“Thank you, thank you, thank you! The reason I am an expert in bridesmaid speeches is all down to you. It’s so perfect, thank you!” – Nisha G
The Maid of Honour (or Bridesmaid) speech is becoming an increasingly regular feature of a wedding. The days of three speeches given by three men wearing identical suits are slowly melting away in the face of the female public speaking onslaught. And quite right too!
But the Maid of Honour faces a very different set of challenges to those in more traditional roles. The etiquette for their speeches is well honed and although their quality may differ, the expectations of their respective roles are clear.
Not so for the Maid of Honour. She has no set time to speak, toast to give or agenda to meet. Which is both a challenge and a wonderful opportunity.
My view is that you should speak last. There is a natural flow to the way the male toasts lead naturally from one to the next, and there is no need to break that rhythm. By going at the end, you can ask the Best Man to give you a lovely introduction, and you can be sure that the key thanks have already been made. The guests will already be relaxed, the formalities will have been covered and a fair bit of wine consumed. Which paves the way for you to have some fun.
What to say?
You are Maid of Honour to the Bride, and she should, of course, be your key focus. However, the Father of the Bride and the Groom will both have spoken about her already and you must avoid the trap of repetition at all costs. So my first advice is to speak to them. Try to find out how they are going to describe her, what angle they might take and any particular stories they’re going to tell. You can then plot your own speech. They key will be to paint a picture of the Bride from your perspective, focusing on what a great friend she is. Ideally you’ll make it as relevant as possible by linking it to her new life, and demonstrate how all the qualities you have witnessed over the years will make her a wonderful wife. It would be great to end with a toast, but it’s hard to know what to suggest without understanding a little more about the specifics of the wedding.
What not to say
The risk is that you tell too many stories about the two of you that are not particularly relevant to the rest of the audience. Try to see the Bride through the eyes of others so it’s not a ‘Thelma and Louise’ wedding special! Don’t spend too long thanking everyone (as the Best Man and Groom speeches will already have done that). And please don’t use this as an opportunity to run through her entire CV!
I’d cap it at five minutes. That’s easily long enough to give a real insight into the Bride, but it’s not going to tire-out an audience who may be listening to more speeches than they’d bargained for!
Keep it light. It’s easy to get emotional on an occasion like this, but this really isn’t the time for tears. You are speaking at the relaxed end of a long day and you are not just there for your best friend, but also for your fellow guests. Your speech is part of the entertainment, not the service.
There are no exclusive rules for the way you’d write a Maid of Honour speech. There is lots of general help here on the most effective ways to write and deliver a speech. The keys, as ever, are to keep it brief, keep it clear and keep it relevant.
We’ve written many speeches for Bridesmaids across the world and we’d be delighted to help make yours truly special. We have a questionnaire to help you draw out all the relevant information in advance, so please get in touch if you’d find that helpful. Please email Seb or call 0208 245 8999. We look forward to hearing from you!