So you’ve been graced with the honor and responsibility that comes with the title of maid of honor (MOH) for a friend’s upcoming nuptials: congratulations! You’re bound to experience similar joys and challenges as the bride herself. You are there to support and assist her during this process, which can mean some extra stress on your part. On top of the dress fittings, cake tastings, and seating chart organization parties, you may also be asked to make a toast to the newlyweds during their reception – a daunting task for most people. If you’ve sat down to write it out and haven’t known where to begin, start here!
We’ve gathered our bridal knowledge and come up with a list of the “dos” and “don’ts” of delivering a fantastic MOH speech that’ll entertain guests and honor the newlyweds.
- DO make an outline. We agree that it’s reminiscent of your days as a high school student, but it’s one of the best ways to organize your thoughts and ideas. You probably have a few points you’d like to touch on: a story or two, a specific quote, etc. We encourage you to jot these things down before you start penning the speech itself. In fact, we recommend you take these notes down a few days or weeks before you begin a draft. More than likely, you’ll accumulate other topics whilst going about your everyday life. Make a note entitled “MOH Speech” on your phone and be prepared to type out inspiration as it comes.
- DON’T wait until the last minute to start. You may work better under a fast-approaching deadline, but last-minute emotion should really be left to the couple tying the knot (perhaps in a heart-filled wedding day note). Consider this task a “work in progress;” it’s not something you’re going to want to write all in one sitting, so start a few weeks before the wedding and be sure to finish before the rehearsal dinner!
- DO get inspired. This may involve calling or getting together with the bride – given she’s not too busy planning – and reminiscing about your college years, your vacation in Hawaii, or other fun memories you both share. Read through school yearbooks, watch videos from her sweet sixteen, or visit old hot spots to spark ideas and fun anecdotes that you may want to include.
- DON’T leave the groom out. Every MOH has a different relationship with the bride’s new husband, and even if you two aren’t very close, he deserves a little more than a simple “Keith is very lucky to have Allison” – though he is very lucky to have her. If you don’t know him as well, don’t be afraid to ask the bride for some suggestions – another reason to start writing your toast early!
- DO write with your own style. For the bride, the best part about this speech is that fact that you’re giving it. She chose you as her MOH for a reason. Trust us: she, the groom, and the other attendees are excited to hear about the couple in your own words. People may advise against using clichés, but if you or the bride frequently use phrases like “meant to be,” feel free to pepper in a few. Don’t pull too many topics from online or use another MOH’s toast word for word for fear of being left to your own devices; write from the heart with the “lovebirds” in mind and it’ll turn out wonderfully.
- DON’T ramble on. Affectionate tangents are lovely – just not in this particular instance. Stick to the script, and keep said script relatively short. Keep in mind that you’re likely not the only one that will be toasting the couple: the best man and select family members might also speak. Dragging out your own sentiments takes the focus off of the bride and groom and onto thoughts such as “this has been going on for twenty minutes – when are we going to get cake?”
- DO make it personal & appropriate. This seems like an obvious point, but the notion of an impending public speaking engagement can scramble the minds of some. We’re sure the bride is looking forward to hearing funny stories and memories you both share, so be sure to deliver! However, remember your audience: we’d recommend staying away from the kinds of stories that may be better suited for a bachelorette party. Keep things wedding appropriate and lighthearted!
- DON’T overdo it on Champagne. It’s smart to calm your nerves with a few sips of your drink, but nothing is more disappointing than a clearly inebriated MOH trying to collect her thoughts in front of 150 people. Be soberly confident and stay loose by focusing on the happy pair!
Opening photo by Artisan Events