Giving a Memorable Best Man Speech

3 Do’s and Don’ts of a Great Best Man Speech

best man speech
Take your time and speak clearly.
No single question can cause a sense of euphoria and anxiety like a friend asking, 'would you be my best man?' After all, following the ceremony it would fall upon the head groomsman to share a memorable best man speech. Those times that I stood at a buddy's side were special, to be sure, and filled with notions of formal grandeur and a sense of over-inflated ego. There have been three times in my life where I held a microphone at a wedding reception, and each time I learned a different lesson.

Giving a Memorable Best Man Speech

My first memorable best man speech was a trial by fire. I had yet to begin teaching, so I was unaccustomed to speaking before a crowd. I wasn't prepared for my responsibilities, confident I knew what I was doing, when in reality, I didn't. The speech rambled on without a purpose, and I took too long to reach the end. Toastmasters International recommends as the first of ten tips for public speaking is to know your material and be prepared. This means keeping note cards with well-though out points to touch upon and to help lead you through your speech.

The Best Man Speech is not the Purpose of the Gathering

My second foray into the lavender spotlight found me with note cards in hand, and a will to impress. I wanted the crowd to roar with laughter, weep with sweet memory, and roar with adulation. My problem here was that I wanted to be the center of attention. A great best man speech does in fact entertain, but it is a smaller part of the whole that celebrates the marriage of two fortunate lovers. To this effect, it is important to gear the best man speech to highlight the attributes of the occasion. Speak to how the groom was lost before meeting his new wife. Address the bride with assurances she found the right one. Don't talk about how you and the groom nursed a hangover in San Diego one lost weekend during college.

Don't Give a Distracted Best Man Speech

My third time I had it almost right, with notes and a general sense of wishing to spot light the happy couple. I had some clean wedding jokes to weave for the audience, and a time line in order to keep everything short and sweet. But as the wedding pictures continued, and the receiving line got longer, I somehow found myself with a few extra drinks in me. This state led me to discard most of my preparations and ramble on, leaving not only myself confused, but the guests and wedding party as well. The lesson learned here is to not imbibe before giving the speech. It comes soon enough, and a best man speech needs to be clear and coherent.