Being best man isn’t just about organising the stag do!
To be chosen as the groom’s right hand man for the biggest day of his life, must mean you’re pretty special, but in the wise words of Spiderman, with great power, comes great responsibility. Arguably, one of the biggest things you’re going to be in charge of (other than an amazing stag do!), is THAT speech.
We know what you’re thinking… you’re supposed to be funny but sincere, nostalgic but toast to the future, thank everyone for coming while speaking on behalf of the absent, AND last but not least rip the groom to shreds with humiliating stories, whilst also declaring your undying love and loyalty for him. All in about seven minutes.
Fear not. Let’s lay this out so you can write a killer speech without the killer headache.
Let’s be honest, there’s probably going to be a relatively substantial amount of wedding guests, and unfortunately you’re not Tom Hanks. Not everyone is going to know who you are at first glance. So say hello, tell them your name, and how you know the happy couple! This will help establish a relationship between you and your audience!
We know you want to rush into all of that banter where you get to embarrass the groom in front of all his friends and family, but I’m afraid there are a few things you must do first. For example, thank the bride and groom for a lovely ceremony on behalf of the wedding party, and for any gifts given to the party from the newlyweds. Also, a compliment to the bride on her fabulous attire never goes amiss (a lot of effort has gone into her appearance for the big day!)
And…. GO. You can unleash all of those cringeworthy stories from work, school or university that will surely have the groom blushing and cowering behind a napkin from his mothers disapproving glances. Crack out the joke book and head down memory lane to relay stories at his expense. You’ll be sure to have everyone in stitches! (Embarrassing photo slideshows, videos and props are thoroughly encouraged!)
Balancing out the Banter
Time to be nice again, and open up to the room about the qualities you really love about your friend and his new bride. Don’t be afraid to get a bit soppy and heartfelt here… it is a wedding after all! You can share stories of trips you have taken, or life milestones you reached together, or maybe just times where you have helped each other through some tougher times. Either way, be a gent, be honest and open, and tell everyone why your friend is such a great man. Finish by giving your own personal best wishes to the couple for their future together.
Back to formalities: Announcements
It’s not always the case, but sometimes their might be some announcements to make about the reception (location/ themes/ times… particularly what time the food’s coming out!) so it’s worthwhile checking with the newlyweds and wedding organisers before your speech. Now’s the time to also read out any messages from absent friends and family who couldn’t make it on the day.
Toast (no bread involved)
This is the easy bit. Raise your glass, ask the room to do the same, and ask everyone to drink a toast to the happy couple and their bright new future together.
A FEW LITTLE TIPS
- Try and keep it to about seven minutes (nobody likes a rambling lecture at a wedding, but equally you need to show that you’ve put effort into your speech)
- Use flashcards with bullet notes as pointers for your speech rather than A4 paper- it looks tidier, plus if you’re a bit nervous and your hands are a little shaky, it’s easier to mask this if holding smaller bits of card!
- If you are a little nervous, just say at the beginning of the speech… “You know guys, I’m not a big public speaker so I am a little nervous but I’m going to give it my best shot”… this will alleviate some of the pressure off you, and your guests will more than understand! Pretty sure not many people like speaking in front of large crowds at special occasions!
- Eye contact and no folded arms! This way you can really engage with the guests, and it makes your speech more inclusive and more of a shared experience.
For how to really wow an audience, check out Tom Fletcher’s speech at his wedding! No pressure or anything, but it was really quite amazing!