Congrats! You’ve been asked to be someone’s best man and that entails a lot of things including giving a best man’s speech. No pressure, but it’s a big deal!
Once, I was in a wedding and the best man’s speech was given by the brother of the groom and it started out with “Growing up, I never thought my brother loved me” and at that moment, everybody paused, was embarrassed and it was just a huge let down and it ruined the entire evening.
Now that was terrible, your goal is to give a heartfelt, funny, appropriate, and unique best man’s speech that most importantly is not too long and to the point.
Best Man Speech Do’s & Dont’s
- Prepare your speech in advance because I’ve never seen one that was given off the cuff that was actually good, to the point, or funny. Usually, what ends up happening is just people ramble on and it’s way too long.
- Write it down. If you’re not comfortable speaking in front of people, it’s a good idea to start with word by word but you don’t want to have more than one piece of paper or one card so I suggest to bullet point your speech because nothing makes people less interested in the speech if you have to flip through pages.
- Be yourself. If you usually don’t joke and you try to crack jokes, it’s just unfunny and superficial and people won’t buy it so be true to yourself and it will be a good speech.
- Be sober enough to deliver your wedding speech. There may have been toasts before, you may have had a drink and that’s okay but I remember a wedding once where the best man was absolutely drunk and he just made inappropriate jokes, slurred, rambled, and it was just a general embarrassment. Don’t be that man.
- Make sure to mention the bride in there and it’s not just an ode to your friendship, maybe you can have a little story about how they got to know each other or how you learned about her from your friend, something that incorporates her and makes her shine in a positive light.
- Very important, be tactful. Don’t talk about the groom farting, don’t make any dirty jokes, don’t talk about sex, or exes, or anything else that could embarrass his grandma, not him, his grandma!
- Keep your speech short and to the point, because otherwise, people won’t pay attention and honestly, no one really cares. People want to be entertained and five minutes is the maximum attention span. I know, it may look like five minutes on paper but actually, the best way to make sure you hit that goal is to give your speech, you can either talk to the mirror and time yourself with a stopwatch or even better, give your speech to actual people so they can give you instant feedback. That way, you know how long it took you whether it’s funny or not, inappropriate or too crass, and that way you ensure you’ll deliver a perfect speech when it matters.
What should your speech look like?
I’m a big opponent of giving you a cooking recipe because that’s too static and it’s important that your speech has a personal touch. That being said, there is a basic framework that works for most best man speeches.
- Introduce yourself. Tell the audience who you are and how you know the groom.
- Thank everybody for coming, thank the people who made it possible if that’s not just the bride and groom and just make sure everyone feels welcome.
- Explain how you know the groom and what your relationship is to him.
- Come up with the story of how you got to know the groom and/or how you learned about his bride and how it all goes together. Ideally, it should be a little funny or at least entertaining maybe with a little twist. Maybe you also have an interesting incident where you maybe asked him how did you know she was the right one, and you remember that answer. Just something that’s heartfelt and touches people. Now if you want, you can thank people for coming again but more importantly, thank the couple and send them your best wishes for the future.
- It’s very important to have a common toast to the couple and their future.
With this framework, you’ll be able to stay within the 5-minute mark, have a really good best man speech that is well-remembered and respected and thought of fondly in the future.