The complete guide to delivering the perfect best man speech

wpid-Photo-20140828144929.jpg

© Phil Hawkesworth

The best man’s speech is the most anticipated of the whole wedding day. After the emotionally sappy speech from the Father of the Bride and the gushing speech from the overly loved up groom the guests are ready for some light relief.

That’s where you come in.

It’s your job to entertain the crowd and get them in the right mood for the evening party. And no, you can’t just do that by making them drink more.

Worry not though. With this guide you’ll have everything you need to write and deliver the perfect best man speech.


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First Remember your POSES

As with every speech there are 5 key things to remember before you write a word – your P.O.S.E.S.

Keep the speech Personal, Original, Simple, Entertaining and Short.

  • Personal – Make sure every part of your speech is something that you would say & truthful to who you are.
  • Original – Don’t just take an online speech template and add in the correct names. Also don’t just fill your speech up with other peoples jokes.
  • Simple – Stick to one thought at a time, and use short words and sentences. You want people to understand you, not be baffled by your brilliance.
  • Entertaining –  Make sure your speech is something you’d want to listen too. That way there’s a good chance others will too.
  • Short – No best man speech should be ever be more than 10 minutes. 5-10 minutes is the ideal length.

Don’t tell jokes!

Unless you’re a professional comedian don’t attempt to tell jokes – there is too much potential for things to go wrong. Professional stand-ups spend months honing their jokes in front of various crowds before they get laughs every time. You don’t have that luxury.

So how to get laughs without telling jokes?

Laughter - Quinn Dombrowski - Used under creative commons

© Quinn Dombrowski

  • Tell a funny story about the groom. Even if it’s not laugh out loud funny it will still make people smile.
    Every best man speech needs at least 2 stories but don’t over think this. The stories you told his girlfriend when you first met are perfect. (Just make sure they’re clean.)
  • Understatement – If the groom spends 18 hours every weekend fishing say “he’s a little keen on a fishing’. Then pause and let the guests finish the joke themselves.
  • Quotes – Ask other people to describe the groom. then quote their observations in your speech. For some reason quoting other people makes things a lot funnier.
  • Funny Pictures – If you’re using Powerpoint you can never go wrong with some (innocent) funny pictures of the groom.

Remember to say everything you need to

The best man’s speech follows a set structure, and, although you don’t have to obey the rules, you need to make sure that everything important is ticked off. It’s common to include the following

Pen and Paper

© Wufoo Team

  • Introduce yourself – Just because the groom thinks you’re a legend doesn’t mean you are. Say who you are, and how you know the groom.
  • Thank the organisers. This may include the people who funded the wedding – often the parents. This is best done by saying something like “I’d like to thank Mr and Mrs Brown for making this day possible,” rather than outright thanking them for paying.
  • Read out messages from anyone who couldn’t make the wedding.
  • Tell your stories. This is the fun bit! Embarrass the groom. He probably deserves it.
  • Mention how the bride and groom met, how he proposed and how she has improved him for the better.
  • Offer some life advice. Make it as serious or as hilarious as you like.
  • Say a few complimentary words about the bride.
  • Thank the bridesmaids – try not to flirt with them too much
  • Finally, lead the guests in a toast to the “bride and groom”.
  • When done, introduce the next speaker if there is one, then sit down and drain your beer.

Don’t be an idiot

This isn’t a night out with the lads. The kind of jokes that the groom finds hilarious after a few pints wont go down so well with the bride’s parents.

Think of it like this – If you can’t say it around your 4 year old nephew, you can’t say it at the wedding.

If you don’t have a 4 year old nephew then a) You’re missing out – get one and b) imagine that your grandmother is sat in the crowd and judging you.

If you don’t have a grandmother then use your imagination. I can’t go through your whole family, damn it.

Don’t get too drunk

Groom passed out at the wedding

One drink lubricates the vocal chords. Two stops the shakes. But be careful. You don’t want to start slurring your words or turn off the part of your brain that is thinking about your grandmother judging you.

Get your nerves under control

Everyone’s a little nervous when standing up to speak, but here’s 5 things a few things you can do to beat the shakes.

  1. Practice – The more you practice the less nervous you’ll be. If you can deliver the speech as confidently as having a conversation with the groom then you’re almost ready. Practice it ten times more to make sure.
  2. Stand up, pause and take a deep breath before you start speaking.
  3. Don’t expect perfection – You might stumble over the odd word or lose your place. Don’t worry. None of the guests will remember. If nothing else they’ve all had more alcohol than you.
  4. Accept your nervousness – It’s normal and expected.
  5. And finally remember, it will all be over in 10 minutes anyway.

Most importantly, try to enjoy it

Being the best man is a big responsibility, but it’s an honour as well. Your job is to give the groom a good day, and to be happy for him. But you’re also meant to be having fun. The groom wants you to have fun. The guests wants you to have fun. Even the bride wants you to have fun so as long as you don’t tell that one joke. You know the one I mean…

So try to have fun with your speech –  it’s the only time you’ll ever have this much free reign to embarrass the groom in front of so many people.

And once you’re done speaking, there’s only cake, dancing and alcohol to go. From that point on everything gets a whole lot better.


 Want more help? I can write your best man’s speech for you and give you full presentation notes.


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