The Best Best Man Speech

August 24, 2019

As a minister, I have performed over 800 weddings. And while I do not attend as many receptions as I used to, I still attend a good number every year.  One of the highlights or unfortunately the low-lights is the speeches or toasts offered during the reception.

How should you prepare a good best man speech?  Sometimes they are too brief, other times they are too long. At times, they can get so personal or emotional, that the speech giver forgets there are 200 people watching. If the toast is a long list of inside jokes or lines that can only befinished by a few people in the room, then there is an awkwardness that goes through the crowd.  If the best man is already intoxicated, then it will be a classic train wreck.  The best man does not want to be “that guy!”  Being that guy is very easy. If you don’t prepare, just get up and start rambling… you will be that guy!

So where can you start? For the groom looking for a basic outline, use this one:  

1.      Say Thank You.

First and foremost, say thank you. Be gracious. Thank the family, the couple, the new wife especially and those present… thank some of them or all of them. Few speeches go bad if they begin with thankfulness.  A strong “Thank You” breaks the ice and sets the tone.

Few speeches go bad if they begin with thankfulness.

2.      Something Funny or Embarrassing.

Say something embarrassing or funny.  Go here with caution. Remember it is “public funny” not “privately embarrassing.” The story of getting into trouble aschildren is different than the story of the groom’s ex-girlfriend.  Before saying something, as all good comedians usually do… test the material. Ask someone first. The most excited and nervous person during the best man’s toast is the groom. He is expected "The Roast," but on some level, he also wants to hear something good at that moment as well.

3.      Friendship (What makes your friendship unique or special).

From there, move towards the friendship. This is a chance for you to build back up whatever you said in point two. Here you will mention something about how long you have been friends (or brothers). This is a time to compliment the groom, to praise him. In complimenting the groom, you are complimenting the family, the parents, and most importantly the bride.  “She is a lucky person to be with this guy because…,” because of something you have seen or known for some time. Many times, this is something you have known for possibly years before the bride even came into the picture.  In complimenting the groom, you in turn compliment yourself. If all you do is roast or rip the best man, the end result is about you.  You are this guy’s best friend. If you are his Best man, then on some level, he has been your Best man.

4.      Wish the couple all the best, Cheers!

The close of the toast is a blessing, a wish for the future, good luck, prosperity…Cheers! Based on what was said in points 1, 2, and 3, it is an obvious thing that the future is bright before the both of you.

Following the adage of “Do unto others…,” write the speech on some level as if you were wanting to hear this at your wedding.

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