The honor of being selected as Best Man for a friend's wedding is one that should not be taken lightly, particularly as you will have the privilege of addressing the guests at the wedding when you are giving the Best Man speech. Weddings are joyous occasions with the Best Man speech being one of the highlights of the day, not to mention being one of the most talked-about memories of the day so getting the Best Man speech right is not optional it is essential.
A successful Best Man speech is dependent on two things, content and delivery, luckily these are two things that can be mastered so let's take a closer look at them both.
You should begin your speech with a warm opening line and introduction, it is important not to try to be too funny when you open your speech as you risk alienating the guests but by all means give a light-hearted introduction. You may wish to introduce yourself to guests and welcome them to the happy event.
From there you should hike the Bride and Bridesmaids. Compliments should be lavished upon the Bride and some words of praise and gratitude directed towards the Bridesmaids. From here you should begin discussing your relationship with the Groom, how long you have been friends etc.
Funny stories and witty anecdotes are expected, when delivering a Best Man speech, so look back to the past for some humorous moments that will bring smiles to faces of the wedding guests and sometimes have the Groom squirming in his seat.
In searching for funny stories at the Groom's expense, popular topics include; His sporting (or lack of) prowess, his college years, his employment history etc. It is vital that you do not discuss his past love life or the Bachelor Party, this could easily offend the Bride and the parents of the Groom so do not put yourself in that position. Best Man jokes should be short one-liners as wedding guests usually have short attention-spans and may lose interest midway through a long meandering joke.
The Best Man who quite often receives the loudest ovation is the one who concentrates on sincerity and gives a speech from the heart. With this in mind you should mention how guided you are to be Best Man and show some humility by saying "it is a role I share equally with my fellow groomsmen".
In leading towards the closing lines you should mention what a great couple the Bride and Groom make and announce to the audience that Groom has been the happiest he has ever been since the Bride entered his life.
You should finish with a fitting wedding toast that should wish the Newlyweds a happy loving life together. Ending on a sincere, heartfelt toast, rather than trying a funny toast, should ensure your speech lasts long in the memory and will garner a loud ovation.
When you stand to speak maintain eye-contact with the guests and smile as you speak, you will find that your guests do likewise. Even if you are looking down at prompts on cue cards once you raise your head again you should hold eye-contact, as this helps build a bond with those watching. When discussing certain people in your speech (such as when raising the Bride) you should look in their direction, and speak as if you are having a one-on-one conversation with them.
You have three options on how to deliver the speech;
1) From memory- whilst delivering from memory in front of a mirror at home is achievable, it is a different proposition on the Big Day, as your nerves will make you anxious and this could affect your delivery.
2) Read it- undoubtedly the " safety first" option for many Best Men but these speakers often come across in a monotone manner and can cause the audience to quickly lose interest in what you are saying.
3) Cue cards- cue cards is the recommended way and your best option. You should have "prompt words" highlighted on the cards so that when you need a reminder of what to say next, you simply take a quick glance down to remind yourself of what to say next.
Once you have decided on the cue-card option it is important to bear in mind that there are 2 sections of your speech that you need to deliver from memory; Your opening lines and closing lines. You rely on your opening line to garner interest and to receive a surge of confidence to help you with the rest of your speech, while your closing line is the most important line of your speech so ensuring that you focus on the guests as you speak.
As Best Man you should always stand-up when giving your speech, even if others choose to sit as they speak. Speak with poise and character, remember that short speeches have a better impact than long statements, and practice when you can as a confident Best Man delivers the best speech. Click here for easily downloadable Best Man speakers that will have the guests roaring on their approval and look forward in advance to the standing ovation that your speech should receive.
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David B. Duncan