5 Tips for Writing a Best Man Speech
Five Tips for a Great Best Man Speech
- Avoid novelty speeches
- Don’t Try To Wing It!
- The speech isn’t about you!
- Remember who your audience is
- Don’t Make it Too Long
We’ve all seen clips on You Tube of people giving brilliant ‘novelty’ speeches e.g., as a song, or a stand-up routine, or a TV show parody. One of the best examples I’ve ever seen was a guy giving his speech like he was the commentator on a horse race!
And when it comes off, this can be really entertaining, or funny, or poignant. But when it doesn’t…
Unless you’re a performer or have experience at putting together a show, unless you’re one hundred per cent confident in your ability to pull it off and to pull it off well, think very hard before you go down the road of the novelty speech. If you don’t have the time to write and rehearse a ‘bit’ properly, walk away!
Maybe you give a lot of business presentations. Maybe you’re used to making pitches. Maybe speaking in front of a room full of people doesn’t faze you. That’s great. But no matter what, you shouldn’t try to wing your Best Man speech.
This doesn’t mean that you have to write your speech out word for word, putting in every last comma and full stop. But you should map out clearly the main topics you want to talk about, the order you want to say them in, and the key points you need to include.
If you do this, you won’t get stuck for words, you won’t forget to thank the people who need to be thanked, and you won’t get too carried away and go on for too long!
It’s a great honour to be the Best Man but remember, the day is not about you! And neither should your speech be. Sure, you’re going to talk about wild and crazy times that you and the groom have had together, but it should be about what he did, not you.
Make sure you thank and compliment the other people in the wedding party, especially the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Say how much you’ve enjoyed spending the day with them, and what a great help they’ve been to the newlyweds.
And most importantly, don’t forget the bride! Sometimes a Best Man speech only focuses on the groom and what a great guy he is, but a wedding is about two people, and the bride deserves a mention too! It’s always good to compliment her on her looks, but more importantly to talk about the positive effect she’s had on the groom, and how being with her has changed him for the better.
Maybe you were at school with the groom, or you’re friends for work or university, but you haven’t seen him in a while and you don’t know the bride that well. In that case, you should also talk about how much you're looking forward to getting to know her, and that you hope you’ll be sharing lots of happy occasions with them in the future.
And the golden rule—the bride should never hear something about her new husband on her wedding day that she didn’t already know. It may be fun to embarrass him, but the Best Man should never embarrass the bride. If you want to tell a story that’s a bit risky, check with the groom that the bride knows about it, so she doesn’t get an embarrassing surprise in front of all her friends and family on her wedding day.
Maybe you and the groom have spent a lot of time hanging out at work, or watching sport, or you’ve been away on some great road trips. And you love to take the mickey out each other. That’s great, but remember that a wedding isn’t any of these places. And the audience isn’t just you and your mates.
There’s probably going to be kids there, and elderly friends and relatives, not to mention the parents of the happy couple. So you need to keep an eye on your language. Sure, your stories can be fun, even a bit naughty, but choose your tone—and your vocabulary—wisely. The groom is the only person who should be made to feel uncomfortable by the Best Man’s speech!
How long is too long? If your speech goes on for more than seven minutes, that’s probably too much, especially if several people have been invited to speak.
When you’re planning or writing your speech, work on the basis of 160 words = 1 minute. This means that if your speech is much more than 1100 words long, you should seriously consider editing it down. Again, the day isn’t about you, so don’t hog the limelight or the microphone. And remember—it’s always best to leave them wanting more!
This article first appeared as a blog at http://bridaltribe.com/five-tips-for-a-great-best-man-speech/