Here’s an illustration of how you can theme your speech around a series of emails
‘Distinguished guests, ladies, gentlemen, boys and girls: I stand before you a very proud and a very privileged man. I have been accepted into the prestigious Mill Hill Golf and Country Club, which is an absolute dream come true. I know you’ll all join me in celebrating with a quick toast. To me!
‘Now let’s get on with the best man’s speech. I must say it was quite nice of Tony [the groom] to ask me and, if I hadn’t been preparing for the Mill Hill interview, I would probably have been more excited than I am right now.
‘Seriously, though, it really is a fantastic honour to be standing in front of you as Tony’s best man. We’ve known each other since we were at school and, I think it’s fair to say, we’ve been through quite a bit together. That doesn’t mean, though, that we’ve spent all of our time together. We were at different colleges, in different countries, in different jobs. But we’ve stayed in touch by email over the years.
‘So what I thought I’d do is read out some of this electronic correspondence to give you a flavour of what Tony’s life over the years. His may not be the easiest of prose styles to read. But what he lacks in finesse he makes up for in… bluntness.
‘Here’s the first one. Subject line is: “Freshers’ week ‐ totally bonkers!” And it continues: “Dear Robereeno, Finally got to De Montfort after the fiasco with my A levels. How could I have failed Home Economics? Anyway, looking forward to getting stuck into my course. I always preferred Drama, anyway. Just had a mad week drinking myself purple and chasing women. Really digging the college vibe, man. Thinking of joining CND and the Communist Party. How things with you? T”
‘Fairly standard stuff. Here’s one dated two years into college. Subject line: “Those Commie bastards!” And we read on: “Dear Rob, Just been chucked out of the Communist Party for saying that Mrs Thatcher might have been unfairly represented in the UK press. Nazis, the lot of ’em. Course is crap. Still can’t get laid and my grant has run out. Can’t wait to get out of this pit. Thinking of a career in the army or the police. Anthony.”
‘Interesting shift in tone in that one, I thought. Now here’s one from a couple of weeks after he first met Chantelle [the bride]. Subject line reads: “She is the ONE!” And it goes: “Mate, Just got back from a wicked party. Met this amazing chick. She had some kind of foreign sounding name: Chartreuse or something like that. She’s absolutely fit as a butcher’s dog with…” I’ll just skip those couple of lines. Err… anyway: “We talked all night and she was well in to me. I had her eating out of the palm of my hand. She could be the ONE, mate. Keep you posted. Ant. PS Things with you okay?”
‘Three months later I got this one. Subject line: “I’m engaged ‐ can you believe it?” And it goes: “Tone, Just a quickie to let you know that Chants and I are getting hitched. Asked her as we watched the sun go down over Table Mountain. Travelling is great. Speak to you when I get back. A”
‘Several years on, and one or two temporary separations later, I received this one. Subject line: “Diary date.” The message simply says: “R, C and I marriage. Keep 15 Jul free. Love to P, A. PS U R BM.”
‘And so here we are. There have obviously been hundreds more emails between us but I thought those would just give you a taste of how Tony has matured over the years, and how he’s become rather more taciturn. And here’s one I sent to him, when he told me I was going to be best man.
‘”Rob, I only just got your email today. I’ve been at the Golf Club quite a bit recently and haven’t logged on. I was absolutely delighted to hear that you and Chantelle are finally going to tie the knot. And I’m bursting with pride that you’ve chosen me to be your best man. It would be an honour.
‘”I’ve always thought I was a lucky man to have such a warm, kind and considerate bloke like you as my best mate. And now, to be your best man, well that’s the cherry on the cake. I know you and Chants will be very happy. You’re a very lucky man.
‘”All the best, old chum. I look forward to the big day with immense anticipation. Your best bud, always. Rob. PS Got into Mill Hill a couple of days ago. We’ll have to go for a game soon.”‘
‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the wonderful, adorable couple.’