How To Give A Best Man Speech – One More Time!
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.