Every now and again I speak to people who decide not to go with my services, and that’s completely fine. Some have the time to dedicate to write a speech, others rate their own comedy, and there are a few who decide that they’d rather spend the money on themselves. All of this is of course, totally normal and I get where they’re coming from, especially if you don’t really like/know the groom – yes, that happens more than you think.
However, the only reason I take exception to, for their benefit not mine, is the conclusion that it’s only a few minutes on the day. Yes, it may just be 7-10 minutes or so, on the wedding day, but the best man speech has legs way beyond that. Many things end up being just a few minutes, like the moon landings for example. You could just about make a cup of tea in the time that it took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to bounce around a bit and say a few things, but it’s firmly cemented in the sub conscious of pretty much everyone in the world. I am not for a minute suggesting that your best man speech is right up there with landing on the moon, but you get my point.
Guests will eagerly anticipate what you’re going to say, and for better or worse, the best man speech is one of the leading topics around the evening disco and buffet system. If you get it really right, people will only be too happy to talk about what a success it was. If you get it wrong, they’ll be even happier. I once went to a wedding where the joint best men got it so badly wrong, that their speech was the only thing anyone was talking about. I mean, whose idea was it to use the world’s worst swear word in a wedding speech anyway?
A great best man speech lasts long in the memory. A bad one even longer. I spoke to guy I’d written for 7 years ago, and he told me that when he called his friend the groom the other day, he was still talking about what a great best man speech that was. On the other hand I write for a guy last year who did such a bad job of his best man speech, that 21 years later an the bride at that wedding still hadn’t spoken to him.
So, yes it is only a few minutes on the day, but they are some of the most important minutes you’re ever going to get. The best man speech you make is with you for life, so it pays to make that a happy union, and not a custodial sentence.