Best Man Speeches

Mar 15, 2016

So what do I know about Best Man speeches? I have given just one in my life, though it proved to be an absolute hoot. It was about twenty years ago now.

As a professional civil celebrant, I often have to help couples write their vows. Wedding speeches, though not actually part of my remit, are a natural extension of this. After all, this falls under the banner of public speaking, which is necessarily one of my areas of expertise.

So I make no apology for confronting this subject. It’s an important one, as so many people are genuinely intimidated by the thought of public speaking. There’s a lot of help on offer about public speaking (you may like to see my blog on this subject), but if you know you have a good speech to give, delivery becomes that bit easier.

How you actually deliver your speech is important, and, again, my blog has sound advice, which needs to be noted, especially for the amateur public speaker. One word of caution from the article that really bears repeating is not to let yourself get sozzled, however nervous you might be!


As for the content, here are some suggestions:

  1. It’s always good to get people laughing (for the right reasons!), so if you can find a good tag or joke (and tell it well), you’ll be off to a great start.
  2. Make sure your humorous remarks are in good taste – religion, politics, families, insults are all dangerous areas. Your main subject should be the groom. You’ll want to tell a few stories about him (you can get information from others, but, essentially, this should be about you and your best friend). Try not to waffle or talk too much about people the bride’s family will know nothing about.
  3. It’s worth mentioning how you first met the groom and why he chose you for the honour. Without being too cruel (it is the groom’s big day, after all), take the mickey out of him! Humour (with empathy) is key.
  4. Although much of your speech should be humorous, make sure it is personal and real. There should be a serious element too. You are his best mate, so a few sincere compliments are absolutely appropriate. You should acknowledge how honoured you are.
  5. Mentioning how happy the groom is now and how happy for him you are is important, and even moving. You can address these words directly to the groom for greater effect. You might even be overcome with emotion for a moment, and that is nothing to be ashamed of!
  6. You will want to finish off presently, preferably with a laugh or two. A suggestion could be fake telegrams. If there are real ones, start with these, but then move on to a couple from, say, the groom’s hamster or from Prince Charles or a TV star.
  7. This whole speech should normally last between 5 and 10 minutes. You conclude (traditionally) with a toast. This can be funny, if you can manage it.

I accept that writing a speech will take some effort and sweat of the brow, but it is manageable, especially if you can make use of this advice. The rewards are enormous for all concerned, so the labour will be more than worthwhile.