How to write a best man speech? Since becoming best man for two weddings, I have had a lot of requests from friends and family for advice on writing a good best man speech and wanted to pen my ideas for people hoping to write a memorable speech in a world of viral videos and unique best man speeches. So grab your laptop, make a coffee and let’s get to it:
Do’s and Don’ts
The first piece of advice I always give is this; Try to be personal, share stories that may be embarrassing, but nothing that their mum would not want to hear. It’s good to talk about great memories and moments you have shared in your life with the groom and bride, but not everyone wants to hear what happened in Ibiza or Amsterdam when you were 18 and on a gap year! The trick is, If you feel awkward writing it, it’s probably not appropriate to be told to a room full of people of varying ages and relations to the wedding party. Save those stories for later at the reception to select people.
– Try to include memories you share with the bride and groom. Some wedding guests may have heard these stories already, but I guarantee not everyone has. Stories about how they met and the relationship that followed are always key in a good best man speech.
– Don’t try and become the next viral video. While being unique and original is a great way to stand out, there is a reason only a few become viral, if you look at the more cringe-worthy best man speeches on the internet you see a pattern of them trying to be different, becoming so outlandish that they just don’t work. There is a reason the speech has remained a classic, it works well.
– Use visual aids. For my first best man speech I created a picture timeline of the bride and grooms relationship for every table. This included a mix of sensible and embarrassing photos and included my favourite pictures of their milestones in the relationship. Visual aids are a great way to break up the speech and engage the wedding guests.
– Use Crowd Participation. The wedding guests are great props at your disposal. Prep some of your guests to react at certain points of the speech to keep everyone on their toes. Give these assistants props to hold up or say as you are giving your speech.
– Thank people! This may sound like something that the groom and father of the bride do, but everyone at a wedding likes to be appreciated for the work they have put in. Thank the groomsmen, bridesmaids, immediate family of both parties and guests for attending and making this day just that little bit more special.
When writing your speech it’s a good idea to structure the speech into sections. There are certain elements that make up a good speech that I have touched on above and will now go into more detail about.
Introduction – Although you are the best man, not everyone will know who you are. Your introduction can come in many forms and I think it’s important to judge prior to arriving what the wedding guests will like. Introduce yourself formally, advising guests who you are and your relationships with the bride and groom.
Time To Insert Some Comedy – While I will advise that you choose your jokes very carefully, (we’ve all been at a wedding where someone takes a joke a little bit too far and has a negative reaction from the wedding guests) jokes are a brilliant way to bring a smile to your best man speech. Make them personal but classy, as mentioned before, if you have to question whether a joke is too far, you shouldn’t say it. Classic best man jokes are always well received:
– It’s been an emotional day, even the cake is in tiers (Check that they have not got a single tier cake)
– I recognise my place here; a best man is similar to a dead body at a funeral. Of course, you are expected to be there but if you say too much then people start freaking out. (Good for shorter speeches)
– Now I did ask for a microphone but was told one wasn’t available. So if you can’t hear me at the back, the silence from the people at the front should reassure you that you’re not missing out on anything.
– Loyal, caring, sincere, honest and overall a great man…But that’s enough about me, I’m just here to give a speech about “Grooms Name” (I have used this to great success at the beginning of a speech)
Remember to pause for laughter, (and keep your fingers crossed that there will be some) A good rule of thumb is, after every sentence, comma or full stop – Give yourself 2-3 seconds to compose yourself and let the guests absorb what has been said.
– Time has come to end your speech, this is the best time to say your thank yous and to get serious.
– Share your stories about the groom, explain the love him and his wife/husband share, how they met and important milestones you have been a part of.
– Thank the wedding party, guests and organisers. One thing I have witnessed in weddings is the thanking of one person, but not someone else of equal value. This can leave a VERY sour taste in some guest’s mouths, so make sure you avoid this – Obviously, you cannot thank every person present equally, but I would avoid calling people out unless they are the bridesmaids, maid of honour, groomsmen or the immediate family of the bride and groom.
So now it’s time to sit back down, receive a round of applause, a pat on the back from the groom, wipe the sweat of your brow and enjoy free wine and champagne, your speech is over, the crowd loved it and your best friend is happy that he chose you to be his best man (Hopefully). Your best man duties do not stop here, but the rest are a lot less stressful.
Some Parting Tips
Make sure you get someone to proofread your speech for inaccuracies – when reading back your speech your will automatically follow your own grammar and sometimes spelling mistakes, so if you need to, write it on a computer and print it ready for the day. ALWAYS make a copy or two, keep one for yourself and give one or two to a close friend or family member to hold onto, forgetting or misplacing your speech would not end well.
Don’t swear….at all – Children, grandmas and that prude of an aunt will be present at the wedding, so do not swear, it’s not big and it’s not clever! If you want to get your words and thoughts across, there are thousands of words that can be used in place of a swear word. If you swear, you will lose the attention of guests and family members alike.
Relax – you’ve prepared, read the speech 100 times and you ARE ready for this. Just breathe and take pauses if you need to.
Smile – A smile will radiate throughout the wedding venue and is very infectious.
Hopefully, this has helped you in writing a best man speech that people will remember. Your best friend picked you for a reason, now go make him proud (and slightly embarrassed at the stories you will tell.)