I am regularly asked a lot of the same questions: how long should a speech be? How many toasts do I make? Should I mention the bridesmaids...yadda yadda yadda. However, the question I'm asked most often is: when should I start? My guess is, if you're talking to me, it's got to such a point in your consciousness, that you need to something about it now. Most grown men operate in exactly the same way for most things - and that's to kick things into the long grass until the last possible moment, and then do something about it when it's reached crisis point. Nearly every person I write for says they wished they'd done something about it 6 months ago, instead of ruining 6 months of their lives worrying about it, and then 2 weeks frantically trying to create a speech.
Without sounding like your parents, it's never too soon. Most blokes completely overestimate the amount of free time they have in a week to devote to a speech. If you remove work, a social life and exercise etc, there's basically nothing left, and the last thing you really want to do in your time off is knock out a 1300 word speech when you could be watching Netflix. Maybe you've got a couple of hours at the most every week, and then you've also got to factor in taking the time to learn your best man speech. It all adds up, and when you think you've got 6 weeks to get this done you've actually got about 12 hours which is about 2 working days.
My all time favourite quote from a guy I wrote for was 'I had 2 years to write this speech, now I've got 2 weeks!'
It's never too early to start your speech, what the point in having panic attacks throughout Christmas dinner, when you could get it all wrapped up, and then get on with enjoying life?