Even if you have experience of public speaking or being in the limelight, delivering a best man’s speech is no easy feat. When the expectation is for you to be funny and engaging, even the most confident of men can be left quaking in their boots at the mere thought of it. So, here are some great tips to help you deliver a speech that everyone will remember for all the right reasons.
Preparation is Everything!
First things first – get writing and allow yourself plenty of time. Don’t leave it until the last minute and risk being a complete jumble of nerves on the wedding day. As soon as the groom asks you to be his best man, do him the honour of taking the job seriously.
Remember, a well planned and written four or five minute speech will have much more impact than a twenty minute disjointed ramble. As always, quality is far better than quantity; you don’t have to embark on rewriting War and Peace. So, let’s take a look at some dos and don’ts to help you along the way.
Things you Should Say
If it’s a traditional wedding, there are a couple of things you should say. At the beginning of your speech thank the groom, on behalf of the bridesmaids, for his toast to them. Also, thank the hosts (on behalf of everyone) for putting on such a fantastic day. If you want to end with proposing your own toast, don’t replicate one that’s already been done. You could ask the guests to raise their glasses to the parents, to absent friends, or even to the bridesmaids or the bride and groom, but only if they haven’t been mentioned previously.
Things you Might Like to Say
A memorable best man’s speech is the perfect mix of humour and sincerity, so make sure you let all the guests know how you became friends. People will expect you to tell a few funny stories and include some friendly digs at the groom, but don’t humiliate him. Anecdotes from your school or Uni days, holidays, or pub outings are fine, but keep it clean. Complimenting the bride (and the bridesmaids) will always go down well and, if you’re absolutely stuck for ideas, reach for the wedding cards and read ones from the people who were unable to make it, or ones that are particularly funny or poignant.
Things to Avoid
You may be able to get away with a couple of cheesy one-liners, but don’t overdo it. Saying “It’s been an emotional day…even the cake is in tiers” is likely to produce groans rather than chuckles. Don’t tell any stories that would cause more embarrassment than humour. Remember, what may seem funny to you may not be at all funny to the bride’s parents. Talking of the bride…do not, under any circumstances, mention any of the groom’s previous girlfriends. Try to avoid inside jokes (the guests won’t have a clue what you’re talking about) and above all else, don’t swear. Oh…and don’t get drunk before your big moment!
Practice Makes Perfect!
When you’ve written your speech, make sure you read it out loud a few times to make sure it sounds natural and you’re not stumbling on any awkward phrases, because what often works on paper can sound unnatural or odd when spoken. Just try to write naturally, exactly as you speak. It’s also important to slow down, speak clearly, and don’t race through it. Remember to pause and remember to look at your audience – nobody wants to see your head buried in notes.
Above all else, take a breath, relax, and try to enjoy the moment! Good Luck!