How To Give The Perfect Best Man's Speech at a Wedding
There's nothing quite like being selected the best man, and it can solidify a bromance for life. Your mind will probably first go to the bachelor party, and why not? After all, it is likely to include epic things like buying rounds of shots or an all-night poker game.
Somewhere in the excitement, a harsh reality is going to set in when you realize you will have to stand in front of all of your boy's closest friends and family and give a speech. Then it'll hit you it isn't just them (after all, you probably know quite a few of them!), but it is the love of his life's family and friends, too.
Standing up and dazzling hundreds of people with verbal eloquence is not many people's forte, and stage fright is a very real thing. Not to worry, we've put together some key tips that will have you pulling it off like the pro that you are.
Do Your Homework and Practice
One surefire way to bomb a best man speech is by waiting to write it at the last minute or, worse yet, trying to do it off the cuff with no preparation. You can't wing this one, no matter how quick you are on your feet.
You will want to have enough time to let your creative juices flow, ruminate on your ideas, and change things up. About three months before the big day, start jotting down ideas, such as quotes, jokes, memories, etcetera.
Once you have the ideas down, you can begin writing the speech itself. After that, it is all about the practice. Pay attention to pacing and note where to pause and for how long. During these practice sessions, pay attention to the flow, edit, edit, and then edit some more.
If you can, find a few people you can practice the speech out on. Doing so will help you know where to speed up, slow down, and pause. You will likewise have the added benefit of testing out the killer jokes you came up with to determine if they are duds or will land as intended.
First Impressions Are Everything
People are hoping for a great speech, but they are not accustomed to getting one. The opening of your monologue needs to set the tone for the rest, plus you want to make sure you don't have to talk over other conversations. Consider incorporating the following to get off on the right foot:
If you can catch the audience with a great one-liner or another attention grabber from the beginning, you'll have them hooked.
Remember that many of the people staring back at you have no idea who you are, so don't forget to introduce yourself briefly, including how you know the groom.
Gratitude goes a long way, and you will want to toast to the parents for raising the two beautiful people who have joined together. Be sure you know their names beforehand. Thank everyone else for coming, too.
Finally, do not leave the bride out! Chances are, she has been planning this day since she was a toddler, so statements of how lovely she looks and how wonderful of a woman she is will go a long way in keeping her happy.
It's All in the Stories
Once the introduction is out of the way, and all eyes are on you, it is time to dazzle with your storytelling. Every great bridegroom speech has at least one story summarizing the groom in all of his humorous but loving imperfectness. Since you know him best, who better to tell it?
Ideally, it should be funny and heartwarming at the same time. For instance, what is a funny story from when you were kids that exemplifies the type of friend he is, and why have you remained close?
You could also tell how you knew he had finally found "the one" after all of that time being single or after a few women that didn't quite measure up. The key is to tread lightly if you go this route; you don't want to overshare! No details about exes are needed here, especially if they happened to have been invited to the occasion.
While it is perfectly normal to roast the groom a bit in the best man speech, avoid anything offensive or overly embarrassing. While cracking a crude joke may seem like a good idea to break through your nerves and get the audience laughing, it could easily backfire.
Your best bet is in self-deprecation. Everyone loves a guy who can laugh at himself, as it makes you seem more authentic and likable. When in doubt, roast yourself to make the groom look better. And never, no matter how well you know her or how funny you intend it, throw shade at the bride.
Timing and the Toast
When writing your speech, two essential elements are the length and the ending. Most wedding planners agree that five minutes is a good time for the best man to aim for when congratulating the best friend and his new bride. Too short and it may seem rushed and insincere, while too long may get winded and boring.
Be sure to end it by having everyone raising their glasses to the new Mr. and Mrs. Best Friend!
Weddings are often alcohol-fueled events, and you may be tempted to water down your nerves. Try not to do this, as this may have you going off-script and saying or doing something you may regret. While you are talking, be authentic. Own the room by walking around, varying your tone, and mixing it up.
And lastly, be yourself. The groom loves you and chose you, so show that crowd why!