How to Deliver a Great Best Man Speech

September 15, 2016

The best man speech is a huge part of the wedding, make sure you make yours memorable! There are many things to think about while preparing your speech; who are the audience, how big is the audience, how long should the speech be, should I be telling jokes and so on. Below are best man speech tips on dealing with these questions and guidelines you can use to write your great best man speech.

Best Man Speech Tips

Tip #1: Do your Homework & Plenty of Practice

Being prepared is the key to any successful speech. Write down bullet points of you key message, jokes, quotes etc. Spend time revising your speech using this Guide to Public Speaking, adding in literary techniques, noting tactical pauses and best ways to end a speech. Once the speech is written, spend hours practising it, the more you practise the less nervous you will be and the more natural you will sound. Don’t learn your speech off by heart, learn some key points and improvise around them. This will make you sound less wooden and monotonic.

Tip #2: Open by Expressing Gratitude

Thank the ones that made the day possible, the happy couple’s parents (single them out by name) and offer a toast to them for raising two fine people. Don’t forget to thank the audience as well. It’s a good idea to say something about how beautiful the bride looks and what a remarkable woman she is – this is guaranteed to go down well with everyone.

Tip #3: Introduce Yourself

Many people at the wedding won’t know who you are. Briefly say who you are and why you’re such good friends with the groom.

Tip #4: Speak Confidently

You know the groom better than most, so take the chance to introduce the real him to everyone. Talk slowly and clearly, taking time to pause and take deep breaths. Have a glass of water you can sip on during the speech, to help calm the nerves and break up the speech.

Tip #5: Get a Joke in Early

Getting a joke in early will help relax the mood. Spend time preparing the right joke – funny but not offensive, something that will appeal across all age groups, and make sure you learn it by heart. Self-deprecation can go a long way, so it might be something told at your own expense. The audience will expect the speech to be somewhat funny so starting strongly will help engaging the audience.

Tip #6: Tell a Story

Every great man speech includes a story, which could be how you met the bridegroom or a funny incident which you both went through. You can also tell a story about when you realised your friend had found his other half, or about when your friend would complain about being single for so long. Tread carefully when telling these and don’t cross the line with them!

Tip #7: Stay away from Controversial Topics

Anything embarrassing or offensive should be avoided by all means. Although this is common sense, once you get up there with a mic in front of you and a crowd waiting to see what you have to say, the situation might be so tense that cracking a crude joke or sharing an embarrassing story may seem perfect to lighten the mood. You’ll be left with a frozen audience that doesn’t want to laugh at the expense of the bridegroom.

Tip #8: Best to Avoid Past Relationships

Try to avoid talking about the groom’s past relationships or reveal what you thought of the bride when you first laid eyes on her. Winking at the bride with comments such as “looking forward to the honeymoon” is absolutely out of the question when writing your best man speech!

Tip #9: Keep it short

Ideally, a best man’s speech should be no more than 1,000 words. The guests have already listened to the bride’s father and maid of honour speeches and are minutes away from eating the cake, so shoot for five minutes tops.

Tip #10: Summarise your Friend’s Good Character

After the bulk of your speech, make sure you list the essential qualities of the groom which you have discovered over the years. You want the audience to think you're a nice guy and convince the bride she picked the right man to marry!

Tip #11: End with a quote

Wrap everything you have said up nicely by ending with a quote, such as: “Giving a best man speech is a choice. And, these two people have clearly chosen!”

Tip #12: Propose a toast

It’s time to raise your glass and toast for a lifetime of happiness and love for the couple… or something to this effect.

Use these best man speech tips to deliver a powerful speech people will remember for a very long time.

Best Man Speech – Things to Avoid

  • Inside jokes - you and a handful of people might find them funny, no one else will
  • Getting drunk – even though it may be tempting to calm the nerves beforehand
  • Panic and get too nervous – the key to avoiding this is to practice the speech until you really know it
  • Waffling – keep to 5 minutes of good quality content
  • Reading straight from an A4 sheet – take bullet points written on cue cards instead
  • Speaking too quietly or loudly – record your voice and play it back to yourself to hear what you sound like
  • Discussing complex topics – the audience will be left clueless if you talk about his latest PhD work

How to Write a Best Man Speech – Detailed Guide

The Opening

Like any form of public speaking, you need to have your audience on side right from the beginning. Be confident. After all, you know the groom better than most in the room and your best man speech is the perfect chance to introduce him to everybody else!

  • Introduce yourself and say why you are best friends with the groom.
  • Outline your speech (briefly).
  • Feel free to improvise rather than sticking to the script you have prepared at home. Maybe something struck you as moving or funny during the ceremony. Mention it!
  • Praise the bride early on (personality, looks, etc.) to buy good will right from the start and set everyone she knows at ease.
  • Consider self-deprecation as it is something that will appeal across all age groups and it a great way to get a joke in early.

The Main Section

The important thing to remember is that the speech is not about you but the groom. Therefore, it’s okay if your best man speech paints a picture of your relationship with the groom but you need to concentrate on what a great guy he is, so everything you say has to revolve around that.

Be pleasant and nice and give your best man speech a flow. Every section and paragraph should run smoothly, jokes should be brief, and each story (you could also include other friends’ favourite memories, too) should reveal some more of the groom’s character and life.

The Conclusion

So, by now you will have used all the funny stories and are ready to WOW your audience with something emotional that will make their eyes water. You can say something about love and philosophise a little. It is also a good time to emphasise the love story of the bridegroom. End your best man speech by saying how one completes the other and how happy you know one will make the other as they walk the paths of married life together. Your end to the best man speech should be as noteworthy as your opening comments so don’t fade away.

Remember

There is no need to try too hard to be formal or present yourself as someone you are not. It’s important to just be yourself. This includes not necessarily following your prepared speech exactly. After all, these best man speech tips were written to provide you with a guide. Your natural mannerisms and voice is what will make the difference so make it sincere, personal and if you talk from the heart, your best man speech will surely be golden!

For additional examples and best man speech tips, check out this website – Best Man Example Wedding Speeches.