Summertime means wedding season – a time where couples celebrate their relationships and aspire for a long and prosperous future together. For many people, especially the bride, wedding day is the most important day of their life. A crucial part of this ceremony is preparing and delivering wedding vows, which is also one of the most stressful points of the wedding itself for any future bride or groom. There are virtually no rules to the way in which one can write wedding vows, which is why writing them may be so difficult; however, they are the promises that you plan to uphold to your partner for the remainder of your marriage, which for many stands as a lifetime commitment. There are many things to consider when preparing your wedding vows, especially in terms of what is and is not acceptable vow material for the wedding.
First, and probably most importantly, wedding vows ought to be honest. A marriage cannot survive without honesty, and so it is foolish to think that the wedding day and the vows are any different. It is imperative that promises made by the bride or groom to the other are not only realistic, but something that can be upheld without too much strain. Successful marriages are predicated upon honesty, and it is only realistic that the wedding vows are consistent with that mindset. If the bride or groom vows something completely ridiculous or unattainable at the wedding, it is possible that their future spouse will feel resentful if that promise is broken during the marriage, and feel less inclined to uphold their own vows. They may just seem like words, but the vows are truly promises that signify your commitment to the relationship and its future. Honesty may truly be the best policy in the case of the wedding vows, especially because it is something neither of you are likely to forget. It is important to start off the rest of your lives together on the “right foot”, and the best way to do that is to be realistic in the promises you make within your wedding vows.
Secondly, wedding vows should be meaningful. It is not enough to say as a bride, “I will let you have the remote when we watch TV”, or as a groom, “I promise to not make fun of you when you fart in front of me.” As a bride or groom, it is important that your wedding vows are significant to the relationship and heartfelt commitments to your partner. It is the only opportunity that a bride or groom is truly offered to stand and testify for their love and commitment to their partner, and it should be taken relatively seriously. That is not to say that wedding vows shouldn’t be funny (by all means, it is much worse for your vows to be stale and boring), but rather that the promises stand for something special to you and your future spouse. There are many ways to do this, not all of them have to be entirely cliché or melodramatic. However, they should be important to both you and your spouse-to-be. Promise to love and support your spouse, to listen to what they have to say, and respect their opinions and feelings. Promise to be more understanding, or to not lose faith in them during difficult times. That makes the wedding vows not only accomplishable by your own means, but they help to make your bride or groom feel special and comforted in the leap of faith you are about to take together.
Finally, it is important that your wedding vows express your true feelings to your bride or groom. Your wedding is the one day that you get to truly celebrate your triumphs before all of your friends and family, so make them genuine and complete. This again means that the wedding vows need to be truthful, but they should also be a reflection of the one making them. Be sure to let your future spouse know how much they mean to you, and make your wedding vows something that both of you can look back upon and appreciate ten or twenty years later. Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, and the vows are meant to represent a milestone for your bride or groom and express the enthusiasm and excitement you share for the future. The way to accomplish this is through being honest and direct, but also letting the wedding vows express who you truly are, and how you feel about the relationship to your bride or group, to those observing, and to yourself.
Being one of the most important wedding speeches that would be given during the course of the wedding reception, best man speeches often set the mood for the rest of the evening. It would be very awful for the best man to come to the reception party without having prepared for his speech especially when he knew he has to give one ever since he was chosen to be the best man. Well, nobody is going to mind if the best man is a bit nervous, even though this could be handled easily, but the guests won’t appreciate if the figure that the best man is actually careless or negligent about his speech and has no clue regarding what he might say for his best man speech. It indicates the absence of responsibility that the best man is entrusted with. This obviously leads to a total embarrassment not only for the best man but also for the groom. Not to forget that it is also very disrespectful for the guests who would be listening to the speech. If somebody agrees to carry out a duty (the duty of a best man in this case) the very least he is able to do would be to try and deliver a simple but decent speech.
Make use of the the ‘tried and tested’ KISS approach!
In this particular case it’s a bit different than what you already know – “Keep It Short and Sweet”, or may be, “Keep It Short and Simple”. The objective of a best man speech is to toast the wedding couple as well as the bridesmaids and in the process share his thoughts on the groom, the bride and their marriage. It isn’t a way to much lengthy, speech that might bore the audience to death. Best man speeches that are longer than five minutes would probably be excessively long, if you aren’t a seasoned orator and you really know what you’re after.
If you aren’t preparing the speech you’re preparing to fail!
There isn’t any alternative to preparation. Of course, anybody could be tempted to deliver an extempore speech at times, but this may not be one of those times. There should be sufficient time to get ready and the audience is aware of that. The obvious way to accomplish this would be to actually put in writing everything that you plan to mention in your speech, then review it several times before you are happy with it. Try to memorize the key points of your best man speech – when you write your own speech it becomes a lot easier to remember. This also is going to result in a lot more self-confidence and eliminate some of the nervousness that all of us experience when we need to make a speech in front of a group of people.
Did I say, “Practice is the key.”
This is going to be the most crucial part of your entire best man speech preparation. Practice your speech hard – the more the better. Consider rehearsing your speech facing a mirror or you can even think of actually ‘test deliver’ the speech to a friend of yours. In case you are not accustomed to speaking in public, listening to yourself and becoming familiar to it is going to build the confidence you would need. If you believe you could have difficulties remembering all the topics, then jot down the key points on a few cue-cards and have them ready while making the speech. The idea is to take a look at those cards if you tend to forget some topics while making your speech. Make sure that you don’t by any means read the entire speech from a sheet of paper without having to look at your audience at all – that’s going to be a real showdown. Make use of your cue cards to give you the cues (that’s what they are for) whenever you need them and deliver your speech making eye contacts with your audience from time to time.
With some effort on your side as well as some guidance and support from friends and family members, it is very much possible to pull off a great best man speech successfully.
The big day is approaching and you have a role to play. You may be the best man; or the father of the bride; or perhaps you are the groom himself. Either way, you will be giving a wedding speech and you need to be prepared.
Like everything important in life, preparation is the key. For many people taking part in a wedding, making a wedding speech is the most daunting task. If you have done your homework, you are most of the way to doing a good job. So where do you begin?
The wedding speech you deliver depends on your role and also the culture in which the wedding is taking place. Tradition dictates that you include certain references: for example, in Great Britain the groom should raise a toast to the bridesmaids; this, in turn, requires that the best man reply on the bridesmaids’ behalf, thanking the groom for the toast. You need to be aware of what custom requires; you can be sure there will be someone shaking her head saying “You wouldn’t believe that he forgot to do such-and-such”. Check these out: use a book or the internet; if you haven’t been to many weddings, speak to someone who has. This is especially important if the wedding is in a culture with which you are unfamiliar.
Once you are aware of the compulsory elements, the rest is up to you. Start thinking about your wedding speech well in advance. This way, you not only have ample time to compose the wedding speech itself but your familiarity with it, gained over time, will help you deliver it well on the day. Think about appropriate anecdotes and little jokes that you can include. A wedding is a joyful occasion, so your wedding speech should be light and witty. However, do be careful: as someone once said, “It is better to have a boring wedding speech than to ruin the wedding”. There are certain to be people present who you do not know and it is hard to tell how a joke will go down. If you suspect that the joke might be too risqué or an anecdote borderline inappropriate, then err on the side of caution and leave it out. Remember, there are grandmas present at weddings, not just best mates.
While we are on the subject of mistakes, do not get a name wrong. About the worst faux pas you can make in a wedding speech is to refer to the bride with the name of the groom’s ex. Remember also that while it may be fun to rib the groom mercilessly, you should say something kind about him too. In fact, it is good form to say something positive and kindly about both the bride and the groom.
You are giving a wedding speech, so you doubtless know the bride or groom well, especially if you are the father of the bride. You are likely, then, to have more material for your wedding speech than you require. How long should the wedding speech be? Well, that is hard to say, but remember: there is little worse than sitting through a boring wedding speech. As long as you do not make it too long, you can’t go too wrong. So take the best of the material you have accumulated and discard the rest. Try to put the material together so that it flows well. Perhaps one anecdote leads naturally to a second (don’t have too many); or a joke illustrates a point you have just made. It is probably a good idea to put the “required elements” near the start. If you are toasting the bridesmaids, don’t leave it until the end, as if it were an afterthought. The exception is if you are toasting the bride and groom: this should probably be your finale.
If you are really having trouble with the structure and material for your wedding speech, you can find both on the internet or in guidebooks. There are wedding speeches that are virtually written for you, where you need only change names; and there are anecdotes and relevant quotations which you can sprinkle in where needed. But use these carefully if you can, as the wedding speech can become cliché. If you can use your own material, it will sound more natural and more “you”.
So you have the wedding speech composed and it only remains to deliver it. If you prepared well in advance, you should be familiar with the content and you may want to decide to deliver it from memory. Even so, it is a good idea to have a complete copy of the wedding speech tucked in a pocket. Even Churchill once had a mental blank when delivering a parliamentary speech and sat down in embarrassment with the speech incomplete. If anything goes awry, then you can take out the copy and read it.
Speak plainly and not too fast. If you are nervous about delivering speeches, remember that this is a wedding and not an exam. You are not being tested and everyone is on your side. You have the knowledge that you have prepared your wedding speech carefully and that should give you confidence.
Good luck. Here’s to you and your big day!
How to give a best man speech? That’s what almost all best men, especially those who are about to give a best man speech for the first time, can’t help thinking about. But the question that creeps up in mind should really be – how to give a good best man speech? Every best man wishes to give a good best man speech not just any best man speech. And that’s the biggest problem. In this article we will try to find a solution to this problem.
Being selected as the best man for a wedding is a tremendous honor. As with any great honor, it comes with a list of responsibilities that are essential for the event to be memorable. Among these responsibilities are planning a bachelor party (preferably one that will not end the marriage before it has begun), keeping the groom calm and collected on the day of the wedding and of course the wedding speech. Each of these components are important to making sure the groom has an amazing day and a wedding that people will talk about for years to come.
A good best man will plan a bachelor party with the groom himself, taking into account the individual and the woman he is about to marry as well. By discussing what they want in advance, they will get a good idea of what kind of party to throw and it will essentially plan itself. Keeping the groom cool and collected on the day of the wedding is also a relatively simple task of redirecting the groom off of the nerves associated with the day. This man asked you to stand by him for a reason, you know him as well as any other man on the planet find a way to distract him with topics that interest him or talk about the honeymoon. Keeping him focused should not be a big deal, which leads us to the best man’s speech which requires more planning than either of the other two topics.
I’ve been a best man myself on two separate occasions and both times the time preparing for my part in the wedding speeches was the most crucial part. I learned quite a bit during my experiences and have advised multiple people on how to pull it off. First, divide the process into three components: writing, practice, execution. Focus on writing the first draft of the speech, practice that speech and revise it as needed and execute the speech on the day you need it. We will discuss the stages later on, but first there are five key points to keep in mind throughout the entire process or writing a wedding speech.
1. Keep it Brief. A good best man speech is three to five minutes long. If you go under those three minutes, it appears like you don’t know anything about the groom himself. Conversely by going over the five minute cap, you give the appearance that you could not organize your thoughts well enough to tell a story and you will begin to lose the audience. By keeping it in this time range you will be able to adequately salute the couple without becoming a rambling mess.
2. Make it Personal. Every wedding speech I have ever written or delivered has included a story about the couple. Not the groom. Not the bride. They are beginning a life together today and as such the story should touch both of their lives. The easy solution is the night they met , the first time you met her or the first time the groom discussed her. I was fortunate enough to be there the night my brother met his wife and it translated into a fantastic story for the guests. Be cautious here as well, speeches by the best man should never be embarrassing to either member or reveal information the other does not know. If you are not comfortable telling the story in front of your mother, grandmother and a clergy member; then it’s not appropriate.
3. Memorize it. This is the most common error a best man makes in his wedding speech planning. They think that it’s acceptable to reach into their pocket and pull out a series of sheets with the toast written on it. In order to properly deliver the best man speech, you need to have your hands free and make consistent eye contact with your audience, holding papers does not help you accomplish this.
4. Practice it. In order to memorize the speech you will have to practice the speech and that practice will make your wedding speeches flawless on the big day. I myself used to read the speech to a coworker every day for a month before the wedding in order to perfect the delivery. This practice time is also essential in the writing process for your best man speech. The practice will help you to identify dull or lifeless parts, which parts people find the funniest and if there are any parts people find offensive. This helps you edit the wedding speech, nail down the timing so you’re not talking over people enjoying one of your jokes and ensures you will not offend Reverend Brown in the back of the wedding hall. Finally, this practice can also be timed once the speech is complete giving you an idea how the pauses will affect your time. My first speech was 4:15 seconds long, but when I tested it, there were three prolonged points of laughter which pushed it near the 5:00 mark.
5. Close strong! People think that every wedding speech has to have a snappy close; something memorable that will keep people talking long after the toast is over. A good best man toast is so strong from beginning to end that the close does not have to be the strongest part. If a wedding speech has a good story, you want that to be the primary focus of the toast, not a one liner as you leave the room. The close is an opportunity to bring people into the best man speech with you. I have used closing lines as simple as, “With all that said would you all join me in raising a glass to X and Y as we wish them all the happiness in the world as they begin their journey together.” Simple. Direct. Allows the audience to get up and join you.
I hope by now you have got some notions on how to give a best man speech. If you keep these five things in mind throughout the process, all your best man speeches are certain to be a rousing success. With these five things in mind let’s now focus on the three steps you need to follow in making best man speeches. Here are they -
1. Writing. Do not be afraid of feedback during this stage of the process. Do not be afraid to give up and start again. The second wedding speech I had to write went through five versions of the first draft and the garbage bin was literally overflowing before a single soul heard a word of it. Your friend is marrying his soul mate; you are not marrying a wedding speech.
2. Practice. We covered this pretty thoroughly in the five key points but it is such a crucial part of the process that it bears repeating. When you think you have practiced enough, you need to do more. The practice stage often has multiple portions to it. Practice your best man speeches in front of people you trust first. The initial audience should not be people attending the wedding, you want that day to be the first time they hear your wedding speech. Once you feel comfortable with practicing in front of people and you’re done editing it, change your audience. Use people you are not comfortable speaking in front of, some of the people at the wedding will be relations and friends you have never met, so you need to be prepared for the uncomfortable feeling of delivering this wedding speech in front of them. I used three different audiences for my speech preparation. The first was coworkers, the second was a distant relative who was not able to make it (did that one by Skype) and then finally I asked for the assistance of seniors at a local senior center. You cannot practice enough.
3. Execution. If you have paid attention to the tips and followed the process, this should come naturally. Some people do not like to speak in front of groups and will try and find ways to relax before delivering the best man speech. Do not consume alcohol before completing the speech. It may calm you, but it also puts at risk all the hard work you have done up to this point. The first drink you have that day is the champagne you use to toast the couple.
Finally, enjoy the experience! Just as most people will only marry once in their lives, the opportunity to be the best man can be a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you do your job correctly, the groom will have had a day to remember for the rest of his life and his new wife will feel touched by your words. Remember, this is their day, not yours; this wedding speech should put the focus on them and not the best man delivering the speech. When done the right way, the satisfaction of the event is payment enough. My brother has cried twice in my presence in his adult life. When his son was born and after my best man speech, if you can draw that kind of a response out of a person then it’s worth every minute you put into it.
So, that’s what I think about how to give a best man speech. If you think I have missed any point about making good best man speeches in this article please read the other articles on similar topics published elsewhere in this web site – there are are loads of them for you to read.