The Best Man’s speech is the last of the three traditional speeches at a wedding and follows the Groom’s speech. He usually begins by recounting how he first met the Groom and their relationship, followed by some insights about the groom and bride.
Traditionally, the Best Man is the bridal parties official spokesman. In his speech he will thank the bride and groom on behalf of the bridal party, and then the will thank the bridesmaids and groomsmen for their service on the day.
What should the Best Man’s speech cover?
- The Best Man’s speech will usually talk about the groom’s life, experiences and qualities.
- He will give some details about the bride and groom, such as how they met, what the groom said after that first meeting.
- The Best Man proposes a toast to the newlyweds.
- Traditionally, as a finale, there is a reading of telegrams (or email’s these days) and cards from people unable to attend.
The Best Man should be careful not to tell ‘off color’ jokes (keep these for the bucks night, which you, as Best Man traditionally get to organize!). Generally, some lighthearted jokes are expected and appreciated, but keep them ‘G’ rated (remember the Grandmothers are probably listening to your speech) and nobody wants to be publically laughed at.
1. Plan Ahead
Don’t leave you speechwriting to the last minute – I start about 2 weeks out from the event, to give myself time to talk to anyone else (to get those funny stories), also, writing the speech with a hangover from the buck’s party isn’t fun.
2. Write a bullet point list of topics
One of the biggest issues people face when writing the best man speech is ‘where to start’. I recommend just jotting down a bullet point list of items to talk about in your speech. You don’t need details yet (these will come later) – think of them as headings in a document. Examples could include
- People to thank:
- Bridal Party
- Anyone else?
- Introduce yourself and your relationship to (the groom)
- Funny story about that time we XXX (did something silly)
- When XXX (the groom) met YYY (the bride), what he though (if it was good, or you can spin it to be funny) and what he said after their first meeting
- When he decided she was ‘the one’
And so on. This will give you the skeleton of your speech and from here the speech will practically write itself.
3. Comedy Is Key
You want your speech to be funny!
Everyone else also wants your speech to be funny!
We expect you to give the Groom a hard time and have a couple of jokes at his expense.
This is ultimately everyone’s goal and it is expected that you will give the groom a bit of ribbing and make your friends laugh. Recanting something silly the Groom has done in the past is a good way to garner a few laughs (that ridiculous 80’s hair style, sneaking into the cinema when you were 14 to watch an R rated movie, etc). Just don’t go to far – you do not want to go from good-natured ribbing to cringing embarrassment (I recommend staying away from any ex-girlfriend in the 5 years before the groom met his now wife, and stay away from any ex that the Bride knows)
4. Don’t Try Too Hard
You’re most likely not a stand up comedian and so you need just keep the comedy light. If you are lucky enough to have a likable persona, then you can reach a little further for jokes but for the most part, just go for something light. This will definitely set the mood and not appear like you are trying too hard to be funny. When you try too hard, you will end up just appearing like you are trying to reach for laughs. However, if you are just trying to relax, it will come off as relaxed and enjoyable.
5. Try Not to Read From of a Card
Try not to read from a written speech, holding several sheets of paper up in front of yourself as you read – you are the Best Man, not a newsreader!
If you are worried that you won’t remember your speech, write the main points on a small card that fits into your palm (where most people won’t see it) and use this card to ‘jolt’ your memory.
If you are worried that you will completely freeze up, keep a copy of your speech in your pocket and if this happens you can always use it.
6. Rehearse, Rehearse, & Rehearse
In order to really give your speech without having to read, you will need to rehearse as much as you can. This may require a few minutes a day to rehearse in front of a mirror but it will definitely be worth it.
You want to feel very prepared with your speech and you need to be ready to let everything out. Whether it will be comedic or even dramatic, it is crucial that you rehearse as much as you possibly can.
The more you rehearse, the more confident you will feel about it and the better it will come off.
7. Have Fun
The last tip is to simply have fun. The Best Man’s speech will definitely not dictate how well the wedding went and so you cannot put too much pressure on yourself. Remember that all weddings are meant to be fun and lighthearted and so your speech should be the same. Don’t take it too seriously and just have fun talking to your friends and making a little speech. Most people will often beat themselves down before the speech and this is a sure way to feel nervous while you are making the speech.
Your speech for your friend will be something that is meant to be fun and also touching and so this requires planning, rehearsing and some enjoyment. Whether you are already drunk or you just had a few glasses of wine, remember that these tips will still help you out. If you want to have the perfect Best Man’s speech, then these tips will definitely lead you down the right road.
Bonus tip: It has been shown that for most of us, we will not remember anything more than vague details of any speech we listen to an hour after it ends regardless of the subject or setting. Add it drinks and the party setting and most people will not remember what you said anyway.
What is the worst that can happen! You are the Best Man at your mates wedding.
Relax and have fun with it.