Where to start?
The battle of the sexes has been a fraught and sometimes bloody conflict but happily after centuries of being held back, prevented and down trodden, women have the vote, are allowed to drive cars and follow a career. The Second World War was a huge turning point in proving to the masses that anything men could do they could do better and it’s a movement that’s been in full effect ever since – look at what a great job the Queen does, and she a woman. So, it seems a bit bonkers that even as recently as ten years ago women speaking at a wedding would have seemed a little too edgy. It was set in stone: Father of the bride, Groom, Best Man.
Nowadays the shackles have well and truly come off the wedding racket and you can quite comfortably have the mother of the bride singing a speech whilst in a kick line from a West End musical. And thank heaven for that, because the more variety we have and the less predictable it all is, the better. So where does a girl begin when it comes to the speech? Well, there are plenty of Maid of Honor Speech examples online and to be honest, they’re all pretty awful. You can do a lot better if you just give it some thought.
The best way to organise your speech is to break it up into sections and have a clear path through from the beginning to the end. Start at the beginning at the point you first met and use that experience no matter how young you were to think of some humorous observation on the bride’s character. It always works a treat.
Don’t forget to introduce yourself and how you know the bride. There are plenty of Maid of Honor speech examples which completely miss this basic and fundamental rule. If nobody knows who you are, they’re not going to care as much. Plus there’s always something funny to say about the way in which you met if you think hard enough.
This is where all wedding speakers feel the pressure and being a Maid of Honor is no different. The great thing about your situation is that nobody is expecting you to hit them hard with the funnies, whereas every Best Man is paralysed with fear due to the weight of expectation. You can simply slide in there and steal his thunder. The best way to go about comedy is to forget any Googled jokes or contrived gags. There’s no place for them in a wedding speech. Think about what the bride was like when she was younger and why that makes her career or lifestyle funny today. What is she obsessive about? What does she hate? What have been her highs and lows? Start thinking about those things early enough and you’ll find a funny way to weave your way through it. But remember: never be edgy. Weddings and edgy comedy don’t mix.
The biggest crime for any speech is to talk too long and Maid of Honor speeches are no different. In America these tend to be around the 3 minute mark with a hard stop due to specific timings, so you’ll have to think very carefully about the words you use and make them all count. British weddings tend to offer more scope but aim for 7 minutes as an absolute maximum.
No matter what you may think of him really, you’re going to have to reference the groom and you should usually leave that to near the end of the speech, this gives you plenty of time to talk about your friend and what she means to you. When it comes to the groom part be honest – if she’s happier now than ever before, then tell it like it is. If you think she’s making a massive mistake keep it general.
This is a huge ‘no go’ area for any wedding speech and mentioning any former loves should be avoided at all costs. You can get away with talking about her dating days in general but if you want to remain on speaking terms with the bride after the event then dodge it, even if others are asking you to go for it. I recently had a Best Man who wanted to list his brother’s girlfriends by name…that would have been a game changer.
There are plenty of Maid of Honor speech examples which completely miss the point that women have had lives up to the point of marriage too! You never want any speech to become an anecdote fest but a really good one succinctly told is great to have in there and then you can allude to parts of their character by subtle references to other stories that can remain untold.
This is where you bring the speech together and finish on a crescendo. The key here is to be honest, thoughtful and not too gushy. It’s enough to defence the times when the bride has been there for you etc but there’s no time or need to go in to detail. Let her know that she’s a good and trusted friend and then you’re outta there.