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What To Say In A Best Man’s Speech

best manYou’ve climbed the greasy pole and been awarded the highest honour a grown-up (ish) friendship has to bestow – Best Man status. Cool, but suddenly you’ve got a whole load of responsibilities, from organising the stag and learning how to do up a bowtie, to delivering a speech…

Us writers may not be known for our sociability or our snappy dressing, but we can certainly help with the speech part. As experts who’ve worked with flustered menfolk all over the world, we know exactly what a best man needs to say to keep everyone happy. Everyone is looking to you to bring the anecdotes, the controversy – within reason – and the belly laughs. No pressure, then?

Don’t panic, we’ve got everything you need to know covered…

(*Of course, if you’re looking for more than inspiration, check out our bespoke speech writing service or best man speech templateThe Speechy team are five-star rated for a reason!) 

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SO WHAT DOES A BEST MAN SPEECH NEED TO INCLUDE IN HIS SPEECH?

Well, in a nutshell…

  • An icebreaker – introduce yourself and your relationship with the groom
  • Some witty anecdotes that define the groom’s character
  • A genuine tribute to your best mate
  • Compliments to the person he’s just married
  • An inspiring toast

Easy! Ok, let’s break it down.

best man tribute to spouse

INTRODUCE YOURSELF

This is important because, as much as you like to think you are the centre of your mate’s universe, chances are he has a whole lot of aunties, uncles and work colleagues in the crowd who won’t know you from Adam. Granted, your name may actually be Adam.

For a best man, making your audience laugh is a no brainer. Inspiring some sniggers right away will relax you and them. So you might want to go in with the humour right away with the introductions. You can do this in three ways:

  • Bigging yourself up (‘I’m Jamie, the groom’s more successful, better looking friend/brother’)
  • Putting yourself down (‘I’m Tom, and I think Amanda may have nominated me as best man because I’m the most boring of all Nick’s friends and therefore least likely to cause offence with my speech’)
  • Describing the scenario where you and the groom first met (‘It’s not often a beautiful relationship blossoms out of bottom-set maths but that’s where this love story started. But enough about me and Leo…’)

WITTY ANECDOTES

A great best man speech sets up a theme from the outset and uses anecdotes to build on that throughout, before tying it all in before the toast. The theme could be something to do with the groom’s character – responsible financial advisor by day, raving kebab monster on the weekends; the gym obsessed beefcake who cries at Disney movies; the boy’s school who finally learned how to talk to women without blushing, and even asked one to marry him…’

Use stories to sketch out a narrative that supports your theme. If you’ve known the groom since childhood, it works well to give humorous examples from then and now, to show how much he has/hasn’t changed.

A word of caution – less is more when it comes to fleshing out the speech. One or two hilarious anecdotes are more powerful than reams of weak ones.

a genuine tribute

A best man speech should be 80% roast, 20% sincerity. Amongst the shallow or ridiculous times, you must have shared some poignant moments with the groom. Or at least recognise him as a solid guy who deserves a line or two telling him and everyone there why you think so.

COMPLIMENT HIS NEW SPOUSE

Whether you see them as the hero who finally stopped your mate wearing that godawful jeans and blazer combo or the person who stole them away from your fantasy football league, it’s just good form to give the groom’s ‘other half’ a mention. Sorry to remind you that’s not you anymore.

If you don’t know their partner all that well, use this for more comedy. ‘He’s been keeping you locked up’; ‘I’ve always wanted to meet the person who could convince Kian to stop dressing like Ricky Gervais’; ‘we haven’t met often but the groom talks about you more than Rugby Union so I feel like I know you intimately…’

cheers speech

AN INSPIRING TOAST

Raising a glass ‘to the bride and groom’ feels a bit old now doesn’t it? Besides, there might not be a bride to toast. A modern best man’s speech should go for a line that captures the mood of your narrative, e.g. ‘To a lifetime of love, laughter, and ugly crying at Disney movies.’

OTHER BEST MAN SPEECH ETIQUETTE

As long as you remember all of the above, your best man speech will go down a storm. Other things you can do to improve your delivery are:

  • Avoid too much alcohol beforehand (Dutch courage may be a thing, but so is slurring your words and forgetting your lines)
  • Don’t feel the need to go off-book. By all means memorise your speech but keep some printed cards handy in case you draw a blank under pressure.
  • Speak up. Check out the acoustics of the venue and get a mic if needs be, or at least practice projecting your voice so the tables at the back can appreciate your jokes
  • Speaking of jokes… DON’T get yours off the internet. Authentic humour comes from knowing your subject – and what do you know better than the groom’s most embarrassing stories?
  • That said, try and read the room ahead of time when deciding which anecdotes to include in your speech. The spicier ones might be a bit much, especially if there are elderly relatives and children present
  • If the newlyweds have kids together, make sure you give them a mention too (a good source of inspo is to consider how they are already showing signs of being like their parents)
  • Don’t feel burdened by best man speech etiquette, it’s more to support than restrict you

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU SHOULDN’T SAY IN A BEST MAN SPEECH?

  • Some best men assume it’s their role to compliment the bridesmaids. Tell them they look stunning if you really want to, but as this is covered by the groom, we’d advise to focus on the roasting and toasting
  • Traditional wedding etiquette has the best man acknowledging the groom’s compliments on behalf of the bridesmaids, but clearly times have changed so avoid speaking on behalf of any women in the room!
  • In fact, you don’t need to include thank yous at all. Except thanking the groom for being an excellent friend and source of comedy for as long as you’ve known him. Forget wdding waffle like talking about the venue
  • Other things to leave off are talk of the stag do – best that anything that really embarrasses the groom stays in Prague – and any mention of exes – just, no.
  • Follow our wedding speech rules to make sure your speech isn’t boring, cliched, or offensive!

How Speechy Can Help You...

speechy with shaiGive us a call if you want to find out more about how we work, the services we offer and our DELIGHT GUARANTEE.

We’re happy to give you 15 mins of our time with no obligation to work with us.

WhatsApp us, call Heidi on 07971 224 245email hello@speechy.co.uk or request a callback.

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Published by Little, Brown and written by Speechy's founder, Heidi Ellert-McDermott, this modern speech guide is a must-have for all nearlyweds.

 

Expert advice on speech planning, writing and
delivery, as well as speech examples written by
the Speechy wordsmiths and advice from
celebrity wedding influencers.

 

Ditch the Googled gags and cheesy clichés,
and make your speeches a wedding day highlight.

 

Out 9th March 2023

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