Let’s face it, the best man speech is a nightmare. Not only do you have to stand up and speak in front of four generations of friends and relations from two families, you’re then expected to be as dashing as Hugh Grant in Four Weddings, and as funny as Peter Kay. The keys to getting your best man speech right are keeping it brief and punchy, and, sadly, a hell of a lot of preparation!
These best man speech tips will ensure you have the entire reception laughing hysterically, help you embarrass the groom, and impress those single bridesmaids.
There are actually only two things to worry about; writing the best man speech and delivering it. Treat them as two separate projects to maximise your chance of success.
Contact friends and family who knew the groom when he was a toddler, for funny stories. The audience will find his bed wetting exploits at five years old funny, but the same story told of a 25 year old will get a less rapturous response. For more on this read my post on How to Write a Funny Best Man Speech.
It’s Not Just About the Jokes
Don’t try and be a stand up comic. It’s important that the audience knows you really like the guy before you murder him, so open up with a bit of nostalgia and gratitude. An over-sentimental speech can be dull, but a stand-up comedy routine can miss the point entirely.
There is no perfect shape or style for a speech. You may want to take a thematic or chronological approach, but the key is brevity. Avoid rambling paragraphs in favour of short, punchy, deliverable lines.
Be Nice About the Bride
By all means make fun of the groom, but don’t try to get a laugh via the bride. Finish your speech by saying how wonderful she is and how she has made him a better person.
Make It Flow
Make sure you don’t switch from one subject to another with an awkward pause in between. Writing your speech so each story or theme flows into the next means you won’t worry about punch lines falling flat.
Practice Out Loud
Your punchy style means you’ll be able to deliver your best man speech with much more confidence. Practise it out loud over and over again, reading very slowly, and emphasising key words. Hold something while you’re doing it so the microphone doesn’t throw you on the day.
Know Your Speech
Get to know your speech so well that you only need to glance at your notes to remember what comes next. The slow pace will make this easy and allow you to make eye contact with your audience.
Don’t drink too much. It’s amazing how a few glasses of Champagne can make you feel like George Clooney but sound like George Best.
Guest post by Lawrence Bernstein of Great Speech Writing
Image from Mirrorbox Photography