Guest post from writer Joe Forster
I’ve done a few speeches so I figured I’d post this. First, a quick formula that I like to follow in the form of an outline for the speech, the broad topics that I like to cover.
Outline For a Best Man Speech
Introduce yourself and how you know the bride and groom, something like, “Hi for those of you who don’t know me I’m Bob, I went to highschool with John we’ve been friends for 14 years.”
Thank the parents, not only for having you there and putting on the wedding, but for raising two awesome people and putting them out in the world. After the intro, the easy segue into this part is “The first thing I want to do is thank Mr. and Mrs. whomever…”
3. Tell a Story about the Groom
Tell a story about the groom, this is the best chance to be funny but if you aren’t typically funny don’t worry about making jokes, nothing is worse in a speech than a bad joke, a bad joke is worse than a boring speech, it’s worse than a nervous speech, it can really kill your confidence. For me, I tell a funny story here and there and then usually a funny comment on the story, but it’s also a great chance to tell a story about the groom being a great person, and say something really heartfelt.
4. Tell a Story about the Bride & Groom
Tell a story about the bride and groom, one where they met or the first thing he said to you about her, when you knew she was the one for him, or just a time they were awesome together. Again, if you’re funny a joke works well here, but it’s definitely not needed.
Offer congratulations, good luck, and continued support. This is where you say something really heartfelt, even corny as long as it’s not too much of a cliche. My last speech ended along the lines of “how everyone is trying to find someone they can live the rest of their lives with, but these two found someone they couldn’t live the rest of their lives without” (ugghh) how beautiful. Use something specific to them, and don’t worry about being sappy, it’s a wedding.
Other Rules That Can Be Helpful
- You usually go on after the maid of honor and the father of the bride… you are not going to do as well as them, they are always insanely well prepared and sometimes they shed a touching tear or two. Keep your speech short, should be the shortest of the night. 2-3 minutes is the sweet spot. 5 is the absolute max if you’re a great speech giver. Also it might go without being said, but your main job is to make the groom look incredibly cool. Try and convey how much you like him and his bride to be.
- DO NOT do any jokes about creaky beds, friction in the sheets, or consummation of the marriage. Everyone has heard them before, they aren’t funny, and a couple dopes might laugh but most people will feel awkward.
- Come sort of prepared. Don’t write down the whole speech, just write down the bullet points and speak from the heart about the bullet points. Pulling out a sheet of paper looks very lame, but going on and on because you keep remembering stories is even worse. Go up there thinking something along the lines of “intro, thanks, story about John where he did this, story about John and his wife when they did that, funny joke I made, touching closing.”
- I know I’ve said it before, but do not be obsessed with being funny. If you’re funny in your day to day life, be funny. I tell two or three jokes in a speech usually. If you aren’t funny, don’t worry about it, ‘awws’ are just as good as ‘hahas’ so be heartfelt instead. Bad jokes ruin everything.
- How much booze before? This is a huge one and it’s very dependent on who you are. Probably best not to be completely sober, it’s better to be loose up there, but the most important rule is not to be drunk. Have a couple drinks to calm your nerves, but I’ve seen the groom ask the best man to stop before, it’s ugly, be very careful not to get too drunk.
So that’s a quick little rundown, I hope it helps a few people. Being chosen as a best man is a huge honor and says a lot about the kind of person you are, it’s important to have a good quick speech, and then sit down. Tell the bride she looks beautiful almost right at the beginning. NO INSIDE JOKES! Practice your speech out loud a few times and relax.