After years of patiently waiting, the joyous day has arrived – your favorite friend/family member has finally asked you to be their best man. Congratulations! You have officially been bestowed one of the most important roles of the wedding. Your duties include planning an epic party, slaying the dance floor with your moves, making sure the groom gets to his wedding on time… and of course, preparing the most anticipated speech of them all: the best man speech.

Not to worry though – in the speech department, we have got you covered. From witty opening liners to what not to write, welcome to the best man’s ultimate guide to writing your speech!

The Basics

The best man usually gives his speech after the groom’s speech and after the father of the bride’s speech. No pressure. The length can vary from just 4 to 5 lines or be several minutes’ worth of funny/emotional stories about the groom. Make sure to not wait until the last minute, you’ll want to get started with this so you don’t get caught off guard.

There is no single recipe to the perfect speech – every groom is different and it’s up to the best man to find the best approach depending on his personality and the people present in the audience.

Some things however, are barred as a general rule: no talk of exes, divorces, negativity regarding marriages, gambling, drinking, or drugs. And no adult humor. Any one of these could end up becoming offensive to someone in the wedding party.

How to Start?

Your speech has to start with a bang! This is why the opening line is so important. A humorous joke is a great way to start: it breaks the tension in the room by making everyone present laugh.

Starting with a laugh will also get a good dose of confidence to keep going. Here are two short examples to help you begin:

“Hi. To those of you who don’t know me, my name is John; Alex and I have been friends since school. Now the happy couple has forbidden me from talking about a few topics… [goes through the cue cards and dramatically lets them all fall to the floor except one.]”

A simple one liner like “Hi everyone, I’m John, the best man; now I’m going to read to you the speech I scribbled down an hour before the ceremony” kicks the speech off with a bang too.

Ideas

If you’re in need of ideas, then start by taking a second to think about the personality of the groom. Is he a serious and sensitive kind of person? Or does he appreciate light humor and won’t a few jokes made at his expense?

Work your speech from an angle. Remember that you don’t have to be a standup comedian if the humor doesn’t come naturally to you; a simple embarrassing anecdote about the groom’s childhood always has the power to crack people up. You can also approach the speech from an emotional point of view, say how beautiful the bride looks, how happy they look as a couple together. Anything that works well with the audience is fine.

On the subject of jokes

The speech is incomplete without a few jokes at the groom’s expense. But, make sure the humor isn’t an inside joke and is something that everyone in the room can understand.

Moreover, you should of course make sure that the groom is okay with it beforehand. You can make a funny jibe about almost any trait of the groom if you put your mind to it; for example, if he’s a poor singer, say something like this “I wish I could say Alex sings with a lot of feeling; however, if he had any feelings at all, we all know that he wouldn’t sing”.

Refrain from inciting humor at the bride’s expense; since it’s the groom you’re familiar it’s better to stick with him.

Useful tips while writing:

  • Include enjoyable information like when you and the groom met, maybe an anecdote from your younger days, humorous jokes, and how happy you are that he’s together with the bride.
  • Prepare the speech well in advance of the wedding. Recite it to someone beforehand to get feedback.
  • Write the speech down on small note cards; even if you’re confident it’s always good to have a backup plan.
  • Vary your tone and speak loud and clear. Nothing makes a speech worse than someone saying it in boring, monotonous, ineligible tones.
  • Do not include taboo topics like ex-relationships or gambling/drugs/drinking.
  • If you feel yourself forgetting, then simply draw the crowd’s attention away by saying something like “aren’t they just the most gorgeous couple?” This always gets cheers from the audience and a round of applause so that you can conveniently move on with the speech.
  • Some countries have variations on the speech and the role of the best man, adhere to your country’s traditions.

Speech Structure

Writer’s block is in no way an acceptable excuse to put off writing your speech. If you feel completely blank and are at a loss for words, then fret no more – below we’ve provided the general outline to help you get started. For your own, feel free to add and customize as you please.

  1. Start with a killer, attention grabbing opening line.
  2. Remember to thank all the previous speakers.
  3. Compliment the bride a bit on how beautiful she looks, or on what a great person she is.
  4. Make some light jokes at the groom, and include a funny anecdote if one comes to mind.
  5. Say something on behalf of anyone who couldn’t make it.
  6. Congratulate the happy couple.
  7. Finish off with a toast to them.

At the end of the day, the fact remains that one of your closest family members or friends is getting married. As their best man, you want to do all you can to make the day as enjoyable and memorable for them as possible: a great speech can do just that. Practice, prepare and above all, enjoy yourself – it’s not every day a special someone gets married.