Have a best friend getting married soon? Standing by a loved one as they tie the knot can be one of the most special days ever! However, the role of Best Man or Maid/Matron of Honor can also come with a long list of to-do’s. While many of these responsibilities can be tons of fun (hello, bachelor/ette parties), many can also be taxing and feel overwhelming at times. One of those tasks is often the speech or toast that’s expected of you during the wedding reception. Make an eloquent speech filled with flattery and just the right amount of humor, while 200 strangers stare at you with high expectations? Yikes. It’s a good thing we’re here to help! We’ve got you covered with some easy steps to make that big speech a piece of (wedding) cake. Here’s how to write a killer Best Man or Maid of Honor speech.
Step 1: Introduce yourself.
Start by introducing yourself and explaining your relationship with the bride or groom. Share some fun or interesting details about how you met along with how long you’ve known each other. Something like, “Hi! I’m Abby and I met Kara when we sat at the same table in kindergarten! It’s been a lot of years since we were arguing over the best crayon colors, and I can say her friendship has been one of the greatest treasures in my life.”
Step 2: Share some stories.
Share some funny, heartfelt, or memorable stories about your experiences with the bride or groom. This could include stories from your childhood, college years, or recent adventures. Be sure to keep it appropriate and respectful for the occasion. For example, “I’ll never forget the time Jacob and I took a 3-week road trip across the country, braving Death Valley heat, car trouble in the Rockies, and all of the fun we had in NYC. Those were memories of a lifetime.”
Step 3: Talk about the couple.
Talk about how they met and fell in love, and how their relationship has evolved over time. Highlight some of their best qualities and what makes them a great match. You might consider, “Jake was so boring before he met Julia! In all seriousness, their opposite personalities truly bring out the best in each other.”
Step 4: Thank the guests.
Another important component to your Best Man/MOH speech is to thank everyone for coming to celebrate the special day with the couple. You can also express gratitude to the parents of the bride and groom for raising such wonderful individuals. All you need to say is, “I want to thank Mr and Mrs Silva for hosting us in this beautiful venue tonight, we are so grateful for you! And thanks to all of you for giving up your evening, or your weekend, to support Callie and Josh. You are amazing, and your support is what will bring them joy and carry them through harder times in the future. Thank you.”
Step 5: Offer some words of wisdom or advice to the happy couple.
This could be a quote, a piece of advice that has served you well in your own life, or some heartfelt words of encouragement. An example could be, “I love this quote from Phyllis Diller: ‘Never go to bed on an argument. Stay up and fight.’”
Step 6: End with a toast.
Don’t forget to raise your glass! Raise your glass and offer a heartfelt toast to the newlyweds. Wish them all the love, happiness, and joy in the world and invite everyone to join you in celebrating the happy couple. For example, “So, let’s raise our glasses and toast to the new Mr and Mrs Johnston!”
If you stick to those 6 elements, you’ll be golden! Your Best Man/Maid of Honor speech will be killer and everyone will be smiling and congratulating the newlyweds, and you on an awesome toast. However, as an added bonus, we’re going to throw in three things you should never do when preparing a wedding toast (just in case you were thinking these might be a good idea).
Never talk about exes.
Never. This should not have to be said, however, we do have stories of this happening – on multiple occasions! Please just don’t. The wedding day is about the happy couple who ended up together, not about old dirt on someone who didn’t make the cut.
Do not drone on with countless stories from the past.
Trust us. Wedding guests just want to eat, drink, and dance. They do not want to listen to a random stranger talk for 20 minutes about drunken college escapades. It’s boring. Even if you are an amazing storyteller, it’s still boring. Just don’t do it.
Don’t bury the groom (or the bride).
This is mostly for the dudes in the room, because frankly, this is more of a guy behavior. But the sentiment remains: a joke or two at the groom’s expense is ok, but don’t overdo it. This is the day you build him up, not destroy him. Too much of that and you can quickly go from funny to awkward and uncomfortable.
Remember, the key to a great Best Man/ Maid of Honor speech is to keep it authentic, heartfelt, and to the point. Keep it light and humorous, but also sincere and meaningful. And for goodness sake, practice your speech before the wedding day. Try to know what you’re saying so you don’t have to read it off your phone the whole time. But, mostly, just be yourself and speak from the heart! You’ve got this!