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The Best Man Speech is supposed to be a highlight of the wedding. It’s supposed to be simple, funny and heart-warming. But, just like everything simple, getting it right is the hardest thing.
Best Men are burdened by expectations of being funny, relatable and the perfect public speaker. Hollywood has done a lot set that expectation for us. Unfortunately, most of them have no idea where to start.
So, if you’re panicking, don’t worry about it. We’ll be the Best Man to the Best Man. We’ve got a guide here that should put you at ease!
Now, let’s help you with that speech.
Who Is the Best Man?
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It’s always best to start with the basics. So here’s a simple definition of who you are to them:
The best man is the groom's right-hand man. You’re involved in everything from the planning to the day of the wedding. The best man is usually in charge of the bachelor party and organises the rest of the groomsmen.
Simple enough! If the groom is the CEO, then you’re the COO.
Best Man Speech Length
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As a rule of thumb, keep the speech to 5 minutes maximum. This is ample time to say something meaningful, funny, and impactful. But, if you know the crowd and the duration of the wedding, you can fiddle with the length.
As another rule of thumb, think of your speech like a book: “Long enough to cover the content, short enough to keep things interesting”.
Best man speech tips
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The same speech is never a Hail Mary with every crowd. And, just because your speech is different, doesn’t mean its interesting. So many things to consider!
Well, we’ve simplified it into a few tips that cover the basics and then some. Read on and if you follow all of these, you’re on the right track.
Consider your audience.
You need to know who to tailor the speech to. Feel free to ask beforehand who you’re dealing with. Things like age range, gender breakdown, and even religious beliefs could determine the success of your speech.
Just like in G.I Joe, “knowing is half the battle”.
Find a theme.
Themes act as ideas that tie the speech together. Amidst your utterances, you’ll want to send a message. Hopefully, you’d like that message to be remembered.
In order to do that, reinforce your point by following a theme.
These unify the points you’re making and make your speech easy to follow and easier to remember.
We know… We know… You can’t expect someone to relax by telling them to relax.
So here are some tips to help you!
Remember, you are giving this speech to an audience but it is directed at the couple. If ever you feel the crowd on you, just speak to them. You can also plan portions of the speech directed at them as a sort of “safe haven”.
Remember to breathe. Panic is often induced by excess adrenaline and a lack of oxygen. Sounds dumb but do put down “(breathe)” in strategic places of your speech. This will give you pause to collect yourself and continue.
A touch of liquid courage never hurt. But do bear in mind we said “a touch”. Some champagne and it could soothe the nerves. Too much champagne and someone may have to soothe you.
Stay true to yourself.
Be you is the best advice out there. Forget the pressure of expectations. First and foremost, the groom picked you because you’re his best friend. We’re 100% certain he’d like to see that when you give your speech.
Don't just solely on humor.
While a few jokes can be great for loosening up the crowd, don’t overdo it. All it takes is one bad joke and you’ve lost your audience. Worst of all, you may lose the groom!
So, keep the jokes in. But remember that the speech needs to be heart-warming and meaningful. If anything, craft the jokes around these moments so you retain the flow of your speech.
Keep things positive.
It’s their wedding for crying out loud! No negative Nellys and Debby downers. Recount some hardships the couple went through to emphasize the how far they’ve come. Just don’t focus on it too much.
Don't upstage the newlyweds.
While some aspects of your speech could benefit from a little bit of drama, you aren’t performing. Your speech shouldn’t detract from the main focus; the couple. So, make the speech about them and be sparing with anything else.
Get a second opinion.
You’ll be delivering this speech in front of an audience. So, it might be wise to get some feedback from a potential audience member. Especially if you’re the sort who could go a little off track, you should have your speech looked at.
Topics to Avoid in a Best Man speech
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If there was a section of this article we thought was most important, it’s this part. Knowing the wrong things to say is as important as knowing the right things to say. Please, for the sake of the wedding, read this section carefully.
Read it twice if you must!
Negativity about marriage in general.
Let’s face facts, you’re not at an improv comedy show. You’re showing love to the couple getting married. Being funny is fine, but risqué marriage jokes are a little heavy for a wedding.
No one likes being reminded of their ex. Least of all on their wedding day. You may have a history with the bride or the groom but don’t go dishing dirt during your speech, please.
Previous marriages or divorces.
Honestly, if we need to say more than this, you probably shouldn’t be giving the speech!
Drinking, drugs and gambling.
Marriage is typically a life-long commitment and these do not signal folks ready to settle down. Whether in the present or past, if the couple indulges in any of these, leave it between them. Just like in the previous segments, don’t go dishing dirt.
Toilet humour or any other mention of sex.
Don’t do this especially if it’s a religious wedding. As progressive as society is, there are still rules and protocols to follow. Sex and other taboo subjects may not be received well by some folks in attendance.
How to talk about the couple?
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Okay, now that you know what not to say, how about what you should say! If you’re to write a speech about the lovely couple, you’d be mentioning them at some point. Here are some things you should mention in your speech.
How you know the couple
Establish your relationship with the couple. It helps people relate to you and the perspective you bring to the speech. Be it a friend or a brother, it lends credibility!
Stories about the couple
You can tell separate stories that follow a theme. But real masters make the whole speech one big story! These stories should serve the point you’re trying to make about the couple. If it doesn’t, it’s just fluff and worth cutting from your speech.
You don’t want to lose your audience!
Triumphs and disasters
These are perfect for comedic and endearing moments. Triumphs will have you audience beaming with pride. Disasters could lead to uproarious laughter or tear jerking inspiration. Just ensure that you’ve not gone too far and not to dwell on the disasters for too long.
Best Man Speech Template
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The moment you’ve been waiting for! We’ve given you the do’s and don’ts. Now its time to put it all together.
Remember, this is just a guide. Feel free to write and structure the speech however you want! But, this is an outline that most Best Man speeches follow.
Have a killer opening line.
Nothing gets peoples’ attention like a great opener! You reel in your audience and it sets the tone for the rest of the speech. All great public speakers endorse this.
Thank the other speakers.
This is formality. Thank them for introducing you and mention one thing you liked about their speech. This puts you in a good light and makes you VERY likable.
Congratulate the newlyweds.
C’mon, you’ve got to. It takes lots of effort to keep a relationship going! Arguably, that same amount of effort goes into organizing a wedding!
Say a few nice words about your friend's new spouse.
Yes, your best friend is now someone else’s best friend for life. No need to get jealous! Be a sweetheart and tell her that you’ll be there for both of them.
Make a joke about the groom.
Taking a joke isn’t just a guy thing anymore. That being said, don’t be afraid to tell a funny story that endears the crowd to the groom! Just don’t go overboard.
Read messages from guests who couldn't make it.
Especially if it’s a destination wedding, sometimes its difficult for everyone to make it. But, goodwill and good vibes can travel a long way. Go ahead and read some of the messages from those that can’t make it.
Propose a toast.
If the Ancient Romans felt it was important to drink to one’s health, how could you argue? Toast the Bride and Groom and wish them the best.
But, for the best Best Man’s Speech…
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It has to come from the heart. More than that, you must genuinely mean well for the groom and his newly betrothed. You can get by with a speech that is well-structured, funny and inspirational. By the rubric, its perfect.
But, without heart, you’ve got an empty speech.
Our final tip is to take the groom out for a night, perhaps a place you guys used to frequent. Sit him down over a drink for an honest conversation. Spill your hearts and not your drinks. Remind yourself that you are giving the Best Mans’ speech at your best friends’ big day.