Published on Jan 18, 2018
When it comes to weddings, there are certain things you look forward to that bit more eagerly than others. The cutting of the cake, the first dance, and of course – the best man speech.
Not only is this a chance for the chosen friend or family member of the groom to send their blessing to the new couple, but also to get a few jokes in at their expense. This can often be a rather dangerous game as the best man is likely to have more than a few stories tucked up their sleeves to tell!
While these best man speeches may seem effortless, they do take quite a while to prepare and it’s best to get organised in advance so it runs as smoothly as possible on the day.
You should think of who will be attending the wedding and what sort of jokes and stories they would appreciate, keeping the groom in mind at all times.
Aim to keep the speech between five to ten minutes long and factor in a few extra minutes for laughing or cheering (hopefully)! Having the responsibility of the speech can seem stressful, but just remember to be yourself – after all, your personality and your friendship is why you were chosen! Here are some of our top best man speech ideas to get you started…
There are a multitude of ways you can open up for your best man’s speech, but whichever you choose, remember you want to get off on the right foot with the wedding crowd! After all, they’ve just sat through speeches from the bride, the father of the bride and sometimes the bride herself so will have been sitting down a while and not looking forward to a long, warbling speech! You could opt for starting with a joke:
Example one: “A wise old man once said to me that a best man’s speech should last only as long as it takes the groom to make love… so thank you ladies and gentlemen, and good afternoon…”
Or something a little more standard – starting with the thank yous to friends and family who made the wedding.
Example two: “On behalf of the bride and groom, I would like to thank everyone here for making their way to this lovely wedding, whether you have travelled from across the country or just across the road, the day wouldn’t be what it is without you here to celebrate it too.”
Or perhaps with an introduction. This can be an introduction about yourself – not everyone at the wedding will know who you are! And also, an introduction to your friendship with the groom.
Example three: “Welcome ladies and gentlemen, my name is Pete and I am the best man for the groom here today. We have been friends since I can remember, and I never imagined one day I would be standing here delivering a speech for his wedding.”
As often with these things, the worst part is getting started, so rather than seeing the best man’s speech as a hurdle, write some thoughts freely about how you know the groom and your relationship with them. Think of key things such as how you know them, how you met them, what the groom was like before he met the bride and how the couple met. Draw on these past experiences and try to incorporate some of them to your speech with a good bit of humour!
Example One: “Like all good friends, Paul and I have had our downs as well as our ups. I remember back to times when a petty argument would arise from nowhere. Then Paul would call me smelly, and I’d call him fart head. And then it would spiral out of all proportion and we’d each end up running home in tears. But sure enough, the next day, Paul would drop me an email from work and we’d make up. As good mates do, however old.”
Example Two: “Of course, our friendship goes back much further than that, to primary school in fact. There was something about Paul’s cheeky face that always cheered his classmates, so our first teacher gave him a special place in class where we could all see him. He was everyone’s favourite … until the PTA approved the budget for a real gerbil and he was let out of the cage and sent back to his desk.”
Example three: “Paul, in our time at college I’ve seen you do some pretty nerve-racking things. Like that time you sat that exam having done no revision whatsoever. Or the time you re-sat that exam having done no revision whatsoever. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you as nervous as you were today. But then, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so happy either. Congratulations buddy!”
When writing your best man’s speech, make sure you don’t just have a list of points read from a slip of paper. It needs to be interesting and engaging so try and turn it into a story. Choose anecdotes that can fit in and support your points to help tie everything together and make it flow.
Don’t just say, “the groom is a great and loyal friend” – back this up with how he has been a loyal friend. Perhaps draw on one of your experiences in the past or something he has done for the bride. If you don’t know stories about his past, ask family members and friends to put pieces together. This adds context and really makes your best man’s speech one to remember.
Example One: “Now, Justin has always taken great pride in his appearance. Some people have even said he is vain, I never believed this… until the morning we got to the airport to fly off for his stag weekend, he seemed to have a glow about him. All the boys were asking him if he had been using tanning lotion. Justin denied it profusely, but after another pint and a lot of abuse he tried to fob us off with the excuse that he was in such a rush when he got up that in his haste he had mistakenly put Beccy’s moisturiser on which had tanning lotion in it. Suffice to say he was set upon until he finally admitted that he bought the stuff himself.”
Example two: “As I did only meet Paul a few years ago, I’ve had to rely on his own account of earlier years. Apparently, the young Paul Wilson was an exceptionally gifted child. He sat his A-Levels while his contemporaries were doing the 11-plus, then concentrated on his first novel, which he published at the age of 15. I still want to see that Booker Prize trophy by the way, Paul.”
Example three: “I have known Justin all my life. He has always loved sport especially football, from an early age it was obvious he was a natural defender, he loved to get stuck in.
It’s a shame he hasn’t carried that over to his working life – Richie has started calling him God at work because he never sees him and if he ever does any work it’s a miracle.”
Let’s face it, no best man’s speech is complete without more than a few punchy one-liners. When it comes to making jokes, you need to draw the line between being over the top funny and being downright boring. Keep the ‘dad jokes’ to a minimum and instead think of short and snappy anecdotes everyone will relate to and appreciate.
Example One: “Organizing the seating at a wedding reception can be a tricky business, prone to getting political. As best man, I offered to step in and help Paul and Linda. My idea was to use the wedding present list, and put those who bought the biggest items nearest the front, and work to the back, the smaller the gift. Whoever bought the toast rack won’t be able to hear this, as they’re out in the car park.”
Example two: “When it comes to describing the groom, the most reliable source of information would clearly come from the friends and family with whom he would share this special day. So, Graham, I wrote down a few words with which some of them used to describe you. I barely found a person who had a bad word to say. Although, I did find some.
When I heard belligerent, lazy, stubborn and obstinate I thought ‘hang on that’s a bit rough’ (maybe not entirely untrue but certainly a bit unnecessary for a best man’s speech) …………. but if his parents don’t know him then who does…”
Example three: “But before I sit down, let me round off by wishing the happy couple well. Don’t forget, you two, that the real relationship starts here – love may be blind but marriage is a proper eye-opener. The important thing, as you embark on married life, is not to get hung up on the small things, and to maintain a sense of humour. Linda’s already proved she has one by going through with today.”
While jokes are all well and good, you absolutely have to say at least one genuinely nice thing about the couple in your best man’s speech (particularly the groom to redeem yourself!) Be careful not to go soppy – it’s not a eulogy! You can talk about what a great friend the groom is to you, the best qualities of his and why you have been friends for so long.
For her, you can talk about your approval of his choice in bride, talk about how beautiful she looks (but don’t go too over the top!) and say how well they go together. You can also slip in a few pieces of advice for the new couple here, perhaps draw on your own experiences and compliment them on how they are a model couple and a great match.
Example one: “I think everyone will agree that the bride looks absolutely stunning today. And I’m not just saying that to avoid getting a clip round the ear from her new husband…”
Example two: “On a serious note, Rob’s been a brilliant friend over the years and it truly is an honour to be his best man. We’ve had some excellent times together and I know we will continue to do so. When Rob told me he had asked Hannah to marry him I was delighted, I wish them all the happiness in the world. I have no doubt in saying that he will be a fantastic husband and a brilliant son in law!”
After you have complimented the couple, talk a bit more about the bride – this is also great if you are friends with the bride as well as the groom as you can slip in some past experiences here (try and avoid humiliation with this one!) You can talk about how she has made his life better and how he’s a better person since he met/ got together with her
Example One: “And Janet (bride). She’s become a good friend too. Janet, thank you for rescuing me when I got a flat tyre and for going to the chilli place with Rich and me a million times even though you’re a vegetarian. You’re the best. And for introducing me to all the bridesmaids. Oh wait, you still need to do that.”
Example Two: “Linda is an extraordinary woman. Resilient and fun-loving. If anyone had told me Paul would find a woman who loves gourmet cooking, travelling to exotic places and debating the merits of the Arsenal back four as much as him, I wouldn’t have believed them. Yet here she is. You two are going to have quite a life together.”
Example Three: “I would like to congratulate Paul on his impeccable taste in choosing such a beautiful wife. And Linda, well done on saying ‘I do’ to my mate Paul, because, let’s face it – that must have been hard.”
Once you have added in all the necessary elements of your speech you’ve hopefully earnt some laughs, some tears and some applause, and as they say, you can have too much of a good thing so it’s best to sign off before you lose the crowd!
Try to end the speech on a high – you could read out messages from guests unable to attend (avoid any tasteless last-minute jokes about ex girlfriends/ strippers from the stag do here!) Round everything off with a toast; rather than trying to be funny, try to say something inspiring – perhaps recite a famous quote – that will have everyone on their feet in a standing ovation. Of course, sometimes you can’t resist popping a quick quip in there too…
Example one: “They say you don’t marry the person you can live with, you marry the person you can’t live without. That sums up [name] and [name] perfectly. So let’s raise our glasses to the happy couple.”
Example two: “Before we raise a glass to the newlyweds, I’d like to share a Pauline Thomason quote with you: ‘Love is blind – marriage is the eye-opener.’ To the happy couple!”
Example three: “[BRIDE] and [GROOM], before I finish, I’d like you to turn to face each other. You’re now looking into the eyes of the person who is statistically most likely to murder you. To the bride and groom!”
At the end of the day, you have been chosen as the best man because you are you. Try to incorporate your personality, your friendship and your experiences into it and you can’t go wrong. After all, that is why you were chosen!
Stick to the points above if you need ideas for your best man’s speech and you’re guaranteed a speech that will flow as smoothly as the champagne! Just try to relax and enjoy yourself and think of what you’re doing for the groom – he’ll remember this forever so just be prepared and you’ll be fine!