It’s your best mates wedding and he’s asked you to give a speech. That’s a big ask, and I get it if you’re freaking out a little bit. It feels like the be all and end all of the whole day but actually it’s not as hard as you think to make a best man speech that not only wows the guests and keeps the mother of the bride happy, but will also be talked about for weddings to come.
Here’s are easy tips to make your best man speech something that will keep you in the groom’s good books for years.
1. Keep it Personal
You’re probably tempted to find a pre-written speech template and just fill in the blanks. Don’t this is actually the worst thing you can do. The happy couple asked you to give you a speech presumably because you are close to them and matter to them. You’ve made some memories together so use the speech to talk about that. Talk about the things that matter to you and the groom, don’t just read out a pre-written set of internet jokes you found on Google.
2. Keep it Original
You can buy whole books full of ‘best man jokes’; I know because my rivals sell them and make a lot more money than I do. But here’s the truth about those books. They suck! Yes you’ll get a laugh (at least if you manage to deliver the jokes correctly, a tough ask when you’re nervous and already 3 pints down) but they come with a whole load of problems on their own.
- Everyones heard them before
- A lot of them rely on being sexism or vulgarity. (The mother of the bride is watching you!)
- They show that you don’t have anything original to say
It’s not your job to be a comedian – that requires a lot more effort, research and childhood trauma. It’s your job to talk about the groom. So stick to stories about him. Talk about funny memories, stupid things he did as a kid or weird habits he has. Exaggerate his flaws, overplay his bald spot, rant about his inferior choice in football teams… but don’t just repeat a bunch of one-liners. A complete stranger from the street could do that, and I’m presuming you’re a little bit closer to the groom than a complete stranger.
3. Keep it Simple
This is my favourite tip. It’s the secret, not just of a great speech, but of all great writing; You should be able to sum up what you’re saying in one sentence; If you can’t then you’re trying to say too much. You’ll lose your train of thought, bore the guests and end up talking too long.
To give you an idea how this works let me share the key theme of some best man speeches I’ve worked on recently.
- John supports the wrong team and I’m going to use this speech to tell him why.
- Mark will always be an awkward 5 year old kid with an afro to me even if he can kick my butt now.
- I know all of Jamie’s secrets and he didn’t pay me enough to not share them with you
- Stephens approaches life the same way he approaches dirt racing and, in both, he normally ends up crashing.
Once you have your theme all you have to do is make sure your stories tie in with it. If you can’t make the stories fit then don’t tell them. This will tie your whole speech into a coherent whole which, believe it or not, makes you a lot more interesting to listen to an will keep the guests hanging on your every word.
4. Keep it Emotional
Look, I know you’re no softy. You’ve got no intentions of crying in the middle of your speech, especially as you’re trying to hit on one of the bridesmaids. But that doesn’t mean you have a robot. The best speaker’s understand the power of emotion and use it to their advantage. The groom means a lot to you? Then tell him that. You love how happy the bride has made him? Let her know. You’ve been through some really tough times and the Groom was the only reason you came out it ok? Share it with the guests!
Not only is the only chance you’re ever going to get but it will also make your speech ten times more powerful. Put some humanity in your toast and people will be buying you drinks all night long. And, trust me, that bridesmaid will be a lot more interested in you after you’ve made her tear up at your ‘beautiful words’.
5. Keep it short
Even if you can’t do any of the others, do this. Aim for 5-7 minutes. That’s about 700-1000 words. Go shorter if you want to, that’s fine too as long as you say what needs to be said. But don’t ever, ever speak for more than 10 minutes. It’s not your day and it’s not about you. And the longer you keep talking the less time people have to get the bar. So keep your speech focused and to the point and there’s more time for the father of the bride to start getting the rounds in.
Best man speeches don’t have to be hard, but it’s easy to make them hard. All you have to do is overthink them, fill them with irrelevant over used jokes, or try to fit in every single thing you can think of.
Instead, keep your speech personal, original, simple, emotional and short and you will win the crowd round every time.
Just don’t too good a job, or the groom will make you do a speech at his next wedding as well….