The best man speech is the high point of any wedding. All the groom's nearest and dearest watching as the best man takes their blue-eyed boy’s fine character and rips it up into teeny tiny comedy pieces so everyone can laugh at his expense.
Now we're not saying we agree with this but, well, who are we to mess with tradition?
However, a best man speech isn’t easy (well a good one isn’t, anyway).
Which is why, here at StagWeb, we’ve gone and cobbled together a Complete Guide to Your Best Man Speech to help you and like-minded best man craft the funniest, most attention-grabbing speech the wedding invitees will ever witness.
Normally [Groom’s] idea of sophistication is picking something off the menu that doesn’t come with a free toy.
Less is more, except in [Groom’s] case where less really is less.
When I first met [Groom] I thought he was one of those genius types, you know, an idiot savant, but then I realised he’s just an idiot.
The fact that [Bride] agreed to marry [Groom] is proof that not only is love blind, it’s also tone-deaf and has no sense of smell.
He’s like Rain Man but without the ability to do maths.
Well I don’t want to take up too much of your drinking time, so I’ll keep this brief.
They’ve been running a bet on how long my speech will last. I’ve bet £50 quid on 2 hours and 15 minutes so you might as well strap in and get comfortable.
We all noticed a change in [Groom] when he first met [Bride], he stopped hanging out with his mates, he stopped drinking, he started washing...
The one thing with [Groom] is he never acts stupid. With him it’s the real deal.
And for [bride] intelligence really matters, I mean let’s face it, she can’t be marrying him for his looks.
But a best man speech isn’t easy, it can be harder to write than Jimmy Carr’s tax declaration, so here’s our...
Order of Speakers
The best man is the third speaker after the father of the bride and groom. The first two will have more serious things to say, so the guests will look to you to provide the laughs.
A good wedding speech lasts around 7 minutes. No matter how much ammo you have to throw at the groom, don't make it too long.
There are a number of details you should include in your best man speech:
This is a family crowd - it's not the time to do all your favourite Frankie Boyle jokes. The same goes for cheap gags and innuendoes - if it feels wrong for Grandma, whip it out! If in doubt, keep it clean.
The easiest way to write and plan your best man speech structure is to write each of those seven key phases and descriptions on a separate piece of paper. Then plan each of those phases separately - it makes writing your speech easier to manage and means you don't have to try and write the entire thing in one sitting.
Some phases will naturally be longer, some might only be a couple of lines - you'll soon realise which bits are most important to you and which parts of your speech you want to focus on.
If you're thinking of going off the beaten track and want to do something totally original, here are some best man speech ideas to make you the best best man ever!
The Trial - Write your speech in the form of a criminal trial. Start by reading the charges against the groom and ask him how he pleads. Then ask key witnesses (such as the bride, father of the bride, his boss) to stand and answer questions. You can end by asking everyone to vote whether the groom is guilty or innocent then sentence him to life... with the bride (queue applause and standing ovation!).
The Song - If you're feeling brave and can actually sing (that bit's really important), then re-write the lyrics to a popular song with lots of jokes. Backing tracks are easy to buy online and be sure to speak to the venue about giving you a mic and you're in business, baby!
The Rap - Can't sing? Then get lyrical. You got 99 problems, but your best man speech don't need to be one of them. Peace!
The Surprise - It's easy to load a few surprises into your speech.
Get some of the groom's most prized/embarrassing possessions to present during your speech.
Secretly tape envelopes with bad photos of the groom under every table and reveal their whereabouts at the end of your best man speech.
Track down important figures from the groom's youth and ask them to record a funny video message.
With a little imagination and some funny best man speech ideas, the world is your lobster.
The Movie - There are hundreds of best man speech videos on YouTube - done well they're a thing of absolute comedy genius. Here's one of our favourites.
Don't drink too much Dutch courage! Alcohol can make your mouth feel dryer and intensify nerves.
Do practice your speech. The more you practice the better you'll know it, so you'll be able to relax more on the day and won't be staring at a page not knowing what's coming next.
Don't be dull! You're the headline act - there's nothing worse than hearing the same old dull jokes everyone has heard before. Get some new gags and everyone will think you made them up.
Do use cue cards. Holding a large piece of paper can be awkward, it can also shake if you're nervous, so write your speech onto smaller sheets of card - they're easier to hold and the smaller sections are easier to remember.
Don't swear. It will be a mixed crowd, so keep it clean.
Do make eye contact. Rather than hiding by staring at the paper, eye contact with your audience will make you appear more confident (even if you're bricking it!).
Don't leave it to the last minute. Like spending the weekend staying with your parents - the longer you put it off the worse it gets. Plan early; that gives you more time to practise and familiarise yourself with your finished best man speech.
That's what it's all about, making people laugh. But not indiscriminate laughter. Oh no, after giving you the greatest honour of making you his best man, you're now going to make everyone he most cares about laugh at him. A lot! Because that's what friends are for. So here are a few of our favourite best man speech jokes.
The fact that he ever thought [Bride] would date him in the first place just goes to show God favours the brave and the foolish.
[Groom] really is like family to me. He’s like the little sister I never wanted.
When I think of all the people I most look up to and respect... you’d be right there. Serving their drinks.
In the words of your group therapist, if you keep interrupting, I will have you removed.
You’re my best friend and I just want you to know that if you’re ever rushed to hospital, then I’ll go straight to your place and delete your browsing history. If you’re ever lost while hiking, I’ll be out there looking for you right up until it starts to rain. If your car breaks down, I’ll be there to steer while you push. And despite what everyone else says about you, I think you’re alright.
We surveyed best men about their role and found out the following:
What's your biggest fear about being best man?
|Giving my best man speech||63.1%|
|Writing my best man speech||18.5%|
|Planning the stag do||15.3%|
|Keeping the groom sober/in one piece||12.1%|
|Dancing with the bridesmaid||5.1%|
How long did you spend writing your speech?
|2 - 3 hrs||36.3%|
|1 - 2 hrs||26.1%|
|6 - 10 hrs||21.7%|
|11 - 15 hrs||5.7%|
|16 - 20 hrs||3.2%|
If a Best Man Were to Charge for His time How Much Could He Charge?
|Writing the speech||6 ½ hrs|
|Organising the stag do||8 ¾ hrs|
|Helping assist at the wedding||8 hrs|
|Total hours||23 ¼ hrs|
|Event organiser fees||£20 per hour|
|Potential best man earnings||£465|
Glossophobia (speech anxiety) is the UK's third-biggest fear, behind arachnophobia (fear of snakes) and acrophobia (fear of heights).
59.5% of men admit to being nervous about talking in front of a crowd.
According to the National Office of Statistics, there are over 249,000 weddings a year in England and Wales. That's 747,000 wedding speeches!
Ok, so you're feeling nervous, that's fine. We've established that, unlike the groom's love of Accrington Stanley FC, your nerves are normal and actually shared by a large number of people. But just how do you counter them in order to be able to deliver your best man's speech with fainting, vomiting or landing in the mother of the bride's lap?
Sounds obvious - you were planning on doing that, in fact, you're doing it now. But there's more to it than that. You often hear top sportsmen and entertainers talking about the importance of breathing - it's not just so that you don't fall over, it's also about controlling your heart rate to surpass adrenaline and combat nerves. Controlling your breathing is a major factor in beating nerves.
If you're already nervous about giving your speech, then that's one worry enough. You can remove the other big problem by being totally familiar with your speech. The more practice, the easier it will become, until you know it so well you won't be worried about the content of it at all and can just focus on the delivery.
Use A Mirror
When you are practising try doing it while looking in a mirror so you get an idea of what you'll look like, what to do with your hands and generally build confidence.
Dutch courage is fine if you're going into battle, but no use when public speaking. Save the drinking until after your speech as it will dry your mouth and can make you feel more anxious. Plus, it'll give you something to look forward to - you'll definitely have earned it.
The temptation is to race through your speech to get it over with, but that can cause you to trip over your own words or make it harder for people to understand you.
You're cool, you've got this, you're going to be great.
So just slow it down a touch and speak calmly and naturally.
Find a point to focus on at the far end of the room, keep your chin up, look out over your audience (remembering to make eye contact from time to time), and speak so that focus point at the back of the room can hear you.
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