Tag Archives: maid of honor speech tips

Help! I’m a Maid of Honor Who Hates Public Speaking!

Your best friend is getting married. You’re her maid of honor. It’s all great. You’re ecstatic. Except for one little problem: You HATE public speaking. You’re petrified about giving that toast at the reception. You haven’t spoken publicly since that incident in history class senior year and no one wants a repeat of how that went. Well girl, it’s time to face your fear. Giving a toast at the reception is part of your responsibility as a maid of honor. And you CAN do it.

Tips and Advice for the Maid of Honor with Stage Fright. You CAN do it!First of all, preparation is your friend. You may be tempted to wing it, because this allows you to put off thinking about the speech, and thus experiencing some of the stress, until the last minute. Resist this temptation. Having a prepared speech will not only help your nerves, it will also help you deliver a speech you can be proud of.

Stuck on what to write about? Take a look at these speech writing prompts and my advice for how to get started with writing. The good news? I’ve already got your first sentence written for you. Start with “For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Caitlin and I’m the bride’s sister/best friend/sorority sister/former roommate.” This may sound like a boring opening, but unless you know every single person at this wedding, it’s important to mention who you are and your relationship to the bride.

One way to approach the speech is to think of it as writing a personal letter to your best friend, telling her why you are happy for her on her wedding day. But remember to factor the groom into your speech. It can be tempting to tell all your favorite stories about you and bride—how you met, the club you started in middle school, that road trip you took in college, that one crazy night in college. But remember that this speech is about the bride and the groom. Talk a little about yourself and the bride, but make sure her man gets mentioned too.

If you want to incorporate a poem, song lyrics or a religious verse that you think will be meaningful to the couple, that’s totally fine. This can be a good option for those who hate public speaking, since it’s often easier to present words that someone else has written rather than your own thoughts. Just don’t let that be your entire speech. It’s important to include some personal remarks about the bride. She chose you to be her maid of honor because of your special connection. Use the poem or verse as the middle of your speech and bookend it with a personal introduction and explanation of why you think this verse will be meaningful to the bride. Then finish with remarks on why you think the couple will be a great match, your favorite story from their courtship or your well wishes for their happiness together.

Forget trying to memorize your speech. You’re already nervous, and there’s absolutely no reason to add another hurdle for yourself. It is perfectly acceptable to read your speech from a printout. Keep it to one typed page. You really do not have to talk for that long. Two or three minutes is completely fine. Double space your speech and set the font size to 12 or 13 (or even 14). You want it to be super-readable and easy to follow.

Now practice reading it. Out loud. Over and over and over again. The first time you read it, you aren’t going to be able to look up. But when you actually give the speech, you’re going to want to take a few pauses to look up at your audience. Practice looking up and smiling. You’re happy, remember? If you have to write in cues for yourself, like in a script, go right ahead. Like this: [Pause, look at Amber, smile.]

You’ve heard this before and you’re going to hear it again. Don’t just read the speech to yourself. Recruit a listener. They aren’t there to give you advice, they are there to be your crowd stand-in. They are helping you get used to saying your speech in front of other people. Pick someone who you are very comfortable with. You can even ask them to read the speech to you! Hearing how they read it may help you with your own delivery.

When you get to the reception, resist the urge to indulge in liquid courage. A drink is fine (depending on your tolerance, of course), but don’t overdo it. Liquor really won’t be your friend once you get handed the mike, and an earnest if jittery speech is going to be much more appreciated than a slurred, boozy one.

When it’s time to read the speech, hold your printout away from your face. If you have a podium to work with, set the paper down (this is when your large font size comes in handy). If not, keep your elbow at your side to achieve the right height. You want the guests to be able to see your face while you’re reading.

Keep yourself slightly turned toward the bride and groom while you’re speaking. You don’t want to turn your back on the other guests, but focusing on your best friend and looking at her may help your nerves a bit. Here’s a little trick for you: If you wear glasses or contacts, take them out/off during your speech. Not being able to see the eyes of those watching you can really help  relieve that feeling of being watched. You’ll feel a bit safer in your own private sight bubble.

Finally, end your speech by raising a glass and toasting the couple. It’s the guests’ signal that your toast is over and it’s time to take a drink! Then give the bride a hug and enjoy the rest of your night. You did it!

Maid of Honor Speech Writing Prompts

Maid of Honor Speech Writing Tips and Prompts

This post could probably be entitled “creative writing tips” because that’s really what writing a speech is all about—with the caveat that whatever you write needs to sounds natural when spoken aloud. Since getting started is usually the hardest part, I’ve compiled a list of maid of honor speech writing prompts that will help you organize your thoughts about the bride and groom and focus your speech. I’ve also written on how to format your speech and some maid of honor speech do’s and don’ts, if you’re looking for more info.

To start writing a speech, I am a firm advocate of just vomiting out whatever enters your mind (from your fingers, not your mouth). Other people would call this “stream of consciousness” or “spontaneous writing,” but “word vomiting” is just as apt. The whole idea is to not worry about choosing the right word or turn of phrase. You want to focus on ideas rather than word choice. Organization and finesse can come later. What you need to start are the broad strokes. Sometimes I don’t even write full sentences. I just jot down phrases or words that enter my head. I skip around. I leave my thoughts unfinished. I just get something out there. Don’t worry if what you’re writing doesn’t make sense. Let yourself go.

Once you have all those words down, read over what you’ve written. What has potential to be expanded? What catches your attention? Do you see some of the same words and ideas coming up again and again? Sometimes getting out your thoughts shows you the shape of what you want to say. To give you a really good example, when I started writing this post I thought it would be a step-by-step guide to writing a maid of honor speech. But as I was word vomiting (don’t worry, I feel fine now), I realized that I was focusing a lot on the barriers that keep us from starting to write a speech and how we can overcome them. So I modified my idea, organized my thoughts and turned this post into what you see today.

Still struggling? Here are a few tiny tricks I use to help with my writing process and some general advice on maid of honor speeches in particular.

1. If you get stuck on a word, or find yourself slowing up as you grasp for a particular concept, just type “TK” and move on. TK is a editing term that means “to come” (don’t ask about the K instead of a C, I don’t know). TK is really useful because it frees you to keep writing, but you know you need to come back later and find that perfect word.

2. Sometimes your brain needs a warm-up. If I’m struggling with writing, I like to tackle a simple task or mental problem. I feel like it gets my brain organized and ready to think without all the creative frustration that can come from writing. So for example, I might work on putting together a shopping list or read a blog post by a writer I admire. Endless scrolling on Instagram or catching up on Real Housewives won’t encourage your mind to be active. Quite the opposite—those activities are like pause buttons for your brain waves.

3. Resist the urge to use or modify a canned speech from the internet. Resist, resist, resist! 95% of the ones I have read are horrible—like truly cringe-inducing. The number one thing you speech should be is personal and there is no way you’ll get that from a template.

And here are your writing prompts. Use these to get you started. Hopefully these ideas will help you find the nugget of a story or idea that will lead to the perfect speech.

Maid of Honor Speech Writing Prompts

What words best describe the bride?

What words best describe the groom?

What words best describe their relationship?

How did you meet the bride?

How did the bride and groom meet?

What did they do on their first date?

What did you think of the groom when you first met him?

What’s your favorite story about the couple?

What do you admire about their relationship?

How did the groom propose?

What are some of the highlights or milestones of their relationship?

What were some of the challenges they faced in their relationship?

What’s your favorite story to tell about the bride?

Is there a story that epitomizes the bride?

Is there a story that epitomizes their relationship?

What hobbies and interests, like and dislikes do the couple share? How has that enhanced their relationship?

What hobbies or interests, likes or dislikes do they differ on? Has that led to any funny stories?

Have they tried to introduce their spouse to something new? Has it succeeded or failed (hopefully in spectacular fashion)?

Tips for writing your maid of honor speech, with lots of writing prompts to get the ideas flowing


Photograph by Christa Nicole Photography.