Being someone’s best man is an incredible and memorable experience. Yet, it can also feel extremely overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. From organizing the bachelor party to helping the groom pick his wedding outfit, the best man has a lot of responsibilities. However, one of the most important duties of any best man is, by far, his speech.
Unfortunately, not everybody has a way with words, meaning that you might struggle writing your speech. But, with a bit of preparation and foresight, you too can make a speech worthy of everyone’s admiration. If you are curious to learn more about writing the best man speech, then you’ve come to the right place!
What’s a Best Man Speech?
Generally speaking, the best man speech is a speech written by the groom’s best man, usually his best friend. The purpose of the speech is to praise the groom and lighten up the overall mood of the wedding. As a result, best man speeches are an essential part of any wedding and should be taken seriously.
Traditionally, the best man’s speech is read just before dinner is served. And, depending on the wedding’s style, it comes right after the father of the bride speaks. Even so, it’s not uncommon for the groom to have a speech before the best man can read his.
Structure of a Best Man Speech
Writer’s block is extremely common, especially among people with little to no writing experience. However, that’s no excuse for a lousy best man speech! So, if you feel like you have no idea where to start, all you need to do is follow the structure below. And while not every best man speech is structured identically, this is a good starting point for anyone’s best man.
If it’s your first time writing the best man speech, you are most likely feeling overwhelmed. In fact, chances are that you either have too many ideas with no way to organize them or no ideas at all. However, you can fix those problems by creating a rough outline of the speech. Here’s an example of an outline that you can adapt to your specific situation:
• Start with a catchy and unique opening line.
• Thank the previous speakers.
• Congratulate the lucky couple.
• Compliment your friend’s spouse.
• Make a joke about the groom.
• Reminiscent a few funny moments from your groom’s past.
• Compliment the groom and praise him for his choice.
• Quote a poem or a few famous lines.
• Propose a toast.
The opening of the best man speech is very important, as it needs to hook the audience into paying attention. Not only that, but the opening line also gives the audience an indication of what kind of speech they are going to read. As a result, your opening line should be clear, warm, and easy to understand. You can also incorporate a few jokes or witty remarks, but try to keep them related to the rest of your speech.
If you struggle coming up with an opening line, here are a few examples:
• Hello everybody, my name is John and as the best man, I have to praise the groom, which I find pretty hard to do.
• My name is John, and it’s an honor to be Davids’s best man.
• Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming to this once-in-a-lifetime event. I’d like to take a few moments to speak about David and his gorgeous wife, Bella.
The closing of your speech is just as important as the opening. Its main purpose is to highlight the groom’s qualities and give the newlyweds the best wishes. The closing line needs to be interesting, unique, and tie everything you talked about together. And while you can add a funny twist to it, try not to overuse jokes and witty remarks.
Need more help? Check out the following examples:
• I’m so happy that you’ve found each other and decided to share your lives. I wish you the best and I hope you’ll have a long and happy life.
• John, we’ve known each other for some time now, but I’ve never seen you this happy in my entire life. I hope you know that right now, you are the luckiest man in the entire world. Thanks for letting me share this unique event with you and your amazing wife.
• Please join me in raising a glass to the happy couple — to John and Bella!
Although quotes are not essential, they are a fine addition to any best man speech. However, you need to make sure that they fit the tone and style of your speech, and aren’t too rigid or formal. Also, remember that not every quote makes sense without its original context, so try to keep it simple and straightforward. And just like jokes, don’t overuse them, or you run the risk of making your speech sound like a high-school essay.
Not sure what kind of quotes to use? Then feel free to use any of the following:
• “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” – Thomas Aquinas.
• “Who, being loved, is poor?” – Oscar Wilde
• “It’s not what we have in life, but who we have in life that matters.”
No best man speech is complete without at least one interesting story about the groom or his partner. In fact, you can transform the entire speech into a big story that ends up with a memorable conclusion. When choosing what story to recount, you need to keep in mind that some stories are better left alone. In other words, avoid stories that put the groom in a bad light or make fun of his partner.
Similarly, don’t focus on stories that are too complex, boring, or simply irrelevant. And always give the entire story, otherwise, you might cause confusion amongst the people involved.
Everybody loves to laugh once in a while, even during serious events like weddings. As a result, most people recommend inserting a few jokes and puns into your best man speech. However, you still need to be careful not to overdo it, unless you want to transform the wedding into a late-night comedy sketch. Additionally, try to avoid edgy or offensive jokes, as they are usually inappropriate for weddings.
Here are some jokes that work for most speeches, regardless of context:
• It’s been an emotional day, even the cake is in tiers.
• We all know that Bella is a wonderful person who deserves the perfect guy. Too bad you don’t always get what you deserve.
• The groom and I share a common sense of humor. So if this speech is in any way unfunny, feel free to blame him.
What Should You Talk About?
By now, you’re probably wondering what you should talk about. After all, you can’t just fill the speech with random stories and jokes. Well, in actuality, you can do that, as long as you bridge them with interesting and relevant content. As an example, you can start by introducing yourself, then explain your relationship to the groom, compliment the bride and finish with praise and toast.
Or, you can talk about any of the following things, as long as you know how to introduce them in your speech:
• Friendship stories
• Funny moments from your past
• Your relationship with the bride and groom
• Quotes and poems about love and marriage
• The wedding itself
• Your first impression of the wedding
• How you met the groom/bride
• Wise words for the future
• Your belief in marriage
How Long Should a Best Man Speech Be?
As the best man, it is your responsibility to make sure that your speech isn’t too long or too short. However, when deciding its length, you need to consider how it will fit in with the other speeches. More specifically, you don’t want your speech to be much longer or shorter than the father or groom’s speech. Therefore, you should talk with them beforehand and figure out the perfect speech length.
For example, in America, best man speeches are usually no longer than 5 minutes, while in the UK they are usually about 10 minutes long. And, if the number of speakers is more than four, you should aim for a speech length of 7-8 minutes. You can also adjust the length of the speech on the fly, as long as you feel comfortable improvising.
But regardless of the length you go for, you need to understand that quality is more important than quantity. In other words, don’t fill your speech with random words just because it needs to be longer.
11 Tips For Writing a Successful Best Man Speech
Still not sure about your speech? Then the following tips should boost your odds of success and help you make quite an impression.
1. Start Early
The most important tip anyone can give you is to start working on your speech early. In fact, you should begin writing it at least two months before the wedding, so you can make any adjustments down the line.
Also, keep in mind that as the wedding gets closer, there are events like suit fitting and parties that might distract you from your task. Starting early is the first step you can take to ensure that your speech will be a resounding success.
2. Consider Your Audience
It’s hard to create an amazing speech without any idea to whom you need to tailor the content. Why is it important? Because otherwise, you might make inappropriate jokes or references that won’t land, making the entire wedding an awkward and uncomfortable experience.
As a result, you should ask the groom about the other guests and what their preferences are. Afterward, adjust your speech accordingly and avoid anything that could cause problems amongst the audience.
3. Choose the Theme
When making the best man speech, you need to start with a theme in mind. That way, you have a clear idea of the direction and tone that you are going for. So, how should you choose a theme? You can start by making a list of your favorite stories and pick a theme from those specific stories.
For instance, if your story involves love or something funny, center your speech around those themes. Then, you need to write the rest of the speech based on the theme of your choosing to create a comprehensive writing piece.
4. Avoid the Overuse of Jokes
Even though a few jokes are a perfect way to loosen up the crowd, you don’t want to center your entire speech around them. As a rule of thumb, you can place one or two jokes, mainly at the beginning of your speech. But try to keep a more serious overall tone, especially if you are not good at delivering jokes. Also, never use edgy or dark humor, unless you know for a fact that every member of the audience is up for it.
5. Keep It Positive
Weddings are happy events, meaning that you should only focus on positive things with your speech. So, you should avoid roasting the couple or any other family members, unless you have their approval. Not only that, but stories that revolve around sad events or unhappy memories should be left untouched.
And while one or two jokes are perfect, make sure they are not at the expense of the couple. You want people to laugh because they now know the groom better, not because the groom did something wrong or illegal a few years ago.
6. Don’t Make It Lengthy
As previously mentioned, your speech should have the perfect length, usually no longer than 5 minutes. However, that doesn’t mean you should increase the length artificially in order to meet the 5 minutes mark. In fact, shorter speeches tend to be even better, as long as they are interesting. So, try to make your speech memorable first and then think about its length.
7. Write It Down
Usually, best man speeches come naturally and are not read from a piece of paper. But, if you have trouble memorizing your speech due to stress or anxiety, you can use notecards or a small notepad. Just make sure to write important ideas or transition phrases, not the entire speech. And most importantly, never use a scrap of paper or your hand to write the speech down, as that will make you look sloppy and unreliable.
8. Don’t Stress Yourself
Everybody knows that being the best man is not as easy as it seems, especially if it’s your first time. But you don’t have to make it harder by stressing yourself over the speech. While you need to make a good impression, you also don’t want to let stress overwhelm you and ruin the event.
Most importantly, don’t start by saying how nervous you are or how many drinks you’ve had in order to calm down. You need to remember that you aren’t putting on a show, you are simply talking about your best friend. Therefore, the speech should feel natural and have a nice flow to it.
9. Don’t Repeat Yourself
If your speech revolves around a story or a central idea, you don’t want to repeat yourself too often. In other words, try to use a variety of words and phrases, without saying the same thing over and over again. You can do that by searching for synonyms or alternative words that you can use to flesh out your speech. Or you can ask one of your friends for help, especially someone that has a way with words.
But whatever you do, try to avoid copying and pasting entire phrases from the internet or other sources. You want your speech to be both original and personal, so don’t rely on other people’s work.
10. Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect, and that’s why you should practice reading your speech once it’s done. After all, you don’t want to stand up and give a speech that you have never read beforehand. By practicing in front of a mirror, you can get an idea of your body movement and what adjustments you need to make.
Similarly, you can ask a friend to assist you with practice, so you can get some additional constructive criticism. Use the criticism to adjust your speech if necessary, and once you are ready, give it another practice session. Once everybody gives you the green light, you can confidently read the speech in front of your best friend and his wedding guests.
11. Don’t Drink Beforehand
If you have trouble writing your speech, you may be tempted to use alcohol in order to calm down and focus on it. However, while one glass of wine never hurts anybody, you should never have more when writing something as important as the best man speech.
Otherwise, you run the risk of embarrassing yourself and your best friend with a speech that is barely comprehensible. Also, try to avoid alcohol right before the main event, as it might cause nausea and make you unable to read your speech.
Best Man Speech Examples
Sometimes, no matter how much you try, you simply can’t squeeze any relevant ideas, which often leads to frustration and stress. So, if you find yourself unable to come up with a good speech, then you can check out a few examples below. Just remember that they are more of a guideline for how to write a speech, and you shouldn’t copy them entirely.
Praising Best Man Speech
Good evening, everybody, I’d like to start by saying that John has always been the kind of man to make risky decisions. I could talk for hours upon hours about our past and how many times we’ve gotten into trouble because of him.
However, today, I want to focus on the smart choices he has made. His friendships, his career, and his relationship with his family are all reflections of the smart choices he made. But by far, the smartest decision he has ever made was marrying you, Bella.
Let’s toast to the best decision John has ever made! I wish you both a long life filled with love and happiness.
Funny Best Man Speech
Bella is looking absolutely stunning tonight, isn’t she? However, she’s not only gorgeous but also sweet, caring and deserves the best husband in the world. Thankfully for John, she married him before she was able to find the one.
But let’s be honest, the deal isn’t entirely fair. John gets to go home tonight with the perfect wife that any man would want to have. Bella, on the other hand, leaves tonight with a couple of flowers she can put in a vase and cherish for a few days.
Jokes aside, I’m very proud of John for finding such a loving person to be on his side for the rest of his life. And Bella, I know that John is not only a great man but also a great husband and he will do anything for you.
Cheers to the lucky couple! We all hope you will have a long and beautiful life filled with joy and happiness!
Short Best Man Speech
Good evening everyone! It’s time to lift our glasses and toast to the happy couple.
John, thank you for always being beside me, even through some of the hardest times in my life. You are a great friend, and I’m sure you’ll be an even greater husband.
Bella, there is no denying that you looked stunning this evening. And while I haven’t known you for long, I’m confident that you are the perfect match for John.
John and Bella, tonight is all about you too! We all wish you a lifetime of happiness, success, laughter, love, and health. May your love and friendship continue to grow in the following years. Cheers!
Sentimental Best Man Speech
Hello everyone, it’s my pleasure to be here as John’s best man. I want to begin by saying what an honor it is to find myself by your side on this special day. I’ve always looked up to you, and I am more than grateful to share this moment with you and Bella.
John is someone that has always had a special place in my heart, and I am extremely happy that he has found someone to share his life with. Throughout my life, John was always there to guide and help me, no matter what trouble I got myself into.
And while I’m not sure what the future holds for the both of you, I’m certain that John can handle anything life throws at him. Cheers to you, John, and cheers to your lovely wife, Bella.