The internet is awash with tips, tricks, hints and secret formulas to make your best man speech the most amazingly drop dead all time success in the whole history of weddings. Which is great, the only thing is, the internet isn’t that great sometimes at deciding just who gets the appropriate advice. This really matters when it comes to best man speeches, because there is a huge difference between a best man speech made in America, and one made in the UK or Australia.
I have recently read what claimed to be the most amazing advice writing your best man speech, which is amazing if you live the other side of the Atlantic. Best man speeches in America are a very different beast. They have much less humour, much more sentiment, tend to be quite a bit shorter and focus on the couple rather than the groom. So, as a British or Aussie best man, you should be really wary of any article that informs you to keep it super short, forget comedy and focus on the bride as much as the groom. This is categorically not what a British best man speech is about.
A British best man speech seeks to celebrate the groom in a really funny, inclusive and entertaining way. It is absolutely NOT an exercise in public humiliation, but the comedy is there for a really good reason: to balance the sentiment. I read an article recently written by an acclaimed speechwriter that recommends keeping the speech to around 3 minutes, highlights the need to share your feelings, and suggests going easy on the comedy. Any British best man that stands up and attempts to be emotional about the happy couple for 2 minutes solid, and then sit down without humour, is going to get wheeled off to a secure unit as soon as the tumbleweed clears.
Yes, we are two nations divided by a common language, and as it turns out, our approach to wedding speeches. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and long may those differences continue, however, you just don’t want to get caught taking the wrong advice for your speech. Just as a British best man shouldn’t follow the US protocol, our American cousins would find themselves at odds with the guests making a speech that lasted 8 minutes and was written with a comedy bent.
So, when trawling through the internet in search of sage advice, keep in mind that not everyone knows what they’re talking about, and even if they do, it just might not be the right advice for you.