Should you have the honor of being selected as best man, you most often also have the honor of making the first toast of the evening. (The exception being if the father of the bride chooses to do so!) In addition, in the absence of another person being designated, the best man also often serves as the evening’s emcee.
Getting back to the subject of this article, writing your best man speech may seem difficult, but as the best man, you know a lot about the groom, you know how to speak with decorum (or he wouldn’t have chosen you), and you know when it’s time to drink and when it’s time to abstain – so you have all the skills necessary – you just need to get started.
Below are some important tips, solid advice, and great ideas to get you started – but by all means do get started early. When given an honor, which this is, it is only proper to give it the effort it deserves and make your groom proud that he selected you!
1. First of all, be yourself. When writing, use words you would use and the tone you would use – of course the PG versions that you would use in a professional situation! Seriously, focus on keeping it clean, curse free, and not insulting, demeaning, or embarrassing. Poking some fun is fine, but don’t ruin the reception for anyone or make a fool of yourself.
2. Keep it short. Two to three minutes is fine – if you have a particularly endearing story that adds a lot to the speech, but takes some time, five is okay. (If the crowd starts to get restless, you’re loosing them.) Go ahead and write all that comes to you, then edit it down when you’re done. Not only will that keep you from rambling, you will get some practice as well.
3. Start by getting everyone’s attention, then introducing yourself. Even though you may be the most popular guy in town, it’s doubtful that everyone at the wedding knows you or your connection to the groom. Knowing that will help the guests relate to and understand what you are saying. This would be the time for a self effacing remark or confessing that this is the first speech of your life.
4. Give thanks where they are due. To the hosts, the groom for selecting you, his parents for raising your best friend, guests for coming from out of town, to Aunt Millie for helping all the groomsmen with their boutineres. It doesn’t need to be everyone, but it makes people feel good. Don’t mention money or compare one person’s effort to anothers….tacky.
5. Say some things about the groom. That is, of course one of the two reasons you are giving the speech – the main one, of course, is to congratulate and send best wishes to the couple. You can talk about his virtues and how important he is to you, tell a funny story (make them laugh but keep it clean and not embarrassing) or endearing story(make them cry). No old girlfriend or drunken brawl stories, or anything that would embarrass the bride or anyone else there.
6. Say something about the bride and the couple’s relationship. Anything about how lovely she looks (try not to use the term “hot” LOL!) , what a great girl she is, how you knew she was the right girl for him, or a bit about how great they are together.
7. Transition to the toast by wrapping up with a final compliment, or even a quote about love or marriage, then raise your glass and toast with your personal best wishes, and on behalf of everyone, congratulations and hopes for the couple’s bright future together.
8. Now that you have your speech written down, it’s time to edit and practice, practice, practice… If you don’t memorize, at least read it enough that you have a handle on the main points, then take an index card with you with headings/subjects in order. It’s okay to take the written speech with you as well. No one will fault you for wanting to do your best and not leave anything out.
9. This is so important…. Be in control of yourself….limit your drinking to one drink before the speech. The bride and groom will thank you, and you will thank yourself that you pulled it off looking like the “best man” you are!
Still nothing?? Need some ideas to get you started?
Try this website for Best Man Toast Ideas: the site is based in the UK, so there will be some terms you are unfamiliar with, but all in all, we find them to be the best place to get the creative juices flowing. They have a ton of free ideas, and a paid option that allows you to access more.