Top Tips for Writing the Best Man’s Speech
It’s a great moment when your best friend asks you to be his best man. You have a feeling of importance and it’s nice to know that you are his most trusted friend. The moment doesn’t last long though, and it will very quickly dawn on you that in the near future you are going to have to make a very special speech to him and to all of his family and friends on one of the most important days in his life.
All of the best men I have spoken to agree that the best man speech is one of the hardest things they have ever had to do. It’s a very nerve racking time as most people are not used to talking to large groups. Even those who are well versed in public speaking can find the sense of occasion a little unsettling. The important thing to remember is the best man speech has a purpose for traditional reasons, not just for just telling some funny stories about your friend (although these are usually welcome!).
The advice below will give you some guidance as to how you should prepare for the speech, what should be included and also what should be avoided!
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!
The most important thing is to prepare the speech well in advance. You will be surprised how long it takes to write and perfect. How you want to do this is up to you, most will do it on a computer and then shorten it down into bullet points which they will have on cue cards. Some people may not need cue cards but most will find it very useful as the last thing you want is to go blank on the day and not have any helpful reminders!
Keep it short and sweet. The speech doesn’t need to be any longer than 5-7 minutes, 10 at most. Any longer than this and you run the risk of losing your audience’s attention. Don’t forget that they will have also heard another couple of speeches before yours from the bride’s father and from the groom himself.
3. Things not to forget
As the speech is a traditional part of the wedding it is important not to forget that there are a few things you need to say. Most importantly you should thank the bridesmaids and the maid of honour/chief bridesmaid. You should make a point of telling them how good they look in their dresses and thank them for all their work for the wedding. It is also a good idea to thank whoever it is that paid for the wedding and for providing a wonderful day for everyone to enjoy. Don’t mention money but just make sure they know the day is appreciated by all of the guests. You can also thank other people if you would like to. This is optional but you may feel it is appropriate to thank more people, especially if they have had a lot of input into the day. Finally make sure you make a big point about the bride and how lovely she looks in her wedding dress. This is an important part that you can’t forget! Remember a bride will never get fed up of being told how beautiful she looks on her wedding day!
4. Use props
If you want to you can use props such as photos, videos or things you may have collected with your friend. It is important to make sure all of these a suitable for all eyes that may be in the room including children. However funny something may be, if it’s inappropriate it will go down like a lead balloon!
5. Keep it appropriate
As mentioned above you need to make sure the speech is appropriate for all ages. Also bear in mind that some people will not find some things as funny as others so keep it high brow where possible. When writing the speech ask yourself whether you would be happy to read it in front of kids and grandparents. No matter how funny you think the joke or story is, avoid mentioning any ex-girlfriends as it is very likely the bride (and groom) will not find this funny on their wedding day!
6. Practise the speech (a lot!)
It is really important that you practise the speech and the timing as much as possible. The audience will be able to tell if you are unprepared and it could affect the enjoyment they get from the speech. Also you want to be able to do the speech from memory if possible and for most this will mean you have to practise it a lot to remember everything.
The final point to add is that you should try to enjoy it! Don’t worry about being nervous as it is completely normal. Try to embrace the whole experience and enjoy the reaction you’ll get from the audience.