Destination I Do
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Writing Your Best Man Speech

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Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Three people get the most nerves whenever there’s a wedding – the groom, the bride, and the best man. Wait, the best man? Why?

Because apart from being closely involved with other wedding day duties such as helping the guests, leading the groomsmen, and providing moral support to the groom, a bigger task awaits him once all the guests have settled on the D-day. Reading the much anticipated best man speech. Normally, this is where disaster kicks in.

In most cases, the best man will go on a freezer, sweating profusely while inaudible words try to escape his mouth. And on the other end, a bouncier chap will end up throwing inappropriate jokes that will turn him and at worst, the couple, into a laughing stock. So where do I strike the balance? Is the job put on me too much? Not really. This piece will help you craft the best, best man speech ever. So, take a notebook and read on.

1. Prepare

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There’s no shortcut to this. You have to take some time and prepare for the speech – even if it will just be 3 minutes long. Fail to do this and you will find yourself in a mental meltdown the moment the mic will land on your hand. In short, lack of preparation is the overconfident best man pill. “So, how should I prepare?”

Start with the basics

The best way to know where to start before you write your best man speech is by trying to describe a few things about the groom and bride and your connection to them. Specifically, how do you know them? Why on earth did they choose you as their best man? And if you were to use five adjectives to describe them, which would first come to mind? These three are the core questions that you should be able to answer, just to get the magnitude of trust and love the couple has accorded you. This should tell you the magnitude that you should reciprocate. Remember, a great best man speech is one written straight from the heart. And once the matters of the heart are done (thus you’ve found purpose), you can go ahead and build a framework.

The Framework

This is a complicated term for your best man’s speech skeleton. In short, what points would you want to hit first, and what should come right at the end of the speech. To craft out this skeleton well, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the audience, not the best man. I mean, you know these two well – or at least better than most people in the audience. The framework will help you build the right story with descriptive details and memories of certain key events between the bride, groom, and you. For instance, how has the groom changed ever since he met his bride? How did they meet in the first place? Do you have an amusing story about how the groom knocked his head on a door while trying to be a gentleman to his bride? Share it with the audience, in an appropriate sequence. Remember, this speech should not only show the connection between you and the couple but also reel the audience into key events in their lives and make them feel part of it.

2. Work with this Outline

The framework will mostly be a mirror of this outline. While most hardcore best men will go straight to the writing, best practice is to work with a tentative outline like this one.

●      Killer opener – if you don’t grab their attention from the start, then you might just have trouble keeping them off the snooze

●      Congratulate the newlywed couple – the focus is on them, not you. Keep it that way.

●      Say some niceties about the groom’s spouse – show that you do know her and your buddy is lucky to have her.

●      Quote some advice – even better, if you’re already married, provide some of your own, from personal experience or advice you also received.

●      Close the speech – no one’s got the whole day – especially your nerves.

3. Relax and Be Sober

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The best medicine for anxiety is tipsiness. Bad idea. Once you hit D-day, your best bet is to ensure you are relaxed and sober right before you get to deliver your best man speech. Being sober is critical to ensure you don’t get out of line and start being embarrassing and humiliating, instead of funny and genuine. Anxiety botches up a well-planned speech. You might have rehearsed for a full two months, but a brief moment of anxiety might induce temporary amnesia and serious fidgeting, messing up the entire speech.

4. Don’t Force the Humor

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Ask your friend for a best man speech advice, and he’ll tell you to be Jerry Seinfeld. Sadly, not everyone can do standup comedy. And if that’s not your forte, avoid it. Even better, since a dry best man speech can send the entire wedding party to slumber, you can borrow one or two lines from some funny best man speeches adaptations. But, be careful. Too much humor usually dilutes the gist of the speech and its focus – which is the couple. And on the worst part, it makes you look inappropriate if you stretch the humor into roasting.

5. Focus on the Positives

“Do you know he had ten exes before you?” Buuuurrrrnnnnn. That, and any other negative topic about marriage (divorce), gambling, drinking, and adult humor should not suffice in your best man’s speech. Parents, colleagues, and bosses would probably be there. Instead, focus on the good stuff. You can talk of how you can’t wait to congratulate them on their golden anniversary. What about teasing on being the godfather to their first kid? Your speech should set a positive atmosphere that will have the couple and wedding party relaxed.

6. Don’t Take the Whole Day

The guests are more interested in the wedding and its niceties, so you shouldn’t keep them waiting for long. The best practice is to keep your best man speech under three minutes. However, this doesn’t mean you attempt a record under one minute. We understand you might be a man of few words, but you can go the extra mile for the groom can’t you?

7. Close with a Toast – Nah, Let’s Gift

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A toast is the traditional closure of a best man’s speech. But let’s give that a twist. Instead of just proposing a toast, you can blend it with a small, personal gift from you, to the couple. Yes, we are talking about an actual gift and not a glass full of champagne. You can think of the bride and groom separately. For the groom, for instance, you can get him personalized drinks and cigar set that he’ll remember you with for the rest of his life. You can shop here or other numerous gift vendors for ideas on what best works for him. Same procedure for the bride, and you’ll have the most unique best man speech closure ever. Of course, the toast shouldn’t be left out completely. You probably haven’t had a taste of liquor up to this point.

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