Expectations are high for a Best Man’s Speech. Higher than Sam Smith’s vocal range after he’s been kicked in the nether regions; higher even than Keith Richard’s alcohol intake in 1968 (a vintage year).
The good news is expectations can be exceeded. Best men speeches have become a bit clichéd over the last decade, especially with the amount of templates knocking around online.
If you’re creative and clever then you can still be a revelation. You can make the newlyweds smile, the bridesmaids interested and the compliments coming past midnight. Just follow our advice…
Best man’s speech – Dos
1 – Start writing your speech now
Well as soon as possible at least. You know those funny dudes on Have I Got New For You; that’s not all ad libs you know, they’ve actually thought about it and spent hours trying to sound witty and off the cuff. Seeing as they’re professional comedians and you’re, well, not – we suspect you may take longer. Start writing your first draft about two months before W-day. Once you’ve started ideas will keep popping into your head. Revise the speech after the stag do (there may be more content).
2 – Dig up material
Imagine you’re that bloke off Time Team (better looking version of course). Get your waterproof on and get digging up the dirt.
Email your mates and ask for their favourite groom stories. Ask the groom’s family for embarrassing childhood stories and, better still, photographic evidence. Find out if the bride is giving a speech and if not, get her on side to spill a few secrets.
As well as the embarrassing stuff, remember to also get the evidence that the groom’s a damn fine specimen of a bloke too.
Nope we don’t care if the groom is a big Frankie Boyle fan or whether you bonded over a shared love of the inappropriate. There’s grannies out there. Play nice.
Also some best men go too far with trying to embarrass the groom. Extreme teasing yes. Proper humiliation no.
Absolutely no mention of exes. Read our funny guide.
4 – Research best man speech etiquette
We know, we know. It’s dull but with every wedding speech there’s a few ‘to dos’. Luckily you’ve got the least to worry about when it comes to traditional etiquette, but here’s a rough overview.
- Start by introducing yourself and how you know the groom.
- Quickly progress to taking the mick out of groom. Make sure you’re not standing near him.
- Then be really nice about him (see below)
- Remember to be nice about his wife too (even if she has ruined cider-Sundays)
- And be hopeful about their future (even if it is just hoping you’ll be part of it)
Okay, maybe sweet is the wrong word. Very butch and brave and, er, nice?
A best man’s speech should be a heart felt tribute to a true friend. Say the sort of things you’d only utter in a curry house at 2am.
6 – Write a unique best man’s toast
The father of the bride stole the ‘health and happiness’ thing but that doesn’t mean you can’t raise a toast to the newlyweds. In fact it would be strange not to (it does, after all, mean another top up of Champagne).
Find something unique to toast whether it’s ‘the coolest couple this side of the Hog’s Head’ or to ‘decades of dancing in your living room to ABBA and other musical atrocities’.
Best man’s speech – Don’ts
7 – Take longer than eight mins
Word of warning. We once witnessed a best man give a speech that took over an hour to deliver. He started to get heckled.
Editing is an art. Jokes are funnier shorter. Same applies for books by Will Self.
8 – Feel you need to thank anyone
Common mistake but remember you’re not hosting. In fact, people should really be thanking you.
9 – Use a speech template
Yes you might have laughed at some jokes you found on them but if you found that template others will have to.
Your mate obviously rates you. Make the effort to write something original. (Or at least get some professionals to do that for you, nudge nudge, wink wink)
10 – Feel worried about using cue cards
You know why Stephen Fry seems so eloquent when he’s hosting the BAFTAs? It’s because he’s reading. Yes it might be an autocue but we’re guessing you can’t afford one of those. Little bits of card you can fit in your pocket will do nicely.
Certainly try to memorise your speech but have it there as back up. Feel free to look at it regularly but try to maintain eye contact with the guests. Smile. Add pauses. Ad lib.
Finally one more big DO.
Check us out. We can create a witty, thoughtful and memorable speech for you without you breaking out in a sweat or blowing the stag do budget.
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Other useful best man articles
Best man speech examples (NOT for inspiration – just good to know you can do better!)