The Biggest Mistakes with the Best Man Speech

May 20, 2016 | Best Man

Worrying about your best man speech?


Best men the world over put huge amounts of pressure on themselves over this one task, when really it is quite a straightforward job. Yes, public speaking may be a little awkward, but there are very clear guidelines that you can follow to produce a really great best man speech that won’t leave you red faced.

best man speech

Here are the common mistakes to avoid…

Best Man Speech Mistake #1: Winging it

Just….don’t. We don’t care if you’re the most laidback guy ever and someone who loves public speaking – leaving speech writing until the last minute (or doing it on the spot!) will not end well. Not being prepared means you’ll forget to thank someone or will make an inappropriate comment that will have Granny reaching for the sherry. Spend an hour or two during the lead up writing a speech so you do it right.

Best Man Speech Mistake #2: Turning it into a roast

Of course you both probably spend the majority of your quality time together slagging each other, but his wedding shouldn’t be ‘business as usual’. Feel free to wind him up about what you’re going to say in your speech until the very last second, but don’t actually make it about all his worst moments and biggest mistakes. Don’t even think about mentioning ex-girlfriends and keep the drunken lads’ holiday anecdotes out of it – unless they reflect REALLY well on the groom.

Best Man Speech Mistake #3: Too many in-jokes

This is a common mistake and one that will quickly turn the crowd against you. Remember you’re catering for a large group of people – not just you and your mates. Half the room was invited by the bride and you’re guaranteed not to know half of the groom’s guests, so write a speech everyone can relate to without code breakers.

best man speech

Best Man Speech Mistake #4: Snubbing the bride

How many of us have listened to a best man go on and on about how awesome his best friend is and then forget to give the bride more than a ‘Congratulations and treat him well’? Yes, your history is with the groom and you should definitely make him the main subject, but the woman he just married deserves more than a last-minute sentence – even if you don’t like her.

Leaving her out or forgetting her just causes controversy and you can’t blame her if she feels snubbed. Save a paragraph for her and mention a few good qualities or a nice memory you have. No matter your personal opinion, it’s unlikely you have nothing positive to say.

Best Man Speech Mistake #5: Forgetting the thank-yous

The groom’s speech takes care of most of these, but you’re still expected to give a few special mentions. Thank the groom for being a great friend, thank his mum and dad for being great parents and thank the bride’s parents for raising such a great daughter. Give special mentions to anyone who helped out extensively with the planning and don’t forget to mention how great the bridesmaids are or find yourself iced out later in the night.

Best Man Speech Mistake #6 Keep the ‘hilarious’ stories to minimum

Save the risqué stories for the stag and spare your friend’s elderly relatives the horrors of your lads’ Leaving Cert trip to Ibiza.

Same goes for any other fond memories you have – we’re sure they were hilarious at the time, but to a crowd of people who weren’t there and don’t really know you, they will fall flat.

Instead chose one important anecdote and put it at the centre of your speech. Ideally it should be funny, but it should either highlight what a great friend or person the groom is and not force him to hide from people for the rest of his wedding.

best man speech

Best Man Speech Mistake #7: Fearing sentimentality

Look, we get it, us Irish lads aren’t exactly ‘touchy-feely’ and we spend 90% of the time slagging each other off. Unfortunately, as tough as it might be, if you’re the best man, you’ll need to say a few nice things. Make the speech funny, but don’t spend the entire thing criticising and humiliating your best friend – take a moment to highlight a few of his good points. You don’t need to cry – just mention what a great mate he is and maybe give an example.

Best Man Speech Mistake Tip #8: Forgetting to raise a glass

Surprisingly common and almost guaranteed if you haven’t prepared a speech – don’t forget to toast the happy couple.