Congratulations on being selected as best man for your mates wedding! After organising one hell of a stag do – the next part is sending your lad away into marital paradise. There’s no better feeling than one of your friends or relatives allocating this sought-after role at a wedding to you, however being the right-hand man comes with great responsibility as you’ll be bestowed with the pleasure of delivering the best man speech. Yikes!
Best man speech ideas are all over the internet, but you’re probably wondering where to even begin with your own, not to mention public speaking comes naturally to some, but anyone that has to give a speech about a close one tying the knot can be quite daunting.
Do you want your best man speech jokes to be funny? Or do you want to get the crowd teary-eyed with an emotional best man toast instead? No matter what your aims are – with our comprehensive guide on writing a best man speech we can help you write yours with ease.
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Being selected as the best man at a wedding might make you feel special, but it comes with a whole load of responsibility. Best man speeches are a chance to thank the groom, bride, bridesmaids and attendees on this special day. As the best man you give the first toast to the bride and groom at their reception – making it one of the most frightening duties under your belt. Commenting on the couple, their relationship and reading any messages from family and friends who couldn’t attend are just some of the responsibilities a best man includes in his speech.
You’re reading this article as you’re likely wondering how and what to include in a best man speech. Whilst there’s no right or wrong way to write a best man speech (that’s a lie – there’s definitely a wrong way) writing a best man toast to the happy couple requires an element of creativity, hard work and patience. We understand that getting started with best man speech ideas can be quite a daunting process which is why we recommend starting off with a brain-dump exercise to extract from by asking yourself the following:
- How do you know the couple?
- How did they meet?
- Are they a friend/family member? What specific ways could you introduce them?
- What optimistic thoughts do you have for the married couple?
- How do you reflect on your friendship with them?
- Why were you chosen as the best man for the wedding?
- How would you describe the newlyweds?
- What family anecdotes can you deliver?
- What was the groom like before he met his bride? Has he changed since knowing her?
- If you’re married yourself – what advice or wise words could you give or have learned during your marriage?
- How did the groom describe the bride to you when they met?
We’ve looked at how to write a best man speech and how to get started. Once you’ve built your master list of answers to the questions above you can now start deriving your best man speech ideas with ease. As with any form of public-speaking, gaining the audience’s side from the start is the key to success of any speech. With a best man’s speech this is incredibly important, because whilst the groom’s family may love you the bride’s family might be well aware of your reputation to pull many inappropriate jokes. The best man speech is your opportunity to put any speculation to rest.
Use our best man speech outline to craft your epic speech:
The opening line
Funny ways to introduce yourself could come into play here however you need to keep in mind that the opening line is all about setting the tone for your speech. Mess this part up and that’s your whole speech down the drain. Choose your opening joke carefully and if in doubt – stick to a self-depreciating joke to get a few laughs thrown your way.
The speech introduction
Not everyone at the wedding will know who you are so it’s good to take a moment to introduce yourself before getting into your speech. The introduction to your best man speech is also a fantastic time to mention any special compliments and thanks to notable individuals (including those who couldn’t make the wedding). Any mentions about how beautiful the bride looks will also go down very well with your audience. If nerves are coming into play here, a classic best man joke would be a perfect opener – just make sure it’s one that won’t offend.
Talking about the groom is the key section in your entire speech. This is your chance to talk about your relationship with the groom and make it all about him and his special day. Use this section of your best man speech to rack up the comedy factor with funny anecdotes on how you met or became the best of friends. Remember to keep things appropriate and not mention anything that could potentially make your groom feel uncomfortable or upset the bride and guests – that’s the last thing you want!
All in all – after a couple of roasts here and there, make your groom look good in front of your audience.
The wedding day itself
After the digs, anecdotes and tear-inducing memories, you’ll want to talk about the wedding day itself. Talk about how much effort has gone into this special day and the contribution of the bride’s parents (because let’s face it, they probably paid for the whole shindig).
This is the chance to show the bride and her close ones just how much of a special lady she is. Use this as a chance to be soppy and sweet. Jokes and digs at the bride won’t go down well in this section of the best man speech (obviously this is highly subjective). We recommend you play it safe and talk about how amazing this wonderful woman is in general and how she’s perfect, if not too perfect for the groom!
The happy couple
This is an opportunity to reach peak soppy status with your best man speech. Move into emotional territory with this section of your speech by including more feeling-inducing sentences about how great the couple is, a few anecdotes and the effect the happy couple has on everyone’s lives. Their happiness together should be the staple of this part of your speech. Definitely stay away from mentioning past arguments, ex girlfriends or naughty encounters on your stag do – this won’t go down well.
Outlook on love
Love is a wonderful thing that unites a couple in the form of marriage. Talking about love and the love shared between the happy couple is one of the sweetest ways to tie your speech together. As things can get super sweet at this stage, don’t be afraid to knock out a little joke to bring a humorous end to your sickly sweet philosophy on love.
Ending the speech
You’ve done it, congrats! The best man speech ending is the perfect time to sum up everything you talked about in your best man speech and maybe even refer back to any digs and jokes for a couple more laughs here and there. Offer some final words and/or advice before raising your glass.
Most toasts are short and sweet, but you need to end yours the right way. Make it reflective, positive and in line with the rest of your speech. If your speech was emotionally-inducing, keep these tones going rather than chucking in a last-minute one liner as this will throw the whole speech off balance. Alternatively, don’t end your speech on a soppy note if you’ve been cracking jokes to its entirety.
Whilst we’ve covered what to include in a best man speech, you might want to have an emotional side or crank up the volume with a few digs and jokes, right?
We thought so. How to give a best man speech is entirely down to your delivery and tone and fortunately we’ve been to many weddings and experienced the cheese, cringe and poor delivery of what could have been some potentially amazing best man jokes. Whilst we can’t tell you exactly what jokes to tell at a wedding, we can tell you how to go about crafting your own set of jokes that will be both funny and inoffensive to the rest of the room.
Watch your delivery
We know you’re going to be a bundle of nerves when you deliver your speech, which is why we believe in the ‘fake it til you make it’ mantra to psych yourself up and exude confidence (even if you don’t have any). If your best man speech is of a humorous nature but your voice is trembling then your delivery will be poor, especially if you try to be funny. Pretend you’re the most confident person in the room and everything will go far smoother than you think.
Your confidence doesn’t just shine through your voice but also your posture and attitude. If your script is 5cm away from your face or you appear rigid then the whole speech will be uncomfortable for everyone in the room. Relax your shoulders and take deep breaths to calm your mind before delivering your big speech.
Think your jokes won’t be funny or you think you’ll fall flat? The show must go on! Keep moving onwards with your speech and you’ll be surprised at the positive reaction you’ll receive (especially after a few rounds of drinks – most of the guests will be in giggles anyway!).
Watch your tone
You’re not at a pub with the groom; you’re literally at the wedding with all eyes on you for about 10 minutes whilst delivering your speech. There’s a strong chance that your usual gags and humour won’t go down well with everyone in the room so it’s all about keeping things neutral.
Keep your audience in mind by finding out exactly who’s going to be at the wedding. Stay away from controversial digs or inside jokes that the friends and family simply won’t get.
Get to the point with your jokes, fast. Over-explaining makes the crowd lose interest quickly and that’s the last thing you need whilst delivering your best man speech.
Here are just some of the best tips on how to give a best man speech that can save you a lot of worries and boost your chances of a successful speech:
Get your joke in early
As the best man, you have to deliver a joke. It’s just the rules. Make sure you tell a joke that you’re entirely confident will go down well with the room and resonate well with all age groups. Telling a joke at or close to the start can set your best man speech off strongly by keeping the room engaged.
Keep the gags short
We love embarrassing/funny stories about the groom, but if the punch line takes about 10 minutes to develop then you’ll just lose the interest of your audience completely. Keep your amusing incidents limited to a couple of lines in your speech and you’ll be good to go.
Keep your anecdotes short
“Keep it short and fast moving 5 - 10mins max & know your audience.” Says Twitter user @UCakehouse. Whilst anecdotes are a valuable part of your best man speech, mentioning too many can drag your toast out far than what’s necessary.
Make one or two of your anecdotes the centre of your best man speech - you need to remember that there will be friends and family that don’t know the groom well at all, so your stories may not be as well received as you’d like them to be.
Plan your speech ahead of time
There’s nothing worse than leaving one of the most important speeches of your life to the last minute. Start gathering ideas and writing your best man speech at least a couple of months before the big day.
Try and remember your speech
Even if you know you won’t need a speech in front of you – try to remember some of the key phrases or sections and keep your head held high whilst you recite them. This will show your audience how confidence and serious you are about your role as the best man and will help deliver your best man toast in the best possible way.
Give praise to the bride
Complimenting the bride on her beauty and how wonderful she is as a woman in your speech will always go down well. This will get you on the good side (though we hope you are already) of the bride’s family and reassure everyone that you’re all about the married couple and not just solely the groom.
Write your best man speech down
Know you’ll forget your best man speech on the day? There’s no shame in having a few cards or your full script down on paper – better to have your best man speech in front of you than to forget and break a sweat in front of an audience!
Vary your best man speech’s pace and tone
We know you’ll be nervous reading your best man speech out loud, however there’s nothing worse than a monotone speech that gets the rest of the room falling asleep.
Got a joke coming up? Read it out with excitement! Add variety to your speech depending on what you’re reading aloud to keep the room buzzing over your speech.
Express your gratitude for being invited to this special day and say your thanks towards everyone that helped make it amazing – including the friends and family
Practice your best man speech
Just like you did in school or work before a presentation – practicing a big speech is one of the best ways you can prepare. Record yourself giving the speech to watch your tone and pace. This way you can alter your best man speech script or improve on your delivery.
Improvise if you have to (or want to!)
If you’ve got the confidence to cleverly steer off your script to throw in a joke or a “Isn’t the bride absolutely beautiful!” statement is a great off the cuff way to add some variety and excitement to your speech (and even get a great reaction from the friends and family!).
Longing it out
How long should a best man speech be? Many sources vary and every wedding comes with its own unique set of personalities. We recommend no longer than a thousand words, or around 7-8 minutes of speech time.
If you try and go beyond this then you’ll run out of things to say and lose the interest of your audience.
This is enough time to say everything that’s important and meaningful with a few anecdotes and jokes thrown in. The worst thing you can do during your best man speech is go on unnecessary tangents or drag it out, you’ll not only waste your time but your audience will completely lose interest in what you have to say and start fidgeting.
Don’t overstep your boundaries as the best man
I have been a best man three times. First time – disaster. Second and third time I made my speech into a poem and it had them rolling in the isles both times. Don’t be disrespectful, don’t take the p*** too much, don’t mention previous gf’s and most importantly – be brief! - @nowtponcy
Rambling is the worst thing you can do which is why we highly recommend writing everything down and rehearsing your speech. This way you can refine your speech by making it longer/shorter as necessary.
This day isn’t about you – don’t go telling personal stories about yourself and centre the attention on the groom, the happy couple and the holy matrimony.
Do NOT ignore the bride.
If you’re playing the role of best man, it’s more than likely that you’ve interacted with the groom’s partner at least once. Never fail to make a special mention as this is their day too. Even if you don’t know each other all too well, compliment how much of an amazing match she is for the groom or mention something sweet about how you first met.
Don’t throw digs at the bride
It is not your place to use the bride as subject of humour. This day is especially more important to her and only good and lovely things should be said out of courtesy. She doesn’t need her husband’s mate to ruin her big day
Never, ever mention exes
This is quite an obvious one to steer clear from as nothing good can come of mentioning a previous relationship (this also goes for one-night stands and other ‘not so serious’ encounters). Not only will this upset some people but it’s a recipe for a disastrous best man speech.
In fact – here are just all the subjects you must absolutely avoid at all costs:
Drinking, drugs, STDs and gambling
Derogatory humour of the opposite sex
Previous marriages and exes
Making a funny best man speech isn’t as hard as some make it out to be. Best man speech one liners can be golden or completely silence a room – the latter is the one thing we want to avoid as it’s the difference between a good best man speech and a horrific one.
Best man speech one liners are all about identifying those funny moments with your groom and summing them up into a line or two. Absolutely every groom will have a character quirk you can ridicule and as long as it’s something the groom and everyone can appreciate then you’re guaranteed a room of laughter. Or maybe you’re thinking of a way to get the speech started and you’re not quite sure. Whatever you’re after –we’ve got you covered.
We highly recommend avoiding anything obscure like an inside joke, as this will leave you with a few blank stares. You want everyone to feel included and know something about the groom they probably didn’t know – and laugh about it!
Here are a couple of examples we’ve crafted. These can be used as best man speech opening lines or anywhere in between the beginning or end of your speech:
“Before I start, ladies and gentleman, let us have a moment of silence in memory of the dozen potatoes turned in dauphinoise, 300 cows and countless lilies who selflessly gave their lives to make this wedding celebration possible”.
“I heard there’s a bet going on how badly I’d mess this speech up. I bet [purposefully knock drink over’] – One spilled drink. Let’s get this over with!”
“I first heard [groom] singing in the shower back when we flat-shared together and the passion in his voice is beyond this world. If he had any courtesy for his guests tonight, he’d save us the earache”
“For those of you who don’t know me – my name is Paul. I’ve known Gareth for a matter of days; he found my advert on Gumtree. You see he doesn’t have many friends so he hired me to step in on his special day”
“This speech will be a bit like my lad Keith here – short and not very funny”
“To prepare for Tom’s special day I took to the internet to scour for some sample best man speeches. After a few hours I found some pretty good material. But then I realised I was supposed to be writing this speech...”
“Well well, what can I say about our good lad John here. He’s charming, sensitive, handsome...John - why all the adjectives?”
“The priest was very clear in his service about his stance on sex before marriage. However, Liz had reassured him it would only take a couple of minutes”
“I met Tom’s parents earlier this year. They made a point of taking out all the inappropriate jokes and gags out of my speech. So here’s to the happy couple – cheers!”
“Whilst it was tempting to fill this speech with inappropriate innuendos, I had to reassure the bride and groom that there was none. But if one happened to sneak in that they didn’t like then I’d whip it out immediately”
We can’t finish off this guide without something for you to take away (though we hope you’re taken away plenty already!). Our handy best man speech template can help form the backbone of your own speech. Ultimately, your speech (no matter how funny it is) needs to come from a place that exudes love and respect – and it’s these attributes of your speech which will gain you the gratitude, cheers and laughter.
The best man speech template:
To tie together all our advice – follow this simple structure for writing your best man speech. You may wish to use some of all of this; its chronological order will help add your own little spin on it:
Hello ladies and gentleman, I’m [your name]’s best man.
I’d like to give special thanks to [names inc the groom] for asking me to be a part of this special day, and also a massive thank you everybody who has made it here today – you all look wonderful and I’m looking forward to getting merry and celebrating with each and every one of you.
[Groom] and I have been friends for [x] years. We’ve been through ups and downs; rollercoaster’s and have many, many tales to tell. One story that particularly stands out is [mention a story that ties in well with the wedding!]
[Bride and groom], I’m so excited for the two of you and I know you’re going to make such a wonderful team and family. I wish you all the best of love and joy for many years to come.
Let’s raise a glass to the happy couple - Congratulations!