Have you been asked to be a best man for a friend or relative? Are you worried about what to include in your best man’s speech? Are you looking for some tips and advice about how to deliver a successful best man’s speech? If you have answered yes to any of these three questions, this article may well be of benefit and interest to you.
I have been to a number of weddings over the last few years and have heard some interesting and different types of best man speeches. In this article, I am going to write about some of the more successful speeches, which may help other people when their turn comes to give a best man’s speech.
Keys to a speech:
- You have to be standing up.
- The toast itself should come early. Maybe it’s not the first thing, but it should happen near the beginning.
- Stay in one place. Leave “working the room” to the motivational speakers.
- Do not use notes, work from memory it is sincere.
It goes without saying that most people will be very nervous about standing in front of a room full of people and talking about the groom. All of the attention for that short period is fully focused on the best man, which can be very daunting. In my opinion it is a good idea to start the speech with a simple joke. If, which of course is the hope, the guests find this joke funny, it will put everybody at ease, most importantly the best man himself. After starting well, the best man should gain in confidence, which will help him to deliver the rest of the speech in a slightly more relaxed manner.
At a recent wedding which I attended the best man did exactly this. He was the younger brother of the groom and started his speech by telling the rest of the guests just how nervous he was feeling. He then stated that the speech he was about to give would last as long as the groom does when making love. At this point he sat down. This was a great start which most of the guests found quite funny. You could visibly see the relief in the best man’s face at the positive response of the audience.
Within the speech itself you could have visible prompts to help you. This could be in the form of photographs from when the groom was a child for example. By showing the guests these visual aids, it helps to take the attention away from the best man and can also add to the humor.
I often hear a best man describing an event from the groom’s past. This event could have been as recent as the stag night/weekend or could be some other experiences which the groom would have no doubt rather have forgotten. These experiences and stories should aim to make people laugh but should be said in good taste and should therefore not include any rude material.
Preparation is the key and it would be a good idea to practice the best man’s speech a few times before the big day itself. There is also nothing wrong with bringing some pieces of paper to help you to remember what it is you want to say.
But what if I leave something out?
Principle of Business and Life No. 673 states: “Nobody
misses what they didn’t know is supposed to be there.”
I have been to some weddings where the best man’s speech just never seems like it is going to end. My advice would be to talk for between five and fifteen minutes.
- Slow your roll. Speak slowly, loudly, and clearly. There’s an elderly contingent that is hoping to hear what you have to say.
- Avoid inside jokes. Unless you can quickly explain it, there’s no reason to share an anecdote that only 2% of the room will understand.
- It’s not about you. Share stories that spotlight the bride or groom and not on what they have done for you or how they make you feel. This is there day. Let’s not forget that.
- And, on a related note — don’t embarrass your friend. There are colleagues and family present. Yes, that time they streaked across campus in the dead of winter was hilarious, but not everyone needs to hear about it.
- Rehearse, but don’t over-rehearse. Make sure you read over your notes before toasting, but leave room for the slightest bit of spontaneity.
- Don’t air your grievances. Now is not the time to bring up who’s skinnier, prettier, better educated, or an all more wonderful person. See the third point. Not. About. You.
- Don’t over-focus on the bride or groom. Even if you aren’t very close to the partner, you must leave time to discuss him or her as well — even if it is in the context of making your friend happy. Absolutely hate them? Fake it a little. It will serve you better in the long run.
I hope the above gives you some inspiration and helps you in your quest to deliver an interesting and successful best man’s speech.