How to give a great best man’s speech

How to give a great best man’s speech

It’s an honour to be selected as the best man at a wedding – and the best man’s speech is always an eagerly anticipated highlight of the day. No pressure then!  However, follow these tips and you’ll crush it.

How to write your best man’s speech

Give yourself at least two months before the big day.  You are going to be busy as the date approaches so get the speech preparation started early.

  • Get a clear structure – work on what to say before you start working out how to say it.
  • Introduce yourself. Briefly set up who you are and why you’re such good friends with the groom.  Your introduction sets the tone – you need to get everyone’s attention and, ideally, get a laugh. 
  • Thank the other speakers and congratulate the wedding couple.
  • Don't forget to compliment to the bride - put her, her parents and friends at ease.  Be respectful.
  • Now you can start to entertain everyone. Make some jokes about the groom and tell some amusing stories from his past. 
  • Read messages from guests who couldn't make it, if there are any
  • Propose a toast


Best Man’s speech jokes

You are expected to make jokes.  But about the groom, not the bride (or anyone else for that matter).

If you are not a natural at stand up you can find loads of best man jokes online.  Just don’t pick ones that are too corny or too blue.  Also, just delivering joke after joke does not make a great best man’s speech – you are better off telling stories.


Best man’s speech stories

Stories about the groom provide the highlights of the speech.  You are allowed to embarrass him a bit…but you need to use your judgement and avoid going too far.  This will partly dependant on the personality of the groom – is he serious and shy or is he humorous and outgoing?  Every groom has some characteristics, or stories from their past, that you can use.  However, obscure stories or inside jokes are best avoided, because only a few members of the audience are likely to find them funny.

You’re painting a picture of the groom and, to some extent, your relationship with him.  You need to remember, however, it’s all about him, not you.  While you want to raise some laughs you also want to help everyone (those that already know him, and those that don’t) know what a great and talented guy he is.


Subjects to avoid in your best man’s speech

Think about your audience – including the children and elderly relatives who may not appreciate anything too laddish or risqué.  No-go areas include:

  • Negativity about marriage in general
  • Ex-girlfriends or boyfriends
  • Previous marriages/divorces
  • Drugs, gambling, race, politics or other subjects that might give offence
  • Adult humour or any other mention of sex 


General best man’s speech tips

Write it down. Your memory may be photographic but nerves may scramble it.  Small note cards work better than a sheet of paper – these are also easier to handle.

Practice may not make you perfect - but you’ll get close.  Do it at least three times, out loud, to an audience.  Also video it and play it back to get a feel for how it’s working (or not!). 

Vary the pace and use pauses for dramatic effect.  Also vary the tone, from humorous to heartfelt – it’s good to strike different emotional chords.  Watching a video playback will help you get all these things working in your favour.

Stay sober(ish).  A glass or two will help settle the nerves but anything more is not likely to prove beneficial.

Speak clearly and with confidence – if people are struggling to hear the words then the speech is sure to be disappointing!

Remain calm. If the speeches that immediately precede yours have gone down well it can be hard to resist that sinking “how do I follow that?” feeling.

Don't prepare a speech so long that you lose your audience's attention. Quality is better than quantity. 


Last word

Great speakers make it look easy.  And it is – if you follow the advice and make sure you practice in front of an audience beforehand! Also, don't forget to enjoy it! 

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