Who knew that figuring out how to write a best man speech could be so hard?
A lot of people, apparently. Did you know that multiple recent surveys have shown public speaking to be Americans’ greatest phobia?
But, your best bud has done it — he has finally decided to settle down, and he has called upon you to be his best man. Regardless of your fears, it’s on you to stand by him and deliver a speech that will sear this meaningful event into the memory of every guest.
This article will help you know how to give a best man speech in the swiftest, sleekest, and least painful way possible.
Keys To A Great Best Man Speech
If you’re looking for a best man speech outline, these five keys will get you on the right track. At a minimum, remember these five things then read on for more details on each topic.
- Preparation – write down relevant points to your speech weeks or months in advance
- Killer Opening Lines & Introduction – open with a joke or anecdote to help put everyone at ease and make sure you smile. Attendees will take their cues from you.
- Content is King – make your content short but sweet. Include personal stories of the groom and his bride. How they met and how the bride has changed the groom’s life is a good start.
- Body Language – you will be saying more with how you say it than what you actually say. A smile and good posture go a long way. Use gestures and add texture to your speech by not speaking in a monotone.
- Timing – five minutes is long enough. Say what you have to say in a clear and concise manner then keep the party going by letting others speak.
We understand that delivering a speech in front of a crowd sounds unnerving, especially if this is your first time. However, with these tips, you are sure to get through this flawlessly.
Preparation is VITAL
Some things in this life require adequate preparation and delivering a best man speech happens to be one of them. To avoid any mishaps, one is advised to jot down relevant points. Ideally, you should do this step weeks or months before the wedding.
As you’ve probably already learned back in your school days, procrastination dramatically decreases the quality of the product you can create. So get cracking early and stop putting it off! Your friend deserves better than that.
Not many people remember the best man’s speech. However, they will remember if you came woefully unprepared (or were too drunk to tell it or knock over a waiter as they’re bringing in the technicolor macaroons).
Recall as many personal experiences with the groom as you can and select the ones appropriate for your speech. Select those that won’t get him into trouble, of course. You got his back, remember?
It’s also wise to make up your mind if you intend to make everyone laugh or shed a tear or two or both. Construct a draft and correct it as you see fit.
The Opening Lines: Giving A Killer Introduction
You’ll hear this advice from writing workshops to business schools. You have to hook people into your speech the moment you open your mouth or else they’ll lose interest. They’ll stop paying attention to you, then what will be the point of all that hard work you’ve put in?
How do you do that?
That’s right, make all of the single ladies swoon with your radiant smile. Introduce yourself briefly, let them know how you are connected with the groom. A joke or an anecdote works well, too. This breaks the ice and makes people feel comfortable.
Keep your tone friendly and avoid using rough language since there might be children in the area as well. Lightly compliment the bride and her mother and also acknowledge the presence of those in attendance.
Best Man Speech Outline: Content & Structure
Bear in mind that you only have ten minutes tops before you bore people to death so keep your speech short and sweet but with substance.
What grabbed your attention in your favorite movie? Book? Probably the fact that it was organized in a way that the human mind is meant to follow stories: through the dramatic structure. The human mind is wired to follow an attention-grabbing intro, rising action, climax, falling action.
By building your speech up, your audience will wonder where the speech is going to go and what the next bit will be about. This will not only keep their attention engaged but also provide focus to your speech as well. You don’t want to go off on a tangent and waste people’s time.
By having the dramatic structure to follow, you’ll give your speech a purpose and strap people in on a nice ride about the groom and bride.
You can focus on telling how you know the groom or the couple and if you know the story, relay how they met. The groom’s struggles to get the bride to be his girlfriend may be interesting, too.
Additionally, you can pitch in some sound advice or your best wishes for their marriage. Finally, you can finish it off with wishing them long and prosperous lives together.
Standing in one position without any gestures is not visually appealing; that’s you being stiff. So you’ll want to use gestures to illuminate your speech. Engage in voice variation to give your speech some richness and to keep your audience engaged.
It’s proven that monotones bore the brain and make people tune out. For the love of anything holy, don’t make your best friend’s wedding a snooze to remember.
If you have space, move around and take advantage of this situation. Smile and use your facial expressions wisely. It sounds complicated, but it’s really simple especially if you have champagne in one hand and a mic in the other.
There are many guides dedicated to educating men on how to give a best man speech, and the one thing they all agree on is that timing is everything.
Remember, the goal is to keep your speech short and sweet as this is essential to keep your audience interested until the end. You want to get the message across in the shortest time possible.
A five-minute speech is more than adequate. If you feel that you have a lot to say, you have around ten minutes maximum. Be careful not to drag your speech out and go out of context. Nobody likes a blabbering man whose words have no form.
The Do’s and Don’t’s of a Best Man Speech
- Make certain that your speech has a flow to it. Choppy best man speeches make for very awkward reads.
- You want to attract people with positive vibes that are pouring out from you. It’s a wedding after all.
- Thank those who were able to make it to the wedding.
- Cite some personal stories in your speech. This makes the crowd feel closer to the couple and lets them understand the couple’s journey.
- Compliment the bride and the groom. Do remember the parents as well since without them there wouldn’t be people to wed.
- Ask everybody to help you toast to the couple’s marriage. This is a sign of good wishes and tiding to the newlyweds.
- Break the ice and catch everybody’s attention with a subtle, harmless joke.
- If you are reading from a card, raise your head frequently to engage with the audience.
- Make eye contact with people in the crowd. Avoid looking at the floor or on a specific place or person for too long.
- Get too intoxicated. You don’t want to be remembered as the slobbering drunk at your friend’s wedding.
- Use inside jokes. It leaves people feeling left out, causing their attention to shift.
- Bring up the past. Uncovering past relationships may cause problems between the newlyweds.
- Use curse words. Adult content and insults should be avoided at all times.
- We all get nervous sometimes, but this is one of the events where you should be enjoying yourself. Don’t overthink your speech; the audience will most likely be your friends or relatives, anyway.
- Stop if you flub your words. Repeat: do not stop your speech no matter how bad you think you’re doing! More likely than not, your audience will want you to pick back up and keep going with your speech. The only person putting on the pressure is you, so take it easy.
- Bring up any negative connotations about marriage and women. You need not rain on someone’s parade.
- Say too many “ums.” Because it’s just a verbal filler, it adds nothing to the speech and can get quite annoying after a while. If you can’t think of anything to say for a second, a pause will keep people engaged while you gather your thoughts. Remember, you are best friends so try to toast anything you have done together.
Good Examples of Best Man Speeches
Unnamed guy, but still a great best man speech
While a bit long, the guy does a great job thanking the audience, jumping from sentimental childhood memories to funny digs at the groom or himself.
Plus, this guy wrote a really awesome wedding speech about the groom. It shows that he put in the time and effort to write something memorable for his best friend’s special day. Plus, it’s just plain hilarious. His hard work paid off!
Always remember the roller blades
This guy has great stage presence. He knows how to talk in front of a crowd, how to use gestures and vocal intonation. He doesn’t have many “ums” and maintains a high energy.
While it’s a bit raunchier than the other speeches, you can tell that he’s still light-hearted about all the content he talks about. Another fine speech.
A Recent Fan Submission
The big takeaway here? It’s ok to use notecards to keep your thoughts in order — just don’t rely on them. Dusty does a great job at using his notes to stay on track without reading them word for word.
Oh, and the speech itself is pretty hilarious, and isn’t filled with inside jokes that only a few people would understand. Excellent storytelling, all in all.
* * *
If you aren’t so great at writing speeches, getting some help won’t hurt. You can ask a friend to help you out or hire a professional to guide you. The most important thing is that the subject matter came from you.
Your best man speech doesn’t have to be formal or professional. It doesn’t even have to be fancy — this isn’t the Oscars. This is your best friend’s big day!
Above all, write from the heart. It will mean more to the groom and the bride and your best buddy will thank you for life.