10 Tips To Nailing the Best Man’s Wedding Speech
Being a best man comes with one vital responsibility: Giving a fantastic best man’s speech! Thankfully, I’m here to help. My dating app profile once famously (and truthfully) stated that I’ve been the best man in seven weddings, so I know a thing or two about giving a great best man’s speech. People recently revealed essential tips for nailing a memorable speech. Here’s everything you need to know before giving arguably the most important speech of your life!
1. Cater Your Jokes to a Wide Audience
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to a best man sprinkle in countless inside jokes that, like, four people at the wedding understand. If you insist on bringing the humor, you must cater your jokes to a broad audience. Tell stories or jokes that make the 80-year-old grandfather in the back of the room laugh just as hard as those you went to high school with!
2. Embarrass the Groom (But Not Too Much)
Giving a best man’s speech gives you a golden opportunity to embarrass the groom. He expects it; the whole wedding expects it! However, it would be best not to embarrass the groom too much. A few light jabs do the job just fine; after all, you don’t want the bride to reconsider her marriage that was made official only a few minutes earlier! Make the groom blush; don’t make him consider committing a crime based on your stories.
3. Keep It Under Five Minutes
Always keep your speech concise. People lose interest after about three minutes; only the best (and most memorable) speeches can hold someone’s attention span for five. Trust me, nobody wants to hear the best man drone on with boring stories and uninteresting personal anecdotes. If you aren’t the best public speaker, do yourself a favor and limit the length of your speech; get in and get out!
4. Don’t Get Hammered
Contrary to popular belief, it would be best not to raid the open bar before you grab the microphone. “No one likes listening to a drunk, blathering idiot,” reveals one man. “You want to be clear-eyed, concise, and honest.” While this is undoubtedly a hot take, I recommend you have a few drinks beforehand to calm your nerves; this is the most important speech of your life! Besides, there’s plenty of time to get drunk once you finish.
5. Keep the Golden Ratio in Mind
Keep the golden ratio in mind when writing your speech (or if you’re winging it). Say one sincere, heartfelt thing for every joke about the groom (or, God forbid, the bride). Keeping the best man’s speech balanced is crucial in keeping it memorable. In addition, if you find yourself cutting out parts of your speech due to length, never remove positive stories or comments!
6. Compliment the Bride
It’s incredible how many best men conveniently forget to compliment the bride at any point in their speeches. “Always give a heartfelt compliment to the bride about how she and the groom make each other better,” explains one man. “Give a specific personal example of how she makes him better, happier, or complete.” While your speech is an opportunity to tell the world how amazing the groom is, don’t forget that his better half is literally sitting next to him as you speak!
7. Don’t Try To Be a Stand-up Comic
For my seventh best man’s speech, I made the (in retrospect) terrible decision to write five minutes of stand-up comedy as my speech. It did not go well. I opened the speech with a 9/11 joke and ended it with a story that heavily implied the bride only married my friend because he was well-endowed. While my friends now look back at that speech and laugh, I distinctly remember receiving more gasps than giggles that fateful September night in 2010. Don’t try to be a stand-up comic (unless you already are one, of course).
8. Don’t Reveal Anything That Will Traumatize Anyone
Don’t use your speech as a launching pad to ruin anyone’s life, especially the groom’s! While it’s okay to incorporate embarrassing stories in your speech, keep borderline-illegal memories or disgusting anecdotes to a minimum. You don’t want the bride to regret her decision! Keeping everything decidedly PG will go a long way toward making your speech less traumatizing in general.
9. Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re not practicing your speech at least three times before delivering it, you’re not living up to your potential. Remember: Practice makes perfect, and any public speaking should be endlessly rehearsed until you can deliver it flawlessly and effortlessly! It’s astonishing how many best men don’t practice their speech and wonder why none of their jokes landed. (Spoiler: It’s because they were awful jokes!)
10. Always End With a Toast
While arguably the most mundane part of a best man’s speech, including a toast is mandatory. Even if you crash and burn, a well-timed toast to the beautiful bride and groom can save even the most disastrous speeches. The speech-ending toast is the ideal time to send some final sincere and wonderful sentiments the couple’s way. You always must end on a high note!
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