Obviously, when a couple get married, everyone hopes that this will be forever, however, as we all know, life sometimes doesn’t work out like that. Divorce rates are running at record levels in the UK and in the US, so there’s a real chance that when you make your best man speech, you might find yourself in exactly the same situation, for the same groom in years to come.
I’m often confronted by this scenario, and always have to answer the same question: ‘is it ok to mention that this isn’t his first rodeo?’. Whilst there will always be brides who are happy to have a spotlight thrown on the fact that this isn’t his first marriage, they will be in the significant minority. It’s really not that hard to work out – you wouldn’t idly chat about his ex-girlfriend with him when you’re with her at the pub, so why would you publicly broadcast those thoughts to a wider audience?
No bride will appreciate the wedding guests being reminded that in years gone by, the groom was so in love with someone else, he married her too. In any circumstance, I would recommend avoiding any mention of a previous marriage, and also any previous relationship.
It does become slightly tricky when you’re making the best man speech a story about his life up until this point, because there’s going to be a gaping hole in the narrative. My advice is to gently smooth it over with something about the ups and downs of life, and if there are children involved from a previous relationship, then absolutely include them. They will continue to be part of the groom’s story, in a way that a former partner does not.
Even acknowledging the fact that you’ve made this speech before, is a clumsy error too far, and look at it this way: he won’t ask you the next time.