I write for pretty much every type of bloke in the world. Some are shy, some are super confident, others are creative, many are very business minded, a lot work with their hands, and some are even writers. Yes, best men come in all shapes and sizes and there’s no effective way if predicting what kind of best man speech they’re going to deliver based purely in what their job or upbringing is. I’ve had very burly builders insist they they don’t want any humour in their speech, they just want to make everyone cry, and I’ve had the most retiring of guys want to do the whole thing as a song.
And that’s wherein lies the rub: best men are an unpredictable bunch when left up to their own devices, and all too often that unpredictability can end in semi disaster. One of the great things about my job is that I get to hear about all the unqualified disasters, and it’s a topic that never loses its appeal.
Only last year we were contacted by a last minute best man who decided that getting some professional help wasn’t worth it, and so made the decision to wing it. It says much about how badly it went that he went out of his way the next week to contact us – he managed to stand up and start speaking but it was such a mess that half way through his ‘speech’ he made the life changing decision to simply run off. Yes, a grown man ran away mid speech. To this day he still hasn’t got over the embarrassment and shame, for all we know he’s still running. This isn’t nerves, it’s just lack of preparation and completely preventable.
However, when it comes to the best man speech, it seems that even the most intelligent guys save the biggest lapses of judgment for the very biggest stage. Let’s think about the best man who decided that it would be really funny to ask all the guests to guess the weight of the bride in profiteroles. Yep, not funny, and it becomes even less funny when you discover she wasn’t the world’s lightest bride, and with no dad or brother to tell him to shut up, it became an unchecked exercise in public humiliation.
Most best men’s biggest problem is that they just don’t stop to really understand what is funny and what’s really not. The profiterole skit might make you laugh down the pub, but even the most feral of best men would easily admit that it wasn’t for public consumption. They get carried away, buoyed by a sense that they have to do the number on the groom and fulfil a role of edgy, roguish friend on a mission. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A best man is there to celebrate the groom in a really funny, inclusive way – you’re there to make people laugh, and that includes the bride and groom.
So, we end in the best man who thought it would be great fun to end on the bridesmaids – quite literally. Best men should never mention the bridesmaids as they’ve just been toasted by the groom, but you especially shouldn’t mention them in a sexually graphic way. Friends of mine are still talking about the best man speech they heard where the best man ended his speech by inviting the bridesmaids to perform a sex act on him…that was 20 years ago. The best man speech is with you for life. Get it wrong and that’s a sentence. Get it right and it’s something you can dine out on for the rest of your days.