12 Actually Great Tips to Giving the Best Man’s Speech No Guy Can Top
Photo: LumiNola (Getty Images)
When it comes to male friendship hierarchy, there’s no topping the designation of “best man” at a friend’s wedding. It means that not only are you the closest to your soon-to-be married friend, you’re also likely the most responsible and least likely to get so drunk that you make a spectacle of yourself. The second-best spot is the friend who gets so drunk he’s a liability. That’s a fun spot because nobody expects anything from you and, being a wildcard, you can always surprise people in a good way. But, back to the best man. This top friend position isn’t just a title you can use to lord over the rest of your obviously unworthy friends. You also have to make a very important, hopefully memorable (for good reasons) wedding speech.
In that vein, we decided to let you in on our top 12 tips to giving the best man’s speech none of our friends or family will ever top. Check them all out below.
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Have a drink before, but not five.
You might be nervous and that’s OK. Public speaking isn’t for everyone. Get some liquid courage by enjoying a glass of whiskey or a beer. Just don’t get drunk or you'll ruin the wedding.
Don't speak from the heart.
Unless you’re a professional public speaker and toast master, don’t even attempt to speak from the heart. At worst, it will be nonsensical garbage. At best, it will be schmaltzy and lame.
Write it down and memorize it.
You spent weeks (or days) writing a great best man’s speech for a reason. Write it down, practice it, and memorize it. Nobody wants to see your shaky hand, awkwardly holding a sheet of paper on the big day.
Hook them right away.
The best way to guarantee uncle Steve and cousin Garth won’t turn around in their chairs and pay more attention the crab bisque than you is to hook them with a real zinger of a joke right off the bat.
Don't use a poem.
Everyone giving a best man’s speech in the movies uses a poignant, heartfelt poem. It doesn’t work in real life. Don’t try to quote Robert Frost, Robert Burns or Robert Van Winkle. It won’t work.
Leave space for crowd work.
While you should have a perfectly paced speech, you should always leave space for crowd work. Want to make fun of the guy in front with the eye-bleedingly bright suit? Go ahead, give it to him.
Realize you're not a comedian.
While jokes are a must, you aren’t Jerry Seinfeld. Leave the jokes to a minimum because this day isn’t about you getting laughs. It’s about getting a bridesmaid’s phone number. No wait, it’s about the newlyweds.
Don't mention their exes.
Never ever mention an ex-girlfriend even if you think you’re giving the new wife a compliment. Nobody wants to think about him getting down in the biblical sense with another woman.
No drinking or drug-related stories.
Even if you had the greatest trip to Vegas with your now-married friend and you got so drunk you don’t even remember how you ended up winning $10,000, don’t talk about it in your speech.
Talk loud enough for everyone to hear.
If there are a lot of guests, there are bound to be some elderly relatives who don’t have the greatest hearing. Even if you’re using a microphone, speak clearly and loudly enough for everyone to hear.
Compliment the couple.
Don’t overdo it, but make time to compliment “the happy couple” and congratulate them on their nuptials. It’s their day, not yours.
Don't stay up there all night.
Everyone has been at a wedding where the speeches seemed to take two hours. Even if the maid of honor talks for a half-hour, keep your speech under 10 minutes. Everyone just wants to get drunk and dance anyway.
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