Being the best man is a privilege, and an exciting one. However, many best men dread the time at which they will have to stand up in front of a room full of expectant faces and deliver a speech that is appropriate, funny and memorable. However, by following a few tips and guidelines, you can make a unique, sincere speech that is special and enjoyable to all.
- Preparation is key. Do not think that, because you are generally confident and at ease speaking in front of others, you do not need to prepare something formal to say. This preparation process should include talking to the bride and groom about their expectations for your speech. If you are looking for sweet stories about the couple, you could ask their friends or parents to help you out. When preparing the actual speech, write keywords (not the entire speech) on cards (not paper) and follow these so that you do not lose track. Time yourself and make sure that your speech is between two and four minutes.
- Think about how this particular couple interacts with one another and focus your speech on this dynamic, as no two relationships are ever the same.
- Add value to your speech by going the extra mile. You may choose to surprise the couple with a slideshow of their own baby photographs or by introducing a surprise guest that they thought could not make it (this guest should be someone very close to them, not your girlfriend, for example). Alternatively, bring a few sentimental ‘props’ and briefly discuss the significance of each for a personal, sincere speech
- There are definitely subjects that should never be raised during your speech, regardless of your motive or intentions. These include ex-partners of the bride and groom, anything negative that either the bride or groom has said to you about the other and details of their misspent youth. This will only embarrass them and their wedding guests. The objective of most best men when mentioning these sorts of things is to get a laugh out of the audience, but this is very seldom the actual outcome.
- Remember to introduce yourself, include the necessary ‘thank you’ messages and be sure to thank whoever paid for or contributed towards the wedding for their hospitality and generosity.
- If you struggle with saying sincere, heartfelt things to the bride and groom that express how happy you are that they found one another, recite or quote famous pieces to convey this. However, you should concentrate on only one quote or poem and then continue with your own speech. The quoted piece should only serve as a basis or a beginning.
- PRACTICE! Stand in front of the mirror and rehearse your speech at least three times so that you can get a feel for how you should stand and how you can maintain eye contact with different people in the audience (be sure not to stare at one person for the entire time).
- Do not get tipsy or drunk before giving your speech. Limit yourself to one pre-speech drink and then wait until you can relax before you have the rest.
- Do not mention inside jokes that only you and the bride or groom will understand. This excludes guests and makes them feel like outsiders.
- After you have written your speech, see if you can replace the bride or groom’s name in it with any other name. If you can, you know your speech is not personal enough. Anyone can download a generic speech from the Internet. It is of vital importance that you keep what you say real, genuine and personal.
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