Published on Dec 12, 2017
The speech is undeniably the biggest task facing the best man. It’s a big moment and all eyes are on you to deliver some entertainment amid the romance. There’s no doubting that this can be tough. So, if your best man’s speech is in a week, month or year, here’s our template to help…
Remember, this ceremony isn’t all about you. Your speech is one part of a much larger occasion. Keep your speech short and snappy, ideally under 1000 words (that’s about 6-7 minutes of talking). Try to remember your school/university days and put some structure into this speech like you would with an academic or work presentation. Lead the audience on a journey through the highs – and embarrassing lows – of your friendship, but make sure you don’t drift off on a confusing tangent.
Write down all of the best memories that you have and then go through your list and decide what to keep and what to ditch. If you have a few months until the big day, why not start a notes file on your phone or record voice memos whenever you remember something so that you have a collection to come back to.
The best man’s speech is ultimately supposed to be a fun experience – with a few blushes and laughs and, ultimately, a positive end. Remember to end on a sincere note to bring it all back to the right celebratory tone for the day.
While you will have been a big part of the day and the groom’s life, not everyone will know who you are. So, it’s important to introduce yourself briefly. Then, however, before you dive straight into the speech, it’s important to thank everyone for attending, including personal mentions for the bridesmaids and key guests at the top table.
After this, you’re free to crack a quick quip to get everyone in the mood for some fun.
After the ice-breaker it’s time to start getting personal about the groom. Explain how you met, how long you’ve been friends and how much he means to you. Then progress onto some funny stories about him. Think about the trouble you both got into whilst growing up, some drunken mistakes or some ridiculous outfit that he was ever so proud of. You might well have built up some material during the stag do. Try to keep this ‘PG’ rated though, you need to be wary of the fact you have a mixed audience of different ages, political views and ideas. Don’t be too self-referential either – not everyone will be aware of the in-jokes you and the groom have shared. It’s good to remember that this is his big day and, however funny it might be to bring up some embarrassing stories, don’t completely wring him out to dry (especially if you haven’t had your wedding yet and there’s a chance of reprisals). This is after all, supposedly, the best day of his life.
After you’ve got your laughs, it’s time to change the mood. Begin to explain how proud you are of your best mate, how far he’s come in the time you have been together and highlight some of his achievements. How has he affected your life choices and made you into a better person?
The next part leads on from the last topic but introduces the third party in your ‘bromance’ – the groom’s partner. How has their presence improved his life. What did he say to you after their first date and how does he describe them now? It’s always good to pop in a compliment or two too.
After extolling the virtues of the groom, try to sign off in style to end on a high. You might also want to read out messages from guests who were unable to attend – a tradition at many wedding ceremonies. You could update the tradition and include video messages – it’d be a great surprise to see a relative living abroad or an old friend pop up on screen. Some people even pay for celebrity messages too.
Finally, perform a toast to the bride and groom, have a big old swig of your drink and settle down to enjoy the rest of the evening!
Contact the groom’s parents and get some funny pictures and videos of the main man throughout his life. This works particularly well when you have been in his life since childhood so that you’ll have lots of snaps of you both together whilst growing up. This can be used as the framework for the speech or could just be a nice addition to be playing in the background.
If you want to keep it short and snappy you can put together a collection of jokes about the groom to begin with. This is quite a good idea if there’s more than one best man, giving you the chance to establish a double act routine.
If you want to do something really different, and you have some sort of musical bone in your body, you might be able pull off a rap. Download an instrumental version of the groom’s favourite tune and put together a personalised song. This can be one of the funniest ways to deliver your speech – but is one of the hardest to pull off. It definitely requires a lot of practice before the big day.
Broaden your literature skills and put together a heartfelt poem filled with treasured anecdotes about the groom’s life and your friendship.
You, hopefully, have plenty of time ahead of you to practice your speech and you’re going to need it. Weddings are remembered for years to come – and you don’t want your part to be brought up for a bad reason. Enunciate your words loudly and clearly and practice any words or names you’re unfamiliar with. It’s up to you whether you use notes or not. It’ll be more natural without notes but, if you’re nervous, it’s fine to have some written cues to help you along. This isn’t a business pitch, you won’t be too harshly judged for needing notes.
Keep the swearing to a minimum (ideally leave it out completely). There will be a vast range of ages at the ceremony and some words/phrases may not be quite as funny to grandma or the six-year -old as they are to you.
There will be plenty of chances to bring up hilarious stories about ex-girlfriends, ex-lovers and a couple of one night stands but this would not be the place for it. If you have a story that really does need to be told, censor the ex out.
A wedding is a time to drink and be merry but you need to have your wits about you if you are going to perform on the big night. There’s nothing wrong with a sip of Dutch courage but you don’t want to make a fool of yourself. Save the drinks until after the speech.
If you have any more suggestions for our best men, leave them in the comments below!