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Maid of Honour Speeches

It wasn’t so long ago that it was considered pretty maverick for anyone brave enough to let a woman do the talking at a wedding. Thankfully those days are behind us and led by the American Wedding Machine, the world is at last welcoming women to the microphone.It just leaves the question: what on earth do you say in a Maid of Honour Speech? Well, this is a gilt edged opportunity to show the boys how it’s done. And about time too.

How to write a maid of honor speech

Unlike the other wedding speakers there really is no set agenda as to what a Maid of Honour Speech should really be about, which is great in one way as it gives you so much scope and also slightly terrifying in another as the limitless boundaries can make it hard to focus. Below is a succinct guide as to how you could set it up.

  • Introduction – it might sound basic but always intro yourself and preferably in a funny way.
  • Story – chances are that you’re going to précis the Bride’s life. My policy is to make up what you don’t know and as long as it’s drop dead funny, people will love that it’s an obvious fabrication.
  • Length – with a Maid of Honour Speech on the schedule that means there at least 3 other speakers. So aim for around 5-6 minutes or about 800 words max.
  • Love life – as with the Best Man, this is best avoided. There might be some great stories in there but now is not the time.
  • Funny – it’s not just the Best Man who should be funny, any wedding speech without laughs is a tragic waste. Aim for one gag a paragraph. The comedy’s in there you just have to find it – not cut and paste it.
  • Toast – it might seem logical that as you’re talking about the bride you should toast her. Wrong. Always toast the happy couple at the end, never individuals in isolation.
  • Thanks – you don’t need to thank anyone. Keep it tight.
  • The Groom – make this the penultimate thought before you go into the heartfelt friend bit. You only need about 3-4 sentences on him and it should neatly summarise just what a great guy he is and the amazing effect he’s and on your friend. If you’re struggling, just lie.

What to avoid

  • Venue – Whatever you do don’t be tempted to thank the venue out of sheer separation for something to say, or God forbid – welcome people to the wedding. By the time you stand up guests will be dropping like flies from thanks/welcome fatigue. Don’t inflict any further casualties.
  • The Groom – even if you think he’s the devil in disguise a few words about the groom are the order of the day.Thankfully most MOH’s have a great relationship and it’s a great topic for you to have fun with, but it is surprising how many forget to mention the groom in they speech.However, if he’s that toxic you should really be thinking twice about accepting the gig.
  • Sustained Heavy Drinking – a glass or two throughout the day to steady the ship can make things seem more relaxed and indeed often improve performance. Over step the mark, however, and you’re only going to be living it down for the rest of your life.
  • Length – the length of the speech is crucial to its success. Don’t make it so short that people will be wondering why you bothered and don’t make it so long that guests are seriously considering putting a contract out on you. You should be looking at a speaking time of around 7 minutes, but anything less than 5 is looking a little on the brief side.
Very few people are put on this planet who are naturally comfortable and gifted when it comes to public speaking. The rest of us have to work at it and if your day job doesn’t involve making speeches then making a wedding speech can seem a little bit daunting. But if you can get your head around the fact the guests are all on your side and revel in the cosy loved up atmosphere, you might end up enjoying yourself.
  • Rehearse – read through the speech as often as you can but never set out to memorise, or you will just send yourself crazy. If you keep reading it, the speech will naturally fall into blocks and then you can use prompt cards on the day.
  • Eye Contact – remember to have as much eye contact with the guests as possible. If you end up reading it from a sheet, pause, look up and then carry on. Head buried is not a good way to engage people.
  • Shaky hands – you’ll have so much adrenaline coarsing through your system that no matter how confident you’re feeling your hands will be shaky. Either find something you can rest your notes on or mount your speech on something like a board to keep it steady.
  • Pauses – a great speech lives and dies on it pauses. Work out where they’re going to be and milk them.
  • Pace – always slow and steady, never be tempted to rush anything because if you do all the jokes and sentiment will be completely lost.
  • Alcohol – A little in the run up to the speech is a good idea; you’ll be relaxed and it will take the edge off. Getting hammered will be the worst idea you’re ever going to have.

Opening Lines in a Maid of Honour Speech

If I’m writing this speech I’ll be wanting to make them laugh from around the second or third sentence. Don’t forget to introduce yourself as unless you’ve mad a complete spectacle of yourself at the church, most people still won’t know who you are. Then hit them with the funny.

Closing Lines in a Maid of Honour speech

This is where you’ve got to do your best not to descend into a wobble of emotion. All wedding speakers are prone to it and it can be a very effective way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Keep the sentiment real and honest but less is more. What goes unsaid is usually much more powerful.

Using comedy in your speech

People are expecting you to be the sentimental wreck, so this is where you can stick it to them and make the best man start sweat even more than before. EVERY speech is better for humour and you should be thinking of something funny to say in almost every paragraph. The people are there to be entertained. So entertain them.

Structuring the Maid of Honour speech

This shouldn’t be Facebook Live. We don’t need to know every exam passed or deluxe hotel stayed in. Work in a chronological fashion through her life and keep the detail light. If you make your speech easy to follow, you’ll have them on your side and relaxed.

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