heartwarming story. Then, try to tie them together as best as you can. These stories should have a purpose, meaning they should highlight something you love about the person you’re standing up for.
Here’s an example: When I first moved to town in 3rd grade, I didn’t know anyone. Rachel saw me sitting alone at the lunch table one day, sat down beside me, and introduced herself. She even shared her pudding with me. To this day, that’s the kind of person Rachel is: caring, generous, and kind. I can’t wait to see how she brings these qualities to her marriage.
You’re welcome to add in some funny one-liners where applicable. But, in my opinion, it’s best to keep things sweet and sentimental, especially for a maid-of-honor speech. Save the jokes and embarrassing stories for the best man.
3. Share an anecdote about the other person
Even though you’re likely standing up for just one half of the couple, it’s important to show your love and appreciation for both of them. This is a great time to talk about your first time meeting the other person and how you felt about their budding relationship. Then, weave in a story highlighting something you admire about them. Explain why you think this personal attribute will be important in their future together. Again, leave the embarrassing stories out—you want to express your approval of your best friend’s new spouse, not stir up ill will.
A great example would be a story about how the groom once bought your dinner when you were stood up on a double date you had planned together. Explain how much it meant for him to step up for you in a low moment and how you look forward to seeing him take care of your friend in the future.
4. Explain what you love about their relationship
Here is the part where you tie it all together. You’ve highlighted the qualities you love about each person, and now it’s time to share how their relationship has made a positive impact on your life or inspired you in some way.
They’re the reason everyone has gathered together in celebration today. Does their relationship inspire you to be a better partner in your own relationship? Does their goofy energy spark joy in everyone around them? Highlight exactly why you think these two people are meant to be together.
5. End by raising a glass
After all, a wedding speech is meant to be a toast, so don’t forget this part! One of the best ways to wrap things up is to share your hopes for the couple’s future. Depending on what you know about the couple’s personalities or future plans, this can be simple or specific. You could offer your best wishes for their plans to raise a family or travel the world together, or simply wish them love and happiness in their marriage. Invite the audience to raise a glass in celebration and say “cheers” to the newlyweds.
Other wedding speech tips to note:
Keep it short and sweet
The perfect wedding speech is around 3-5 minutes. You don’t want to drag on for 10 minutes and lose everyone’s interest. On the flip side, don’t speed through it, or people may not remember it afterward.
Leave embarrassing stories out
This is not the time to reminisce about drunken nights out or bring up unpleasant memories from previous relationships. While it’s OK to include some humor, it’s always best to share memories that everyone will look back on fondly.
Make it personal to the couple
Personalize your speech as much as possible. Avoid clichés where you can, and be specific in your sentiments. The audience should come away from your speech feeling like they know you and the couple a bit deeper.