Top tips to survive the best man’s speech

Mar 17, 2016 | Best Man

It may be the bride and groom’s big day, but let’s face it – the best man’s speech is the biggest event at a wedding. The bride’s father just has to say a few nice things and the groom simply runs through all the thank-yous that are needed, while the best man is expected to delight, entertain and captivate guests.

No need to panic though – with these handy tips, you’ll get through the best man’s speech with flying colours.Best man's speech

Best Man’s Speech Tip #1: Prepare in advance

No matter how relaxed or chilled you are normally, this is not the time to wing it. Leaving speech writing until the day of the wedding – or worse, during dinner – is going to end in disaster. Even if you’re comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, not being prepared will just result in you forgetting to say something or thank someone important. Put an hour or two aside during the coming weeks to sit down and string a few words together.

Best Man’s Speech Tip #2: Start with an introduction

Keep in mind that not everyone at the wedding is going to know who you are. When you stand up, thank the bride’s father and mention the groom, both of whom will have spoken before you, then give the room a quick introduction as to where you fit in. Telling people your name and your relationship to the groom is a nice place to start and will help ease you into things.

Microphone for best man's speech

Best Man’s Speech Tip #3: Cut the in-jokes

Too often the best man will throw lots of in-jokes into his speech that only a few people in the room will roll around laughing at, while everyone else looks confused. Don’t exclude the majority of guests – everyone is there to celebrate the couple and you’ll lose the crowd immediately if you cater only to your group of mates.

Best Man’s Speech Tip #4: Keep the ‘hilarious’ stories to minimum

Another common mistake is the best man deciding to tell several stories about him, the groom and their friends, many of which go on too long and were only actually funny if you were there. Probably…

If you want to include an anecdote, make it one you can tell in 60-90 seconds and put it at the centre of your speech. If it’s funny, great, but the most important thing is that the story is relevant; either a defining moment in your friendship with the groom or the couple or even a funny event that really sums up your best mate.

Best Man’s Speech Tip #5: Remember there’s a bride

Yes, you love the groom and you’ve been through a lot together, but don’t exclude the bride during your speech. Cut any ball-and-chain references you’re tempted to throw in there and instead add a couple of lines about how happy she makes your friend and a few things you really like about her. Oh and refrain from making jokes at her expense – very few brides want to be ridiculed on their wedding day.

Best Man’s Speech Tip #6: Thank people

The groom will have thanked most people in his speech, but you should still mention a few yourself. Thank the couple’s parents for raising two great people and for any help they gave during the wedding and don’t forget to say something nice about the bridesmaids. Thanking the couple for planning a great wedding is also a nice touch.

wedding toast

Best Man’s Speech Tip #7: It’s a toast, not a roast

By all means, 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’s Speech Tip #8: Be nice

It’s tough for Irish lads to actually be nice about each other, but if you’re best man, you’ll need to suck it up. Make the speech light and funny, but do take a moment to highlight a few of his good points and balance out the slagging. Refer to a time he was really there for you or talk about what a great friend he’s been and how you’re sure he’ll make a great husband.

Best Man Speech Tip #9: Have a strong finish

Don’t let your speech fizzle out at the end. Try to finish on a high note; have a punchline ready or tailor your speech so it leads to one short anecdote that sums the couple up. If you’re stuck, no one will heckle you for ending on a nice quote (once it’s not too sappy or fake). Some nice quotes that will go down well with the bridesmaids include:

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages” and these two really are best friends.

“Marriage is not about finding a person you can live with, it’s about finding the person you can’t live without.”

“Enjoy the little things in life… For one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things.”

Best Man’s Speech Tip #10: Don’t forget the toast

And finally, once your speech is done, don’t forget to raise a glass and toast the happy couple.