The Maid of Honor Speech: Do’s and Don’ts

Last week we went over the basic format for a maid of honor toast and some ideas and inspiration. This week, we’ll go through some all-important do’s and don’ts.

Do bring a glass up with you. After all, you are giving a toast, so you need a glass of something to toast with!

Don’t share stories you wouldn’t want to tell the bride’s grandmother. There’s always a temptation to share your most outrageous story about the bride. But if that story involves drugs, alcohol or sex, or any mixture of the three, fight the urge!! This most often happens with best man speeches, but I’ve seen it go down with maid of honor speeches too. The bride is mortified and it will not bring in the laughs you expected—trust me.

Do bring the speech back to the couple. Since you’ve been chosen as the maid of honor, chances are most of your memories revolve around the bride. It can be tempting to focus on her too much or to tell lots of stories about the two of you. But remember where you are and why you’re all there. It’s ok for your speech to be a bit bride-centric or to include one or two stories about your friendship. After all, you’re her best friend, sister or both! But make sure you bring the groom into the toast.

Don’t use inside jokes. Nothing is more annoying than a speech that’s unintelligible to 90 percent of the audience.

Do moderate your drinking before toast time. One or two drinks is fine (depending on your tolerance of course), but cut yourself off after that. A maid of honor slurring her speech, going off on a drunken tangent, adding inappropriate comments or (yes, this seriously happens) vomiting from a combination of nerves and alcohol is an instant party-downer.

Don’t mention: divorce, your astonishment that the couple is “finally getting married” or “actually made it down the aisle,” your relief that the wedding is over, the word “bridezilla,” or your own inability to find a man. Just don’t.

Do keep it positive! Cynicism or sarcasm don’t look that great at a wedding. It’s a happy day, so keep things light and hopeful. This is especially important if you’re going for funny. If your humor tends to be black, this probably isn’t the right setting.

Don’t do something crazy just to be unique. The following falls into this category: rapping, singing, dancing, playing musical instruments. Is this really about the couple? So before you write that rap (please don’t, but if you must), ask yourself two questions. Will the couple like this? Is it a tribute to them or just a performance opportunity for me? If you find your intentions pure of heart, God speed. One caveat: If you are a professional singer or musician, the rules change a little. You do this for a living, so it’s totally great to showcase your talent. OR, are the bride or groom professional musicians or singers? Now this has meaning for them and it can be funny. But I honestly think this type of toast works in 5 percent of weddings, max.

Do practice—out loud! Say your speech from start to finish by yourself first. Practice the rhythm and get comfortable with your transitions. Even if you’re planning to read the speech rather than memorize it, you need to hear how it sounds out loud! Then, recruit a friend to listen so you’ll feel comfortable the day of.

Questions or great toast ideas of your own? Please share your success stories! Email me at!

4 thoughts on “The Maid of Honor Speech: Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Melissa

    I have been friends with the bride for 18 years. I don’t know the groom very well and have only been around him a couple of times. We live three hours away and life prevents us from gettting together. How would you suggest incoporating him into my speech?

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