A Groom can ask two big questions when it comes to marriage. The first, “Will you… marry me?” and the second, “Will you… be my Best Man?” The first question is often more terrifying for the Groom and the second is always more terrifying for the Best Man! Why? The Best Man’s Speech of course!
Whether you’re nervous or just looking for some quick tips to perfect your performance, you could probably use some quick Best Man speech hacks to boost your confidence.
Over the course of drafting 4 Best Man speeches, I have accumulated a large amount of notes which I feel contain the building blocks for a successful Best Man speech. Most importantly I have delivered the speeches, read the room reactions, listened to feedback, and taken more notes (over the years I have also listened to many other Best Man speeches in the same regard – and witnessed some super successes and some epic failures).
Most men will have the honour of being Best Man once or twice in their life, so there is no room for trial and error! Fortunately, I can share a few really beneficial Best Man ‘speech hacks’ that I have picked up along the way. These are some of the most important tips a Best Man can receive as they have largely come from experience.
Top Best Man speech hacks
- Keep your speech in around the 10 minutes mark. If it goes over due to crowd interaction or gift-giving that’s fine. Consensus seems to be that 7/8 minutes is the average. If you want your speech to be remembered, you should go for slightly above average. That’s the safe zone.
- For funny childhood stories, ask the Groom’s friends or siblings. This way you get to take credit for a funny anecdote without having to think one up!
- Another ‘story outsourcing’ idea is to ask the Bride if she has any funny stories about the Groom. In all likelihood she will have a number of them. For example, how they met, how he proposed etc.
- A handy and effective trick to help ease your nerves in advance of your speech is to announce the Bride and Groom into the room. This will be your first time on the mic and it’s a less-pressurised way of speaking to the room. Also, remember that you will be Master of Ceremonies. Your big moment essentially starts as soon as you pick up the mic. You will be introducing the speakers before you. These are usually the father of the Bride first, then the Groom. Make sure you have something funny to say about each of these people. An early laugh is always good to set the tone and build your confidence.
- Use flash cards. This is by far the best way to hold your speech notes. Do not use A4 pages, if you are in any way nervous these pages will start to shake and your next point may be hard to find on the page. Yes, I would encourage you to write your full speech out on an A4 pad or typed into Word and printed out for rehearsal, but the only thing you should have when standing up at the top table is your mic and flashcards. Flash cards are small, solid, professional looking, and easy to follow. Limit yourself to 10-15 flash cards. Number and title each flash card, and bullet point the key points you want to speak about.
- Reference something that happened that day. Either make something up that happened in private or reference a funny/notable part of ceremony that the guests can all relate too. This will make your speech feel less-rehearsed.
- Make sure you have a drink ready to toast the Bride and Groom at the end of your speech. It will look extremely awkward if you attempt to make a toast with no drink close to hand.
- Name-check some guests in the crowd. The Groom doesn’t have to be the only one who is the butt of your jokes. Try to use his friends as punch lines, this will get the best reaction from the audience.
- Remember to give thanks to the Bridal Party. This is a small and simple part of your speech but if it’s forgotten it will come across as disrespectful.
- If the Bride‘s family are not native English speakers, then it would be great to be able to deliver a joke or toast in their native tongue. I’m not saying try to learn Spanish in one week, but try to learn how to say a few words. It shows you have made the effort and is a nice gesture.
- Reference the other speeches that go before you. There will be material in there, forgotten mentions, failed joke attempts. The Best Man speech is the recap, the final word, the showstopper.
- Finish on an emotional story. One that highlights the Bride and Groom. Nothing caps a Best Man’s speech like a touching outro.
Get the Best Man Speech Guidebook
If you are thinking about your upcoming Best Man duties or need to draft your speech in a hurry you can check out the book the Best Man Speech Guidebook for even more tips and a full list of Best Man speech hacks. It contains the important do’s and don’ts in wedding speech etiquette, some great one-liners, visual gag options, but most importantly a clear speech structure and tried and tested speech templates.
The Best Man guide
For more advice and ideas for all of your Best Man duties, check out our Ultimate Best Man Guide page.