It’s always an honour to be asked to write a best man speech. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t be feeling some trepidation too. Being the best man at a wedding is a huge responsibility. Not only do you have to help the groom stay on track throughout his big day, but you’ve also got the stag party to organise, and that’s no small feat. Nevertheless, it’s the best man’s speech that makes so many groomsmen terrified. But why is it such a daunting prospect?

The big problem with writing a best man speech is the high expectations. It’s the highlight of the wedding reception, and everyone’s looking forward to what you’ve got to say. Traditionally, best man speeches are funny yet heartfelt. They should make the guests feel warm and fuzzy, but make them laugh at the same time. That’s a pretty tall order!

Even more worrying is the tightrope that the best man has to walk between humour and being appropriate. Hilarious though it may be to talk about your student day antics, or what went on at the stag do, you need to keep in mind the audience that you’re writing for. It’s unlikely that the bride’s mother wants to hear about your teenage conquests or the strip club you visited that time in Vegas! And, of course, it goes without saying that it’s especially important to keep things clean if there are children at the wedding.

So, how do you get started with writing the perfect speech? How do you make it amusing but suitable for everyone’s ears? How can you make everyone laugh, but also feel touched and emotional? Most of all, how can you make your speech memorable?

The good news is that you don’t have to panic. Here are a few tips to help you with the preparation process so you can craft a best man’s speech that ticks all the boxes. So, pick up a pen and start writing now!

Start Early

Our first tip, and potentially the most important, is to start early. Crafting the perfect best man’s speech isn’t something that can be done overnight and any attempt to rush it will almost certainly fall flat. The wedding guests will be able to tell if you’ve just cobbled your speech together during the ceremony as it’ll feel rushed, jumbled, and lacking in empathy. You might make it through the speech, but you’re not going to come out of it smelling of roses. It’ll give the impression that you couldn’t be bothered to do your job properly, and no doubt the groom won’t be very pleased with you either.

With that in mind, it’s wise to begin preparing for writing your speech well in advance of the big day itself. That’ll give you sufficient time to come up with plenty of ideas and to put them into words. It’ll also give you enough time to tweak your sentences, add anecdotes in, or take out anything that isn’t working before you have to stand up at the reception and do your thing. Even better, the earlier you write your speech, the more time you’ll have to practice, and practice always makes perfect. This is especially crucial if you aren’t a natural public speaker – and most of us aren’t. Having plenty of time to familiarise yourself with your speech will ease your anxiety and put you at ease with your material. On the day, you’ll be well-prepared and ready to give the performance of a lifetime.

Understand Your Audience

This point is absolutely vital. It’s essential to keep in mind who’ll be listening to your speech. Will there be children in the audience? Then you’ll need to keep your speech PG. Will there be a table full of the bride’s elderly maiden aunts? Then don’t risk offending them with innuendo or any jokes that could be misconstrued.

Remember that this isn’t open mic night at the local pub. You don’t have to be the next Michael McIntyre. In fact, putting too much pressure on yourself to be hilarious is likely to put you at risk of making a faux pas or accidentally offending someone. Keep in mind that a joke or story that may well be hysterical in private could be ridiculous or even offensive to another audience member.

Remember that wedding audiences are pretty unique since there are lots of age groups and demographics. You could well be standing up in front of a room of people aged from birth to 100. Your task is to create a speech that’s going to resonate with all of them. The worst best man’s speeches are those that only speak to a percentage of the room. It’s no use focusing everything on your school days together if three-quarters of the guests didn’t meet either of you until you were adults. So, try to keep your speech well-rounded and not too focused on one specific time period or event. If you misjudge your audience, it won’t just be the reception that feels uncomfortable – you could create a bad impression that’s remembered for years after the wedding itself.

Be Organised

The secret of a good best man’s speech is to be organised. That means putting your thoughts in order and setting up a clear beginning, middle, and end to what you have to say. That creates a map by which you can navigate your speech, and keeps everything in a logical structure so that the guests can understand and follow what you’re on about.

Remember to tell the audience what your relationship is with the groom at any early stage in the speech so that they aren’t guessing whether you’re his brother, cousin, or best school friend. In the middle part of the speech, you can use your favourite anecdotes and stories about the groom to give a good idea of his character (in a positive light of course!) You can also give your opinions about him getting married (again, steering clear of anything that could be misconstrued.) Finally, end on giving your sincere and genuine best wishes to the happy couple and thanking everyone for their attendance.

Keeping this linear structure will ensure your listeners don’t lose attention.

Practice Makes Perfect

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, practice makes perfect, and if you want your best man speech to go well, it needs to be well-rehearsed. Practicing over and over will ensure not only that you remember the speech and what order it goes in, but it’ll also improve your confidence. The more you recite it, the more command you’ll have over its timing and pace, and the more refined your tone will be. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and if you don’t practice enough you run the risk of a nervous or robotic style of delivery that, at best, will not have the impact you desire and, at worst, could leave you a laughing stock.

Keep It Brief

Don’t be tempted to write your own version of War And Peace. A short but powerful speech will always be more effective than a drawn-out, tedious soliloquy. The longer the speech, the more likely it is that your audience will get bored, especially if there’s children in the crowd. Not only that, but an overly long speech could mess up the event’s timings completely. So for everyone’s benefit, keep things brief and narrow down what you have to say to around 5 minutes – 10 maximum.

Ask For Feedback

You may think that you best man’s speech is perfect, but it’s always wise to get someone else’s opinion before you take the plunge. Ask for feedback from some people you can trust and, most importantly, take their insights onboard. Don’t let your pride stand in the way. If they say your speech is too long, listen to what they’re telling you and cut it down. If they tell you to leave a specific joke out, don’t think you know better. There’s no point in asking for advice and then not taking it.

Genuine feedback could also help you to fine-tune your speech’s tone and humour. Your friends’ opinions can help you make tweaks and adjustments that enhance the speech even more.

Beware Of The Tone

It’s absolutely crucial to get the tone right with your best man’s speech. You need to be respectful and celebratory without causing any offense. Humour is fine, but don’t step on anyone’s toes. Never include any content that could embarrass the guests or the couple themselves. Their wedding day is the happiest day of their lives, so reflect that sentiment in your speech.

Remember The Technicalities

While you may be prepared to deliver the speech of your life on the day, don’t forget about possible technical difficulties that you might encounter. You don’t want to grab the microphone and launch into your speech only to realise that it’s not turned on. Test all of the equipment to make sure it’s functioning as expected before the reception begins. After all, you don’t want any embarrassment at such a key moment in the festivities.

Another key factor to keep in mind – don’t get drunk. You may feel tempted to down a couple of shots to keep your nerves at bay, but there’s nothing worse than a drunk best man trying to deliver a speech. Alcohol will interfere with your delivery and your judgement, and that could lead to all kinds of problems that are best avoided. Deliver an intoxicated speech is only going to look disrespectful to the bride and groom and cause an embarrassment. Save your drinking until after the speeches are over.

Enjoy Yourself

Although a lot of what we’ve said here sounds serious, it’s important to remember that the most important thing about giving a best man’s speech is to just enjoy the moment. You’ve been given a great honour by being asked to fulfil this vital role in the celebrations, so relish that experience. Enjoy crafting the perfect speech and delivering it flawlessly. If you’re having a good time, it’ll be reflected into your delivery which will only make the speech better received and more memorable for all the right reasons.

If you follow our advice, you’ll avoid some of the common mistakes and pitfalls that best men tend to fall into when preparing to give their reception speech. By paying close attention to all of these details, you’ll steer clear of embarrassing errors and ensure your speech is outstanding and unforgettable, reflecting your affection for the happy couple and giving the guests a special moment to remember for years to come.

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