Usually best man’s speeches are a combination of a roast and an ode to friendship. Singer and song writer Daniel Buccheri came up with the above approach, based on Sam Smith’s Stay With Me, which is probably the best best man’s speech ever. The emotions of friendship and love come pouring through with every refrain. While Buccheri totally pulls this off, for most men the thought of writing and delivering a best man’s speech that is even half as well thought out and delivered is cause for dread. Help is at hand.
How to Write a Great Best Man’s Speech
Following are some simple tips from expert speech writer Adrian Simpson on how to pull off an awesome best man’s speech. No singing required.
The cardinal sin here is to talk for too long. Everybody is eagerly expecting your take on the groom and his life to date but nobody loves him that much they want to hear a full twenty minutes on the subject. A good length is about 7 minutes or around 1200 words. Any less than this and the guests will be wondering why he gave you the gig.
In my experience there is no place for constructed jokes in a wedding speech. No matter how dull you think his life may have been there will always be a funny way of painting the picture, sometimes it just takes a bit of thinking about. Delivering a joke you found on the internet will almost certainly corrupt the delivery and unless you’re a part time stand up comedian saying it with conviction is about as tricky as it gets.
Many Best Men forget that unless they’ve managed to make a spectacle of themselves at the church, quite a few of the guests won’t know who they are, or how they know the Groom. So, at the start of the speech give a brief outline of who you are and what your connection is.
Start at the beginning. It may sound obvious but I’ve heard a lot of Best Man speeches where the speaker delivers a complete jumble of anecdotes from various points in the Groom’s life. A speech that’s easy to follow will have the crowd on your side and waiting for the next nugget. Confuse them and you’ll be wondering why there is a sea of expressionless faces in front of you.
There is never, ever any place for profanity in any wedding speech. No matter how salty you think the guests’ language might be, no matter how progressive their sense of humour appears, swearing or any kind of inappropriate rudeness will never work. Wedding crowds are always an eclectic mix and you’ve got to pitch it so that the Grandparents and kids won’t be offended. Look at this way: there are plenty of stand ups who never swear and they make money from being funny.
Don’t go mad. One or two anecdotes is fine, they help jog things along and give an insight into who the Groom really is but it shouldn’t be an anecdote-fest. Endless tales of escapades can wear thin pretty quickly, so mix one or two up with observational comments on his career, dating and passions in life, to make it much more easily digestible.
Start gently and then work into a crescendo. Nobody is expecting you to be the next Peter Kaye but everyone has the capacity to be funny if they really try, and this is why if you’re not used to comedy writing, you’ll need time to think about things. You’ll always have a really funny bit to say so leave that to just before the end, as this is the part most guests will remember. In the introduction you can have a gentle snipe at how or where you met and then build a few more of those as you go along. As with many speeches, the humour is also found in the delivery.
8. Read aloud
Writing words to be read and words to be spoken are very different things, so make sure you get it right. Always print out a copy of your speech and read it out loud – any word repetition or jarring phrases will instantly fall out and then you can go back and correct. If you read from the screen you will always miss things.
9. Your own voice
Never set out to write a speech in the style of anyone but yourself. If you’ve cut and pasted things from the internet they’re going to stick out, so if you’re intent on borrowing stuff, think of the way you’d say those things. Remember: he’s asked you to give the speech, not Google.
10. The end
This is the bit when the joking stops and you say something fittingly moving about the guy who’s just got married. There’s one thing that’s key: be honest. Think of a time when he’s really helped you out or been there for you and think what qualities does that mean he has? Why do you have him as a friend? Keep it to the point and not too slushy, and you’re on to a winner.
Being asked to be a best man is a great honour. Treat it like one with these great tips and you will avoid being that guy who is remembered for his awkward, drunken spectacle. You will instead be fondly remembered for your thoughtfulness and kind remarks about your friend or brother and his new wife.