By: Susan Dugdale | Last modified: 04-14-2021
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 and a privilege.
Once the euphoria settles, you realize there's also a bridesmaid speech or maid of honor speech to prepare.
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 give your speech structure - a logical easily followed format, and to help you cover off
what's expected. How you do that is up to you!
In the opening segment of your bridesmaid speech include a
greeting to welcome all the guests. Mention 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.
“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 (the 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!”
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.
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.)
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!"
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.
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.