The Best Man Speech – How To Do It Right

Written by    Last updated: May 17, 2016

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.

The best man at a wedding

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.

The rest is silence!

A must-read: The Worst Best Man Speech to avoid all the common mistakes best men make!

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.

Need help? Our best man speech creator tool can make this process a breeze!

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4 thoughts on “The Best Man Speech – How To Do It Right

  1. ThePoet says:

    That is great advice and having been a best man on several occasions and reading a lot of advice all over the internet, it is quite daunting as it is your big day as well, well in your own mind… The biggest emotion for you is fear of failure and that unfortunately encourages you to panic, sweat, mumble, feel anxious and unfortunately drink… all of which don’t really help but are natural behaviour.

    I scoured the internet for help and advice and there is a lot of both, but nothing personalised and the speech has to be personal. To be honest I found lots of cheesy one liners that were not funny or appropriate and I was running out of time.

    I was lucky, although I started to panic and I wasn’t great at public speaking, like 90% of us men, but I can write funny and sentimental poems, so that is exactly what I did, I spent a long time on it, ensuring it was the right level of humour and the right level of sentiment.

    And luckily it went down a storm and the audience of over 100 people really wanted to hear what I had to say, so by my 3rd or 4th verse I was really enjoying myself and I slowed down and paused before the punch lines and I had so much laughter and tears. All I might add in the right places.

    It was so successful, the photographer’s there said I should start a business and sell poems as it was a great idea and quite unique. I took that as a great compliment and that is exactly what I did. I now help best men all over the world and I am lucky to have received some wonderful feedback and thanks from so many best men who were so grateful.

    A poem works so well because the best man can practice before and take the printed poem with him and it is accepted to read a poem as it shows a lot of thought has gone into it. And everybody loves a poet…

    Happy to help any best men out as I know what an ordeal it can be.

    • Agnes Los says:

      A poem is certainly a great idea, anything different and unexpected will delight the guests for sure. Nowadays it’s quite popular to do something unusual, like a poem or a song, and also props are really big. Well done on your speech success! It takes talent to write a poem everyone will enjoy at the wedding.

      • ThePoet says:

        Thank you Agnes, yes it works very well and makes the best man’s job easier and more enjoyable as they have that security blanket to rely on.

        I am being asked about rapping now as well, which is interesting, so hey we all move with the times or maybe just behind them…

        • Agnes Los says:

          Rapping! Whatever’s next – opera? :P

          BTW we are currently looking for writing contributors to our speech content section, are you interested in receiving further information? Would be nice to know your name as it’s not mentioned on your website.

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