How to ensure the traditional parts of a best man’s wedding speech are included - tick off our handy checklist of wedding speech essentials! As best man and with a (hopefully)…
Written by Kate Thompson Last updated: May 13, 2015
The best man’s speech can be the highlight of the wedding reception, just make sure it’s memorable for all the right reasons! Here’s your essential list of what to avoid in the best man’s speech, and some top tips on how to make it truly legendary.
Swear words are a definite no-go area. You are likely to have a mixed audience with ages ranging from toddlers to the elderly. Bear in mind that causing offence in your wedding speech lasts forever, preserved on video, in the minds of the guests and the memories of the couple. You will not be popular if the little page boy learns a new four-letter word and the bride’s granny is offended, it’s just not worth the f***ing risk.
Certain subjects are best avoided: race and religion, relatives who refused to attend, the last-minute threat to call off the wedding, that sort of thing. Try to remember the bride and all her family are listening. The last thing they want to hear on the wedding day are stories of his ex, or any strippers or lap dancers who may have been at the stag do. Don’t do it – the bride won’t thank you and nor will the groom. Entertain the guests with amusing stories of your friendship with the groom, and his stag do, just keep it clean.
It’s tempting to have a couple of drinks for Dutch courage before you make your speech, just remember that one or two is enough. If you drink too much, you will not be in full control and could embarrass yourself. Adrenaline can increase the effect of alcohol and the evidence on videos and photos will haunt you forever. Chances are you’ll also slur your words, overstep the mark and include all those lewd jokes you so carefully removed on your 15th re-write. Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of congratulatory drinks bought for you after your triumph so take a deep breath and save the drinking for after.
Swallowing your words, mumbling to yourself, speaking too fast or losing your place should all be avoided. When we’re nervous we speak faster, it’s only natural, but it’s important to pace your delivery so everyone can hear what you say. You don’t have to entertain for half an hour; ten minutes is long enough. You need a definite structure: a beginning, a middle and an end, just keep it short and amusing and you will win round any audience.
Try to remember this is one of the few times in life when you can be guaranteed a captive and sympathetic audience. Check early on that everyone can hear you, then speak slowly and clearly and signal jokes by pausing to allow everyone to laugh.
Finish your speech by asking the guests to raise their glasses in a toast to the happy couple, and then sit back and enjoy the rest of the wedding knowing you have made a great speech.