The bridesmaid speech

What must your maid of honor speech include?

By: Susan Dugdale | Last modified: 07-31-2020 | First published: 09-01-2010

Your best friend, or your sister, is getting married and you've been asked to be the principal bridesmaid or maid of honor. It's exciting, a privilege and once the euphoria settles, you realize there's also a bridesmaid speech or maid of honor speech to prepare.

Bridal party circa 1927

Here's a basic 4 step outline to follow

Don't worry that through using it your speech will be the same as every other bridesmaid. Because you are "you" and your relationship to the bride is unique, what you bring to the essential content list will make your speech original.

The guide is only here to help you cover off what's expected. How you do that is up to you!

Be yourself, honest, and, ready!

Vintage image of a fully open white rose, a bud and deep green leaves.

Aim to keep it real, sincere and to be original!

Do try to steer away from lashings of stereotypical saccharine sweetness: "the most beautiful", "my best friend for ever", "the kindest, most adorable girl in the universe", "the cutest", "the funniest", "totally angelic",  ...

And to avoid a last minute panic stricken rush, allow yourself approximately three weeks to write and then, practice, practice, practice.

Read an example maid of honor speech for a sister

Vintage image of a fully open white rose, a bud and deep green leaves.

How do you begin to write a bridesmaid or maid of honor speech when it's for your sister?

The same way as you would for a very dear friend. Do check this example speech out.

I've written it following the guidelines here but with one significant extra step: an explanation and example of the beginning brainstorming process. 

Read more: an example maid of honor speech for a sister.


1. Introduction

In the introductory segment of your bridesmaid speech include a greeting/welcome to all the guests, mentioning any special ones by name, your name and your relationship to the bride.

If your speech follows the best man's you may like to reference that too.

Here's an example of an introduction:

“Good evening! It's fabulous to see you all here including one very special lady, Teri's extra-mother Sally. Not even flight delays on the other side of the world could keep her away!

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Joan, and I have been best friends with Teri, our bride, since the second grade.

Thank you Mike (best man) for your very gracious, and expected, compliments on the beauty of the bride and bridesmaids. What can a woman do but agree? We are indeed exceptionally gorgeous!

The bride is already spoken for. However let's see if your actions speak as well as your words. I'll be in the bar later. Mine's a double!”


2. History of the your relationship & a story 

Your introduction should segue nicely into the next part of your bridesmaid speech: a brief history of your relationship to the bride, followed by a short anecdote or story.

This is essential content as it puts your relationship with the bride into context for the guests.

Avoid stories mentioning any of the bride’s ex-boyfriends or incidents she would find too embarrassing. Your goal is to honor the bride, not humiliate her.

Stories that would be suitable here are those that illustrate the qualities you admire about her, the shared experiences at the heart of your relationship that keep it ongoing.

These are your classic childhood/school/work-life tales, the ones suitable for and understood by everybody. They are the "feel-good" stories, making people smile regardless of their age.

(To see an example of a suitable story to share read this example bridesmaid speech for a sister.)

The final touch in this segment is to thank the bride for the honor of being her bridesmaid.


3. History of the couple's relationship & story

This is the part of your bridesmaid speech where you discuss the relationship of the bride and the groom.

If you knew the groom before they began dating, you might have a funny story about how he was before he met the bride. Or this could be the part where you tell how you helped them get together, or how you knew the bride was in love with the groom.

Again, avoid any mention of previous relationships, leave out stories that are overly embarrassing or that highlight any problems the couple may have had in the past, and stay away from anything too risque or off-color.

Your role is to positively present the relationship and the commitment they have jointly made.

(You can see an example of this step here: maid of honor speech for a sister sample.)


4. Conclusion

This section should include your best wishes for the couple and your hopes for their future. You could express that with a well-chosen quote, a brief poem, or even a song. Whether it is funny and playful or serious and sentimental, whatever you do needs to match the tone or mood of what has gone before.

Your final remark should be a definitive statement indicating to the guests that you've finished. You could achieve that by simply raising your glass and saying "To Susie and Bill!"


More pages to help you prepare:

Image: oval frame made of colorful vintage drawings of roses. Text: Wedding poems and readings - Our happily ever after begins here.

Here's a diverse collection of classic wedding poems and readings drawn from many cultures and eras to help you find just the right words to express what you want to say. 

Use cue cards to help you deliver your speech well

Do not be that woman who stands up to speak and tries to hold a mike plus several pieces of paper with her speech on them, and then read, speak and gesture at the same time.

It's a very public juggling act that could go sideways quite quickly. And it doesn't have to be like that.

Find out how to make and use cue cards.  Save yourself from potential stress.

Speech writer graphic with text: Are you finding writing your speech hard? I could do it for you. Click and find out more.

The importance of rehearsal: practice, practice and more practice

Image: person standing on an empty stage. Text: About rehearsing a speech.

Please don't skimp on rehearsal. You need to practice your speech aloud (a lot) to find out if it flows well, fits the time allowance you've been given and to build your confidence before you deliver it at the reception. 

Making time for rehearsal is one of those things you will thank yourself for. Truly.