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Best Man Speech
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How We Write a Best Man Speech
Why the need for a speech?
The Best Man role is one that asks a lot from you - complimenting people, making people laugh, helping the groom, and of course - giving a speech with stories and content appropriate for the audience. A great Best Man Speech is designed to do one thing - make people happy. Through a combination of entertaining storytelling, humor, compliments, and admiration for the groom and couple, happy is what the audience and the bridal party will be.
If you are like the majority of people, speech writing for weddings is not something you do every day. Yet, it is your role to make people feel appreciated, happy, and entertained on the wedding day, and you can certainly achieve this by delivering a great speech.
How we write a Best Man Speech
We typically follow the structure below when creating a Best Man Speech. You may wish to include extra stories or messages, but as long as you consider the below, you'll create a great speech.
Whom are you talking to and what do they like? Remember - a good Best Man Speech, like any speech, is about the audience and what they want to hear. There is no point in telling offensive jokes to a conservative audience, and you don't want strange looks from chilled-out onlookers when you start using a bunch of "big words". Consider your audience throughout your writing journey.
Nailing down the overall message you are trying to send will help get the creative juices flowing when the time comes to think of stories. It will also help in focusing your speech on a specific topic when talking about the groom and couple.
Example - Matt has had plenty of funny, weird, and wonderful moments in life, but he has also made smart moves – his friendships, the strong relationship he has built with his family, and his career, which are reflections of the incredible man he has become. But the smartest move he made is marrying Sarah.
The very first words in your speech. A comment or story that grabs the audience's attention immediately. You could launch straight into a "hi everyone", but consider launching into a story or a funny comment about the groom. Your audience will be captivated from the get-go.
Example - If anyone knows Matt, you would be aware that he is known as “The Procrastinator”, and his favorite saying is, “I’ll be back to make a decision later”. Now, he will always tell you that he is thoroughly researching the subject matter. Anything to delay making a decision. That was until he met Sarah, and very early on in the piece, he divulged that he was going to marry her. “The Procrastinator” became “The Decision Maker”.
Welcome and Thanks
Welcoming your audience to the event and recognizing guests ensures the audience feels acknowledged. If something weird and wonderful things happen on the wedding day, like a lost ring, a car breakdown, or a missing person, adding this story here will add some humor and generate conversation after the speech
Example - Good evening everyone. My name is Rob. I hope everyone has had a fantastic day, and I am especially glad to be here on this occasion to celebrate this wonderful day with my friend, Matt.
Telling a story about how you met the Groom or the couple and personal memories you have about the Groom provides perspective for your audience on your relationship with him. It is a great opportunity to feature your theme, capture the audience's interest, provide some humor, and show how much you admire the Groom or couple. It may also teach the audience a little bit about what the couple or the Groom is like.
Example - Matt is my Brother, so naturally, I have quite the arsenal of juicy stories to mention. But don’t worry Matt. There isn’t enough time tonight to even scratch the surface of all your stories involving, let’s just say, high-spirited behavior. I remember a brother that would wait for an hour hidden in my bedroom just so he could jump out and scare me when I walked in. I remember a brother that would catch the bus with me to and from school, and who would always be the center of all the romance or the scuffles with other school kids on the bus trips, with of course me having to referee everything. I remember a brother always having to win at everything, and god forbid he lose. And, I remember a brother that would come home most weekends at 3am, clearly playing bumper cars with the walls on the way to his bedroom, having had one too many. But, I also remember a brother who was always there to help, whether it be sport, schoolwork, moving house, or just having a one-on-one brotherly chat. After all these years and everything that has happened, Matt is someone I would consider to be one of my best friends. I also thought to consider whether it may be best to video record some of the events I just mentioned and upload them to Facebook for everyone’s future reference. But seriously, I didn’t post anything on Facebook – I uploaded it YouTube instead.
Call it serendipity, destiny, whatever – when I first met Sarah, I knew that she was the woman that Matt would end up marrying. I think it was more obvious to Matt’s close friends that he was head over heels in love with her. The truth be known – he wouldn’t shut up about you Sarah! It was all we heard for months on end – and that was fine because we have never seen him so happy. He was absolutely smitten, and we could all see it and only hope that we are all lucky enough to be as happy as these two lovesick kids.
Funny story about the groom or tips
Providing some entertainment is part of the Best Man role, so including a funny story about the Groom or couple or tips on marriage is a great way to get some laughs and lighten the mood. Just remember to keep it appropriate to your audience.
Example - Now, I knew Sarah’s effect on Matt was instant, not just because he couldn’t stop talking about her, but because – we actually met her! And when I say, “met her”, within two weeks of first getting together, he couldn't wait to show his beautiful girlfriend off. We all know that Matt is a show-off, but seriously Sarah, I don't know how there is room in the relationship with all of Matt’s ego. You must remember to keep knocking it down a peg or two. While I can, I might take the opportunity to knock it down by mentioning that although it has been a fairy tale of a day, some would argue that it was kind of like the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast, with the beautiful princess and, well, the Beast. You know – athletic, hairy, big barrel chest, epic beard, great suit. And Matt, just remember that that fairy tale also happens to include a castle filled with lots of expensive things. Good luck!
Compliment the bridal party
No Best Man Speech is complete without complimenting the entire bridal party on how they look and how they have helped with the wedding.
Example - I’m sure you will all agree that Sarah looks absolutely stunning today, as does our bridesmaids, Jess and Marie. Sarah, Matt – you and your supporting team have achieved an amazing result in putting this day together and I have no doubt you are very happy with how it has turned out. Thank you also to [Bridesmaids] for your invaluable contribution to today’s events. The boys have turned out alright as well, and I would hope so after spending what felt like four hours in the suit shop going through 50 shades of blue to finally settle on a color. But, you guys look great.
Perhaps the groom or couple has faced a particular challenge or is embarking on an exciting adventure. Mention it, and try to tie it into your theme or a compliment.
Example - Sarah and Matt – I must say, I can’t believe that you managed to plan a wedding with everything else going on in life. Your business, the late nights, the family, and all the stresses that come along with keeping “all of the plates spinning”. How do you do it? You’ll have to share your secrets afterward over a stiff drink. I admire your dedication and your tenacity, and so long as you always remember to make time for yourselves, I have no doubt these qualities will serve you well in your marriage.
Absent family or friends or others may request to pass on a message of thanks. This is your role and may get asked by the bridal party or family to read these messages out. Transitioning smoothly from your speech to reading these messages may require a sentence or two.
Example - As Best Man, I am obliged to read out messages from those who were unable to attend today. As a disclaimer, I have no affiliation with these messages or their content, so here goes!
Close and Toast
Ending with a toast along with a quote or quick comment that summarises your theme toast to the couple will finish your speech off nicely!
Example - Sarah – thank you for making my brother so happy. He's a good guy. To me – he is the best person you can have by your side. Matt is not only my brother but also my best friend, even despite his often-crazy antics and strange behavior. I am immensely proud of the person he has become, and I'm so happy you two found each other. I mean it when I say that I'm gaining a sister today. Congratulations to both of you. Please join me in wishing Sarah and Matt all the best for the future and a lifetime filled with love and happiness. To the new Mr and Mrs Bana, Sarah and Matt!
Consider how you are delivering your speech. There may be times in your speech that you should vary your tone and volume, and times you should use gestures. These tools will help to get maximum impact, so consider this when you write your speech. For more on how to deliver a Best Man speech, check out our Resources page.
At SpeechForm, we believe your efforts to write your Best Man Speech is not to just “get it done”, but to make the speech enjoyable, memorable, and one that has people approaching you to sing their praises for your speech. After all, you will have put in a lot of effort. There is something special about making an impact on your audience when you thought your sole job was just to “get through it”. Make sure to include the above points so that the audience gets what they expect from your speech. And always ask yourself - what am I trying to achieve with this speech? Keep that in mind as you develop your content.
Remember to rehearse. This is a performance. The more you develop your speech and rehearse, the greater the impression you will make. Confidence through a well-written speech is great, but using your voice and your body effectively only comes through practice.
Get it right, and you will leave a lasting impression that your audience will remember long after the wedding.
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