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  • Nail Your Best Man Speech with these Secrets!

    by Melissa Bajda May 14, 2023

    Being anointed, the best man can fortify a bromance like nothing else but also brings some hefty responsibility. While the pre-matrimony perks may include buying rounds of shots in Vegas and getting paired up with the maid of honor, the most vital duty awaits on that day of celebration. 

    Having been to over 50 weddings in my lifetime, I've found that the real differentiator isn't all odds and ends. At some point, songs, food, and flowers all feel the same. No one will remember the amazing cut of beef, how lush the hydrangeas were, or the best man or groomsmen gifts. What makes a difference are those human moments that make us pause. 

    Stage fright is real. Those comfortable going up in front of hundreds of people and launching their words eloquently are not natural to most. Public speaking is a skill that isn't easy to master, but if you put some structure around it, prepare and follow a few key tips, you can pull it off like a champ.

    Best Man Speech 101: Everything You Need to Know!

    We checked in with our pals over at Vow Musewhose practice puts pen to paper in writing killer best-man speeches for their customers. They shared what they saw as top tips to make sure you wow your crowd:

    1. Plan in Advance

    Despite how quickly you are on your feet, the key to a good speech is putting some thought into it. This isn't a chicken scratch on the back of an envelope deal.

    A good speech takes a little thought process. With all the other activities you'll be involved with, bachelor parties, etc., finding the time during the calm is crucial. The advice here is three months before the wedding.

    Let it simmer and allow your creativity a window instead of pulling something off on the fly. Spontaneous can be good sometimes, but not for a great speech.

    2. Know the Groom Well

    As the best man, you are responsible for delivering a memorable wedding speech that reflects the groom's personality.

    One of the most important best man speech tips for nailing your best man speech is to know the groom well. It may seem obvious, but it's crucial to research and reflect on your relationship with the groom.

    3. Make a Killer Speech “First Impression”

    Meaning set the tone in the first opening line. It will grab the audience and get the momentum started early. Don't let the crowd drift.

    The reality is that most don't expect a great speech because they're hard to come by, so put some pop in early. Whether your opening line is a one-liner or roast, get it started on the right foot. 

    4. Storytelling

    Find one good or funny story that pulls it all in, and ham it up. Play the heartstrings, and get some knees slapping.

    That story typifies your groom perfectly, ideally pulling in your friendship with him. Everyone loves a great story.

    5. Authenticity

    Don't force it, don't feel scripted. This can be an issue if you over-prepare. You want natural.

    The words should be what you "feel," not what you memorized.

    6. Self-Deprecation

    Everyone likes a guy that can make fun of himself. It makes you relatable and down to earth. So, throw a couple of barbs at yourself. It'll make the groom look even better. It's his day; amp him up.

    There will likely be a lot of aunties and uncles in the audience that doesn't know you. Make yourself likable and a great reflection on the groom.

    7. Keep it Short and Sweet

    One of the most important things to remember when giving the best man speech is to keep it short and sweet. Aim to keep your wedding speech around five minutes and limit yourself to a few key points or stories that capture the essence of your relationship with the groom and your wishes for the newlyweds.

    By keeping your best man speech short and sweet, you'll avoid losing your audience's attention, show respect for the couple's big day, and give them the spotlight they deserve.

    8. Find the Timing Sweet Spot

    Too short, and it feels like you didn't think about it. Too long, and the crowd develops ADD and starts getting hungry.

    The team at Vow Muse has often thought 5 minutes lands right in the zone of everyone wanting more, but just enough.

    9. Relate to the Couple

    One of the best ways to nail your best man speech is by relating to the couple. After all, the wedding day is all about celebrating the union of the bride and groom.

    You can do this by sharing stories or experiences that show how the couple complements each other, how they have grown together, and how they have impacted each other's lives.

    10. Avoid Controversial Topics

    As tempting as adding a bit of humor to your wedding speech with a controversial joke or topic may be, it is essential to remember that this day is not about you. It is about the bride and groom and their special day. The last thing you want to do is upset anyone, so avoid controversial topics altogether.

    This includes things like politics, religion, and anything else that may be considered sensitive or offensive.

    11. Don't Embarrass the Groom

    It is important to remember that your best man speech should celebrate the groom, not embarrass him. While sharing funny and embarrassing stories about the groom's past may be tempting, remember that some things should stay between you and the groom.

    Sharing embarrassing stories can quickly turn your best man speech into a cringe-worthy moment that everyone in the room will remember for years.

    12. Don’t Over Roast and Don’t Roast the Bride-to-be

    It is not your place; no matter how good your relationship with her is, it is her big day, and the ladies tend to idealize the magic moment. They won't find it hysterical if you tell the crowd how she put on her freshman 15.

    If you are going to go with a roast, keep it to the groom and be gentle. No one needs to know how he passed out in his excrement ten years ago.

    13. Do a Few Dry Runs, Ideally with a Willing Audience

    Practice makes perfect, and no matter how often you do it in front of a mirror, it won't be the same as having eyeballs on you.

    Half the challenge here is often having 200 sets of eyes on you, not just the delivery.

    14. Jot it Down, If for Nothing Else, to Visualize the Speech

    What most don't realize is that the exercise of writing helps us retain. Then you'll have a little reference guide to comfort you if you have any temporary amnesia.

    15. Use Notes as a Guide

    Even the most seasoned speakers use notes as a guide, and it is a technique that can help you stay on track during your best man speech. However, don't rely too heavily on your notes. They should be used as a general guideline, not a word-for-word script.

    Jot down a few key points and ideas you want to cover, but only write out part of your best man speech. This will give you more flexibility to ad-lib if necessary and help you appear more natural and engaging.

    16. Be Animated and Be Clear.

    They say communication is 93% tone and body language. Walk on the floor, vary your tone, and have some highs and lows.

    To grip your audience, you need to mix it up and enunciate like a champ. A mousey man does not grab a crowd. Keep the delivery well-paced; run-on all the wedding speeches are hard to synthesize.

    17. Best Man Speech Template

    Writing a memorable best-man speech can be daunting, especially if you have never done it. One way to get started is through some best-man speech template online. These best man speech examples will give you an idea of how other people have structured their wedding speeches and the kind of language they use.

    It is important to note that you should never copy someone else's speech word for word. It is not only dishonest, but it can also make you appear insincere and unoriginal. Instead, use the Best Man Speech template as a guide to help you structure your wedding speech.

    18. Use Quotes

    Using quotes in your best man speech is a great way to add depth and humor to your speech. You can use famous quotes, movie lines, or even lines from the groom himself. The key is ensuring the quote is relevant to the couple or the occasion.

    If you use a famous quote, ensure it fits the occasion. For example, a quote from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

    19. Thank the Right People

    When giving your Best Man Speech, it is important to express gratitude and thank the right people who have made the wedding day possible.

    You should mention the following people: The wedding reception staff, wedding guests, bride and groom, bride's father and mother, and groom's father and mother.

    When thanking people in your Best Man Speech, be sure to speak from the heart and make eye contact with each person you are thanking.

    20. Plan an Exit Strategy

    It may seem like a minor detail, but planning an exit strategy is essential to delivering a great Best Man speech.

    Once you've said your piece and toasted the bride and groom, you don't want to be awkwardly lingering at the microphone.

    Here are a few best man speech tips to ensure your exit is smooth and polished: Practice your final line, have a best friend on standby, and make a graceful exit.

    21. Don’t Have More than One Drink.

    Yes, you might think it will help with the jitters, but it will also kill the authenticity. Nothing says blubbering more than slurred wedding speech.

    Best Man Speech Structure

    Writers often look for a muse to help them with their writer's block. Scrap that concept with a good best-man speech. What you need here is a recipe and a few key ingredients. It is on you to splash in the spices that customize this best man speech dish to your couple, event, and relationship. 

    Must Dos

    1. Best Man Speech Opening Lines that grab attention.
    2. Tell the bride she looks amazing, as tastefully as you can.
    3. Mini Roast of the groom.
    4. Closing line - A great quote, haiku, or Limerick.
    5. Send Thank You To the appropriate people (usually the parents).
    6. Send congratulations to both families.
    7. Propose a toast and raise the glasses.

    Stay Away from These 

    You may think you are the next Andrew Dice Clay, but a great Best Man Speech is not the opening line of a comedy club. You must understand your audience and find content that appeals to the masses. That crowd is bound to have quite a broad spectrum of humans, so keep it classy and ensure that the comedy stays somewhat PG. Stay away from:

    1. Negative marriage stigma
    2. Ex’s
    3. Prior Marriages
    4. Sinful connotations – drinking, drugs, hook ups, gambling
    5. Anything XXX

    It may sound funny best man speech in your head, but you have a lot of heads to appeal to. 

    Best Man Speech Themes

    Your best man speech can go in various ways, but it needs to strike the delicate balance of funny and sentimental. You go too far either way and come off as a sappy mess or a clown.

    Now, you must design a best man speech built around your groom's style. Does your guy appreciate a roast or a barb? Does your guy appreciate the old memories? Mix it up appropriately so you get some laughs and some awes. 

    To kick it off, a great one-liner always makes a splash.  

    Let's face it, flowers, DJs, etc; how much can they differ? Florists and DJs do thousands of weddings, and you're just another. The one truly authentic piece is that best man speech. It showcases the personalities at the wedding and the bond between all in the wedding party. That's why people are there. 

    We thought it would be great to start a blog where the best men and future best men can research what makes it work and differentiates. Having been a best man a couple of times and have been to many weddings, I know the importance of that moment. Just a little pressure. 

    Here are best man speech examples that have hit the web that knocks it out of the park. Again, the key point is authenticity, original, and genuineness. 

    Funny Best Man Speech One-Liners

     "Chris is the kindest pal anyone could ask for, a man whose philanthropy knows no bounds. 'Generosity' should be his middle name. He would do anything for me; he even wrote this section of my wedding speech!"

    "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I have no problem admitting to you all that I'm extremely nervous right now. And as the people sitting near the front of the room can attest, it is actually possible to smell fear."

     "For anyone itching to hit the dancefloor, the band will start shortly after the final toast. This reminds me of 20 years ago Chris was told by a doctor that he would never dance normally again. When the band starts, you'll see exactly what that specialist was talking about."

    Efficient Best Man Speech One-Liners

    "It is impossible to praise the Groom too highly; in fact, while writing this speech, I found it impossible to praise him at all!"

    "Chris was in a pub when he proposed. No, really, it was very romantic – he got up on one knee."

    Brother as Best Man Speech One-Liners

    "Chris was born on the 16th of October, 1978. My parents had wanted a girl... and, honestly, they very nearly got one."

    "Chris took his big brother role very seriously as a kid. He was determined to do what was expected of him. So he beat me up, blamed me for everything he broke, stole my stuff, sabotaged my plans, and generally made life unbearable. Anyway, it's a great honor to be giving the best man's speech today. or as I call it, payback."

    "I'll be honest; I always got the feeling that Chris was Mom and Dad's favorite because he could get away with anything. This one time, he brought this fat little smelly kid home from school with him and just marched him into the house. Mom was furious, but she did nothing to stop him. Then again, I suppose she had no choice. I did live there."

    Tearjerker One-Liners

    But this is the guy he is. Whether we're on vacation or in difficult situations, Chris is a great guy you can count on and will always seek to make things better in any way he can. 

    So obviously somebody this special wasn't going to stay looking out for his friends forever, and one day he met the very beautiful Melissa…and so we find ourselves here today.

    NOW SOME THINGS THAT YOU SHOULDN'T DO

    Bring the bride to tears, your best friend to hiccups, and knock every other person's freaking socks off when you follow these six simple steps for delivering the greatest best man speech ever:

    Step one: Don't plan so you are good and nervous. That way, the second your buddy says I do, you can pregame like your college's biggest rival is about to step onto the field. (Translation: Drink your face off.)

    Step two: If you are not staggering as you grab the mic from the DJ, you didn't do step one right, so grab a shot to gulp on your way up. Once at the front of the room, take a deep breath and remember: this isn't a tribute. This is a battle. A battle to determine who is the most badass, hilarious, self-absorbed best man ever.

    Step three: Make sure you tell the funny story of that time in Amsterdam, circling the clock tower (or was the clock tower circling you?) on magic mushrooms. Bonus points for describing the women you cat-called and anything that took place in a bathroom.

    Step four: Mention an ex-girlfriend of his. Like the one who wore a cheerleading outfit everywhere, even though she wasn't a cheerleader (or making an ironic statement - it is just what she "felt most comfortable" in).

    Step five: To make sure your best man speech is awkwardly long, ramble. Say "I love you, man!" more than once. If you lose your train of thought, don't worry. Fill in space by yelling, "The bridesmaids mostly look great!"

    Step six: Mic drop. It never fails to be a classic way to propose a toast. Now sit back and enjoy the accolades.

    You've caught on that we're kidding by now, right? We're sure you've seen this best man speech before, but that doesn't mean you should emulate it for your friend's wedding celebration. This sort of best man speech is avoidable and should indeed be avoided (at all costs even).

    All that ribbing, roasting, and evil you may want to mention? Don't. Really. Even if it sounds funny in your head, and it's really "you," remember that this is a formal occasion where dearest friends and family have gathered to celebrate the love between two people, not reminisce about that time the groom dry-heaved himself to tears in the back of that gypsy cab.

    So how do you give the best Best-Man speech? Well, we've got a simple seven-step guide for how to put together, from start to finish, an awesome best-man speech that will have people shaking your hand, clapping your shoulder, and (most importantly) not grimacing while you speak.

    1. Give yourself a few weeks to write your speech, if not a month or two.

    Great best man speeches rarely write themselves on the spot unless you're a Toastmasters regular. You'll want plenty of time to write the first draft, then a second draft, then a third draft (yes, this is normal for good writing).

    Do not necessarily use the first thing that comes out of your pen - instead, write something without judgment, let it sit for a day or two, then return to it and work on it again. You'll have new thoughts and a few ideas. Repeat this process.

    2. Present your friend in a positive light (and don't embarrass his bride!). 

    Remember how protective of your now-married pal you felt when he started dating that lovely lady in white? Channel that feeling - the one that made you worry he'd get his heart broken (he didn't! Winning!), the part of you that deeply cares about your buddy's health, well-being, and happiness.

    When you write from the more emotional side of your friendship, the best man speech will be heartfelt, sincere, and much more "you." 

    Pro tip: Topics you might want to touch include reasons your friend will make a good husband (back it up with best man speech examples!), why the bride is lucky to marry him, and what love means to the bride and groom.

    And remember, just because you're not roasting the great guy doesn't mean this can't have best man speech jokes. Add funny best man speech (but mostly innocent) anecdotes here and there to keep the mood light and the audience smiling.

    3. As you edit, consider length - and keep it around five minutes.

    Five minutes, plus or minus two, is the average length of a good best-man speech. Going under three minutes can feel abrupt to wedding guests, and going over seven is, frankly, boring.

    Note, however, that if you are extremely nervous about speaking in front of a crowd or there is some other reason you're set on keeping things brief, too short is better than too long. Stay within your capabilities to ensure you're as cool, calm, and collected as possible.

    Keep word count in mind to ensure you stay within an acceptable time limit. Most people read at around 150 words per minute, meaning you want to write a 450-1050-word best man speech.

    4. Ever heard the joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" 

    The answer is practice, practice, practice. And that is just what you should do. Here's how:

    •  About a week before the wedding day, print your best man speech, stand up, and read it aloud. Keep a pen handy - you'll find places where you want to change the wording.
    • Make the changes on your computer, print the best man speech out again, and read it out loud the next day - this time to a trusted great friend or partner. Make sure you have a pen handy again and ask for their feedback. 
    • Five days before the wedding reception, you should have finalized text ready to rock and roll. Print your speech in the font size and the paper you plan to use during the wedding. Run through your speech at least once a day.

    5. While practicing, pay attention to your body language.

    There's a little more to a good speech than just good words. Decent public speakers slow their usual speaking cadence so they can be understood, look up from their page to pan the audience, and don't fidget.

    Keep these thoughts in mind as you practice (and, of course, ask a great friend for feedback, too!).

    6. Do not drink more than one drink before giving your best man speech.

    Giving the best man speech is like a mullet. It's business in the front - before the speech - and party in the back - after it's done.

    Drink your face off after your best man speech. If you're nervous, try taking a few deep breaths, having a sip of water, and stepping into the bathroom for a moment alone. 

    But wait, there’s more… see below for a bonus seventh step!

    7. Ok, the big question: is it ok to read from a paper or card (or cell phone) when giving a best man speech?

    The answer: heck, yes.It is so much more important that you feel confident and prepared and that you get it right (by reading off you're prepped and practiced piece of paper) than it is for you to be all President of the United States memorized. (And even the commander-in-chief is reading from a dang teleprompter, he's gotta stay on message too!)

    Remember, if you practice beforehand, you won't be stumbling over the words you've prepared, and having them in front of you will ensure smooth sailing. Now, speak of appropriately bromantic things, and give one heck of a best-man speech!

    Stuck on where to start? Consider this best man speech outline: 

    I. Introduce yourself, state how you know the groom, and say something nice about the bride.

    II. Try to open the audience’s eyes to the groom YOU know - talk about your friendship and what he was like before meeting his bride.

    III. Discuss what the groom was like after meeting his bride. How did he change? What was he like in love?  

    IV. Wrap up with either advice or a short discussion of what love can do for people.

    V. Toast! Vow Muse is Angie Sommer and Alicia Ostarello, two women who have been helping grooms (and other members of the wedding party!) with wedding writing since 2010.

    Good luck with your best man speech. After you pull the speech off, there is no doubt you will get one of the best groomsmen gifts ever or one of these awesome best man gifts.

    FAQs

    1. What is the ideal length of the Best Man speech?

    It is best to keep it short and sweet, around 3-5 minutes.

    2. Can I include embarrassing stories about the groom in my Best Man speech?

    It is best to avoid sharing stories that might offend or embarrass the groom, especially in front of his family and friends.

    3. Is it appropriate to use humor in my Best Man speech?

    Best man speech jokes can be a great addition to a speech but keep it tasteful and appropriate.

    4. Who should I thank in my Best Man speech?

    Thank the bride and groom for inviting you to be a part of their special day, and acknowledge any family members or friends who played a role in the wedding planning process.

    Related:

    Thoughtful Wedding Gifts That Will Make the Newlyweds Feel Special

    17 Unique Wedding Gifts for the Bride and Groom

    25 Epic Bachelor Party Destinations for the Ultimate Send-Off


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