Let’s be clear. I am not Oliver Cromwell and I am not suggesting that we ban Christmas. Obviously, the best man speech should be funny and a degree of good-natured teasing of the groom is absolutely necessary.
However, the most effective best man speeches will be original, carefully planned and accessible to the entire audience. They will have a clear structure and be written in simple, effective language. Most importantly, they will be honest, growing from the speaker’s genuine friendship with the groom. At Great Speech Writing all of the speeches we write are bespoke and follow that mantra.
One golden rule to follow is that the speech should contain nothing that might embarrass the bride: so no references to ex-girlfriends or any problems the happy couple might have experienced. If, at some point in the past, “they were on a break” (like Ross and Rachel from Friends) best to avoid referring to it! Or, to put it more bluntly, if in doubt, leave it out.
A really good best man speech will be thoroughly researched: the groom’s other friends and family should be consulted for their memories and insights. This will enrich the speech and reduce the likelihood of it becoming a one dimensional “lad-a-thon”. The research might reveal an overarching theme (such as fastidiousness, obsession with personal grooming or terror of female authority) that could give coherence to the funny sections of the speech.
As for the teasing, the best man should think hard about what, in military parlance, might be “legitimate targets”: the groom’s school days, his first job, his first car, his appearance (tread carefully here though and keep “slaphead” or similar references to a minimum!), his inexplicable love of Steps and Girls Aloud, his Karl Pilkington-esque inability to comprehend the obvious. The list will vary from person to person and if the best man is a true, thoughtful friend, he will know what the red lined topics are.
An effective best man will also set himself a time limit and stick to it. The truth is that the audience will only be receptive for about ten minutes. The best man should write and practise their speech with this in mind. It will be relevant, appropriate and balanced.
Finally, the perfect best man speech will have genuine emotional depth. It is after all the celebration of a friendship. The speaker will finish by saying positive, optimistic things about the happy couple and wish them every success for their future together.
Giving a speech doesn’t have to be nerve-racking – all you have to do is know what to mention and what to avoid! Lawrence Bernstein of Great Speech Writing knows a thing or ten about wedding speeches and will be happy to help you with yours! Please give him a call on 0208 245 899 or contact him here.
Lawrence Bernstein is a director at Great Speech Writing.