Best Man Speech
Giving a best man speech is a little like being asked to kiss the Queen; it’s a great honor but nobody really wants to do it! If you have been asked to speak at a wedding, don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it looks. As long as you speak from the heart, and keep it simple and sweet, your best man speech will go perfectly.
Best Man Speech Structure
The best man speech format is pretty straightforward. The first part of the speech is geared towards getting guest attention. Ideally, the best man should have a great one liner to open up the best man speech. See our best man one liner examples for some inspiration. The next step is to introduce yourself personally and explain who you are for those who don’t know you. Make light of the occasion, maybe talk about the location, the idea of marriage or something regarding the ceremony. These are all good opportunities for amusing asides.
The next part of the best man speech structure is focusing on the groom. Being specific, this is the chance to poke some fun at the groom. Talk about your relationship with the groom, offering guests a funny and entertaining version of how you first met, your first impressions and why you’re still good friends now. Remember, it can’t all be comedy, you need to something nice about the groom.
Next, time for the bride. Don’t poke fun at her. Talk about how gorgeous she looks, how much you like her as a friend. This is a great time in the speech to talk about why the newly married couple will be so great together.
At this stage you’re coming towards the end of the speech. Get ready for your toast (see example best man toasts). You might want to give the bride and groom some sage advice, potentially an amusing observation about marriage. Finish finish up with a light-hearted toast to the bride and groom.
How To Write A Best Man Speech
Start off by writing down thoughts freely about the bride and groom and your relationship to them.
- How do you know them?
- Why did they choose you as best man?
- How would you describe each of them? What are the first five adjectives that come to mind?
- What was the groom like before he met the bride? How has he changed knowing her?
- How did they meet? How did the groom tell you about her?
- If you are married, you may wish to think about marriage advice you’ve received or have learned.
- Are there any particularly amusing anecdotes that illustrate who the bride and/or groom is?
- Read through this gallery of sample classic wedding toasts and highlight any that seem particularly appropriate to you.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to craft those ideas into a heartfelt and entertaining toast. You should have a great framework with which to work.
Best Man Speech Tips
There are some easy to follow tips when preparing your best man speech. Follow these for a seamless and great best man speech:
Be Prepared & Invest Time: Plan your speech ahead of time. Write it down, get ideas and start thingking about it early. There is nothing worse than a best man who walks into the wedding thinking he is going to speak off the cuff. It is obvious when you do that and it normally sucks, so don’t.
It Is About Your Friend & His Wife: It is so easy to come up with jokes and poke fun at your close buddy for 10 minutes. That’s no fun for the rest of the guests and while you’ll enjoy it, it doesn’t focus on what’s important, which is that your buddy just married the woman of his dreams. Think of stories from you and your buddy’s past that show what a great guy he is and remember that the e goal of the speech is to celebrate the couple and make them look good.
Stay Sober(ish): Liquid courage is great in moderation. Sure, have a few drinks to calm your nerves, but don’t go crazy early and be messy for your best man speech. It is a pretty simply rule, but just make sure you’re not sloppy drunk.
Open Strong: There is no shame in using a one liner to get things going. It is important that you have guests excited and you build the confidence to deliver an amazing best man speech. Once you have your opening line down, then immediately thank all the guests who made the day possible. Single out the bride and groom’s parents by name, and offer a toast to them for not only putting on the wedding but for raising two fine people. Start your speech like this and you’ll be the best man everybody loves.
Be Yourself (Unless You’re an A**hole): No need to get formal or try to be someone you’re not. And there’s no need to follow these instructions exactly either. Simply use them as a guide and be yourself. Let it flow naturally. Use your natural voice and mannerisms. Make it personal and sincere and say things from the heart and you should be golden.
Tell A Nice Story & Make A Connection: The ideal way to structure a best man speech is to find a connection between a story about your friend and your support for the couple. Share a story about how your friend would always lament that he would never find a woman with x,y, and z qualities, but how he finally did in his new bride. Or tell a story about the moment when you were hanging out with the couple and you realized your friend had found his match. Another good angle is to talk about the way that the bride and groom balance one another.
Don’t Talk About The Groom’s Exes: Keep your speech on topics that aren’t controversial, offensive, or embarrassing. Don’t talk about the groom’s past girlfriends. This is an easy tip to follow, just use some common sense.
No Inside Jokes: This is a key rule, yet very hard to execute. You and your friend have stories, inside jokes and things only the two of you (or a select few of your friends) know about. Now isn’t the time to bring that stuff up. Think about the audience and ensure that whatever you talk about is something that most people can relate to.
Short is Sweet: Everybody hates long speeches. There will be a bunch of speeches and the best man speech is normally last so guests will be eager for you to finish so they can grab another drink or have a dance. Aim for no more than 7 minutes, max.
End With A Toast & Quote: Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are hundreds of wonderful quotes about marriage, love and weddings, not to count the Irish toasts you can use to end your speech (we’ve assembled some example toast quotes you can use). Find one that wraps the speech up nicely and leaves people feeling the warm and fuzzies.
Best Man Speech Dos & Dont’s
It is important to be aware of the things you need to do in order to deliver an amazing best man speech and things that you need to stay away from at all costs. There arent’ that many, but you better pay attention. You must understand that best man speeches are a very popular source of entertainment for weddings today. The more suitable you can make the best man speech for the occasion, the better.
DON’T: Milk it and make it about you. Remember, it is about the bride and groom, not you. A great best man speech should be less than 7 minutes and should focus on the couple.
DO: Limit Anecdotes. If you do decide that an anecdote is worth relating – and some definitely are – make it the centrepiece of your speech, not one of several stories that get lost in the mix. Also, only use stories that a relatable to most people.
DO: Be funny, but not that funny. The best man gets to poke some fun at the groom, but remember this is his day. Don’t destroy him in front of 200 people. Balance friendly digs with praise and well-wishes. A good best man speech is all about balance.
DON’T: Mention Ex Girlfriends. Yep, second time we’re mentioning this one on the same page. There’s a reason. Stay away. If you can’t see why talking about your buddy’s exes on his wedding day might upset some people (not least the bride), then you’re an idiot.
DO: Compliment the bride. No making fun of the bride other than to point out her poor choice in companion as a husband. It is REALLY her day so don’t mess with her. This is how best men go missing and get hurt bad.
DON’T: Swear. The language you and your buddies use when telling stories may be appropriate over beers at a BBQ, but not at a wedding. You’re addressing a lot of guests from a wide range of backgrounds and ages. This isn’t the time to push it when it comes to langauge.
DON’T: Read from a piece of paper the whole time. Practice your speech, learn it and get comfortable. Learning your speech may not be your idea of fun, but it will make all the difference in how the guests perceive you. Can’t remember the whole speech, then work on the stuff that really makes a difference, the opening line and the closing toast.
DO: Go out with a bang. It is pretty easy to get the opening line right, but as the speech ends you need to be ready to go out hard. It’s your closing comments that people will remember clearest. Speak up, stand tall and deliver that final toast with gusto.
DO: Choose a short and sweet story. Don’t tell 5 minute stories. If it can’t be told in less than 30 seconds, toss it out. Stories that require a lot of background (no matter how funny or relevant) just aren’t going to keep people’s attention.
MORE: Check out our Ultimate Guide to Wedding Speeches. Everything you need to know about wedding speeches.