STEP 1 – PLANNING
A great joint speech needs planning. The good news is the planning is best done over a few beers.
Yes, this is the part where you two best men get together and reminisce, or as we like to think of it, gather the evidence.
HUNT THE STORIES – Get together all your favourite groom stories, mainly the embarrassing ones but also ones that prove a point (e.g. he’s intimidated by anything adventurous or terrified of spending money).
See if you can spot a theme amongst the stories – for example, is it that he easily gets into trouble or could it be that he keeps missing amazing opportunities? A theme will help bring your speech together when you write it.
GET INSIGHTFUL – As Homer Simpson wisely said ‘It’s funny ’cause it’s true‘.
Yes, it’s time for you to hunt down the truth – which basically means spotting the groom’s fundamental flaws and identifying his weird quirks. Dissect both the groom’s physical appearance and his personality. While you’re there, compose a critique of his style, habits, abilities, and intellect.
Try to be as specific as you can. Saying he looks ‘a bit weird’ will not get as big a laugh as you pinpointing his odd ‘T-Rex sized arms’. Or saying he’s ‘overly polite’ will not be as funny as saying he ‘eats a burger with a knife and fork’.
Find the things that people will recognise as ‘him’ but never thought to articulate. And if that sounds like hard work, well, at least there are two of you to share the burden of responsibility.
FIND SOME GOOD STUFF TOO – Surprisingly easy to forget but lurking in your speech somewhere, there has to be a genuine, warm-hearted tribute to your mate.
Don’t rely on adjectives. Prove, don’t tell – so find the anecdotes that show the groom’s attributes in action.
BRING IT TOGETHER – Here, you need to filter out the stories and find the comedy gold. Remember one excellent anecdote or line is much better than three average ones. Be ruthless. If a story takes too long to explain or feels like a deviation from the main thrust of the speech, it’s probably not worth it.
Of course, a great speech isn’t just a collection of funny anecdotes, a great speech has a narrative arc, so make sure you consider this as you select your content.
Between you, decide how you’ll theme and structure your material. Will it be ‘The Bride’s Guide To How The Groom Works’ or could it be ‘A Groom’s Guide To Being Husband Material’? Once you decide how to theme your speech, the writing of it gets so much easier…
Read our Best Man Advice to get a better idea of how to find your theme. A great joint speech needs planning. This is not something you can just wing on the day.
The good news is the planning is best done over a few beers. Yes, this is the part where you two best men get together and reminisce, or as we like to think of it, gather the evidence.
STEP 2 – BASIC RULES
A joint speech is always going to have its own unique flourishes, but you still need to know the best man basics.
DURATION – A standard best man speech should be 1.300 and delivered in about 8-10 minutes. As a double act you have a bit more leniency but still no more than 1.500 words, please. No one ever listened to a speech and thought ‘if only it were longer’.
ETIQUETTE – Unlike other wedding speeches, you don’t need to thank people for being there or welcome everyone to the wedding. Others have done ‘the boring bits’.
The bulk of the speech will just be stories about the groom and why he and his bride/groom make such a perfect couple.
And, yes, one thing you have to include in your speech is saying how gorgeous the bride looks.
STEP 3 – WRITING
THE WRITING PROCESS – You could sit together and try to write it, throwing jokes back and forth like a Simpsons writer’s room, but co-writing is hard!!!
At Speechy, we always get at least two writers to look at our client’s speeches but we have a lead writer and then another editing and trying to improve on their first draft.
This allows one of you to get the structure and basic content together without you both having to argue over wording as you go (which, trust us, is painful and could put an end to any happy banter!).
Once best man#1 has got the first draft together, get best man #2 to add their thoughts, before you get back together again and try to ‘punch it up’.
JOINT SPEECH STRUCTURE – Writing a joint speech is akin to writing a script. You need to allocate specific lines to each of you, alternating delivery between you both (e.g. a paragraph or two each at a time).
Start thinking about how you can banter off each other and really turn your speech into a double act. All of the little ‘ad hoc ad libs’ you see in traditional comedy double acts seem as though they’re not scripted – but guess what – they are!
So script your funny throws to each other, your incredulous responses, and your ‘spontaneous’ one-liners. This is what brings your speech to life and makes the most of you being a double act.
PROPS – A joint speech is one of the few speech occasions where we drop our ‘no props’ rule. This is because a joint best man speech is already pitched as being somewhat shambolic in its delivery (there’s a charm to this if you get it right!)
Don’t feel compelled to needlessly hunt down a prop (or present a Powerpoint presentation of the groom’s hairstyles through the different eras!) but if you want to utilise that perfect accessory, make sure one of you is put in charge of organising them. Decide who will be ‘the glamourous assistant’ on the day.
STEP 4 – REHEARSE
Allocate a couple of sessions so you can rehearse together. As there may be less for you to remember than a typical speech (presumably you’ll have half each), you may decide to go ‘off book’. This is totally up to you, but if you do, make sure you have prompt cards with you on the big day – just in case.
Ironically, it’s essential you rehearse the ‘ad libs’. Sure, there will be more on the day, but a shake of the head, or a well-timed eye-roll can add just as much laughter as a comedy line. Remember, you’re both on show throughout the speech. Even if you’re not speaking, you should be performing.
STEP 5 – DELIVER
AVOID ALCOHOL BEFORE YOU DELIVER – You might think you get funnier but you don’t. That’s a FACT.
Between us, we’ve seen several best men escorted away from the mic and it’s cringy not comedy – so definitely no more than two units before delivery.
LAUGH – People respond best to people having fun.
Smiling and laughter are scientifically proven to be infectious – so go for it. Laugh at your partner’s jokes. Laugh if you fluff a line. Laugh at the groom’s face.
Basically, laugh and have fun up there and you should be fine!