Funny Best Man Speeches

Funny Best Man Speeches

 

Forget the internet 

Forget the internet. If you’ve reached this point because you’ve been made best man and now you’re looking for a template to copy or cut and paste joke to steal – stop. One of the fundamental facts of life is that what we do and how we do things is way funnier than some guy who’s sticking contrived jokes online for you to plunder. If, for example, you’ve decided to start your speech: ‘it’s an emotional wedding even the cake is in tiers’, then you need help. Not from me necessarily but from the voice in the back of your mind which is saying ‘the groom’s a funny guy, he deserves better than this’. You’re right. He does.

 Observations

The thing that makes people laugh in funny best man speeches is observation, and no matter how great Google is, it can’t quite yet come up with amusing observations on your friend and his life to date. But you can, and you don’t have to be a stand up to do it. Let’s think about those stand up comedians; they make a living out of simply relating everyday things, which when we hear them back make us laugh because we can relate to them. You are one step ahead of these guys because many of the guests already know the groom and his foibles so reminding them of those will be enough to bring the house down. There’s an easy way to go about this…

 

Funny Best Man Speeches Example

 

  1. Take one anecdote from the groom’s life
  2. Extract exactly what it is that makes it funny
  3. Construct a sentence that eludes to this quality
  4. Revel in the laughter

 

This may sound overly straightforward but here’s an example of a speech I wrote recently and took a seemingly mundane anecdote and gave it some zip.

 

The Best Man had written to me and amongst other facts had told me that in Australia the groom had gone from delivering the sandwiches to a company to running their accounts department. On the face of it, there’s nothing there. No meaty pay off, no story, just a mundane fact, but in the background we can all see it’s got its humour.

 

So instead of thinking about what it says about the groom I thought what does it say about the accounts department? And then things started to fall into place. Playing on cultural stereotypes, I came up with this:

 

“Not only did he have amazingly bad dress sense and a fairly good grasp of the English language but he could also count without using his fingers. The Aussie accounts team held him up as a modern day god.”

 

That’s exactly the type of funny you’re looking for; an observation rather than an anecdote. You’re relating verbatim a story about the time he was at work….blah blah blah. You’re giving an overall humorous observation and the only trick to that skill if you’re not used to it is…time.

 

We all think our mates are funny and they are and that’s for a good reason so simply think what it is that tickles you about them and describe that as an observation. No long winded anecdotes and explanations.

 

Let’s face it; you’re friend has asked you to do him the honour of giving the best man speech, if all you can do is Google funny best man speeches, let this be where that search stops. Got out and get ‘em kid.

 

 

 

 

Practice makes speeches perfect

Wedding Speeches: Practice Makes Perfect?

 

 

Well, the short answer is: nearly always yes, but sometimes no. If this sounds a little bit confusing then bear with me. There is one sure fire way, when it comes to wedding speeches, of giving yourself the best possibility of landing them,  and that’s to make sure you know what you’re saying inside out. Once you’ve read it through several times, the blocks of content should start to form in your brain and then with a few prompt cards on the day you should be home and dry. Only reading through the speech as often as you can puts you in that position.

 

However, there are some big ‘no no’s’ in my book when it comes to wedding speeches practice and the fundamental one for me is reading it to other people. If this is going to form part of your practice then you are making a challenging task way more difficult than it has to be, and I’ve seen this happen many times. If your girlfriend looks puzzled at the joke you loved, or questions a play on words you’re really chuffed with then it becomes speech writing by committee and you’re now relying on the sensibilities, and indeed sense of humour, of another party. And who’s to say they’re right and you’re wrong?

 

Wedding speeches should always be pitched at the level where you neither offend nor isolate anyone present, there is absolutely no room for crudeness or rudeness. But that doesn’t mean the guy’s ones have to lose the masculine edge that defines them. If you start trying to write things that your girlfriend (and it is always your girlfriend) thinks suitable then what is likely to result is paler version of what you really wanted to say. And the same goes for the girls – don’t start letting the boys interfere with your speech on the big day because they’ll want to start shaping into the speech they were never asked to make.

 

The second fundamental rule of wedding speeches is: don’t change things that you were perfectly happy with at the beginning. If something makes you laugh first time round then go with it because that’s exactly what’s going to happen on the day. What can happen is that you read it so often that you’ll start to question the humour and sentiment of things that really work. So don’t mend something that doesn’t need fixing. At the very start get a version that you’re really happy with and stick to it. Changing it is counterproductive and unsettling.

 

And finally, if your idea of practice is to memorise the speech, then good luck and I’ll see you for counseling afterwards. I have to learn scripts as part of my broadcast work and I’ve got pretty good at it, but 1200 words? Not a chance. Unless you have circuit boards where your brains should be, memorizing a speech with either send you mad, or result in at best, a monotonus delivery. The most likely result is that you’ll just become so utterly lost in the forest of words, you’ll come to a grinding halt and the guests will have the opportunity to watch a very public breakdown.

 

Only you really know what’s going to work for your speech; what you want to say and how you want to say it. So have the confidence to go with something you believe in, because if you’ve got that, then the rest is easy.

Best Man Speech Brother

As a Best Man Speech Writer I have a gifted insight in to how grooms operate the world over. I know that the Empire State building is pretty much de rigeur when it comes to proposals, I know that well over 85% of my clients still ask for permission to marry from the father and I know that from the minute the button is pressed the girls take over and you become a passenger on a rather fast, furious and pricey roller coaster ride.

So, pretty much all the groom has to do is choose a best man and organise the cars, except when I say choose…it’s very much one of those situations where there IS a loaded revolver to your head and it WILL go off should you make the wrong decision. There are expectations from your wife to be and your family. One doesn’t want you to ruin everything by choosing the close friend she’s never liked with the potty mouth and drink issues, and the other wants you to choose your brother. So you choose your brother.

This of course keeps both parties happy but doesn’t necessarily make anything easier for you, as most brothers won’t have lived or indeed socialised together for many years by the time the wedding comes around. In fact the only really good stories he has about you are over 25 years old and he really hasn’t got know your girlfriend yet as he lives in Australia. This is a very familiar scenario for me when I’m writing best man speeches. Over 70% of the best man speeches I write are for brothers and they do bring about their unique issues – mainly that they know very little about the groom’s real life after the age of 18.

This is not as worrying as it might first seem because I never really use anecdotes anyway as they’re boring, exclusive and not usually that funny, so you’re forced to think of things in a different, more inclusive and hopefully funnier way. Actually this is how every best man speech should be written – forget the anecdotes and tell a story instead. We don’t care about EXACTLY what happened in his life to date, I want daftness, I want fun and I really don’t care about detail. So don’t worry about not having any information on your brother past the point of puberty – it doesn’t matter.

Instead think about what his dreams were, think about what kind of character he used to be growing up and think how you can use that in a funny way. What were his hobbies, passions and disasters? Put your thinking cap on and make that funny. A good best man speech for a brother should be written in exactly the same way as that for any other best man – with warmth, intelligence and a great dollop of imagination.

 

A groom holding a bouquet and looking as though he's about to practice his groom speech

Groom’s Speech – Death By Thanks

There seems to be a commonly held opinion that the groom’s speech is really just a quick rifle through everyone you have ever known and thanking them personally and in precisely the same way for the part they’ve played in the story of your greatness. Now, nobody is saying you’re not great, and not for a minute am I suggesting that some people in your life don’t deserve recognition but in order for your groom’s speech not to become a tsunami of acknowledgements you really need to think carefully about who you’re going to thank and how you’re going to thank them. 

There also needs to be a healthy balance. Even the most stable of grooms can get a bit carried away and treat it as an opportunity to spend 15 minutes talking about how great their new wife is. Whilst most people there would probably agree with you, nobody wants it on heavy rotate, so keep it sincere, warm, funny and ultimately snappy. 

 

Procession

The most common mistake with the groom’s speech is just making it one huge procession of thanks. It’s incredibly dull to listen to and usually the thanks end up being as heartfelt as a gas bill. Limit the number of people you’re going to acknowledge to a maximum of three people and then work out a funny way to include them in your speech. Simply saying thank you to Aunt Hilda for the cupcakes simply isn’t good enough. 

 

Paid Service

The golden rule is: if you’ve paid for a service they don’t need thanking. You haven’t got the time to thank all the people who really mean something to you let alone the florists, wedding planners, car suppliers and cake makers. Unless they’re giving the proceeds to starving orphans, then forget about them. 

Parents

I’ve worked with enough grooms around the world to understand just how important their parents are to them and I’ve seen enough draft speeches to see just how spectacularly they seem to cock this one up. Dismissing your beloved parents in a sentence is poor but then, as so often happens, spending two paragraphs talking about how great your new in laws are is nothing short of thick. Make sure you thank both in equal measure and with a dollop of humour. 

Toasts

There are really three you could make but the only one you have to make is to the bridesmaids. A good idea is to toast the parents, although complicated family situations might see you having to word this carefully and often a groom would like a toast to absent friends. Never ever toast the bride in isolation – it’s weird and uncomfortable, and never make people stand for the toasts – it’ll break your flow and to be honest they’re happier seated. 

 

Best Man

Say something funny and genuinely heartfelt about him. It’s amazing that most grooms will either forget to mention him or simply reference him with regard to the stag weekend. It’s one of the most important and meaningful positions of the entire event so acknowledge, but don’t forget to get your punches in early.

 

Stag Weekend

I’ve never included a stag weekend reference in any of my groom’s speeches as they’re always cliched, dull and not very inclusive. I don’t care if you were dancing with a traffic cone on your head in Prague, I wasn’t there and deep laughs from those that are trying to galvanise their association with you are just going to rile me. 

The Bride 

Don’t forget to have fun, girls like laughing too and there’s no reason why it should become an overwrought declaration of love. Of course she means the world to you but try to break things up with something funny from your first date or when you met here parents. The you can get a bit mushy. 

 

Fun

A wedding speech without laughs is a wasted opportunity so think funny all the way through. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the best man is the only one they’re expecting laughs from. The guests are sat there, quite merry and need entertaining. You’re second on the bill. Don’t disappoint. 

 

For more hints and tips on how to lay out your Groom Speech then visit the Groom Speech Structure page.

 

 

A Really Good Example of a Really Bad Speech

That Pippa Middleton Best Man Speech

Some people aren’t funny, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They’re happy to admit it, and find another way to fit in socially. But then you get some men, usually Alpha Males with a triathlon habit and lots of charity event challenge T shirts in their wardrobe, who are so unbelievably supersonically thick and conceited, they just don’t realise they have all the comic sensibilities of a Stasi punishment block guard.

Here I’ve given my thoughts on just where he went wrong with his Best Man Speech.

‘Thank you to you all from being here today, some having travelled as both families have roots in Yorkshire, so I will say this: “Hear all, eat all, drink all and let your hair down”. Thank you to all the the flower girls and page boys, who have helped make today so special. They have had a very long day.

He’s meant to introduce himself. It might come as a huge surprise to him but unless he’s made a complete tit of himself at the church, not everyone knows who he is. Do not thank anyone for coming or being there or mention flower girls or page boys or any of that nonsense. By this point in the proceedings the guests have been thanked and welcomed a million times…yet another welcome could see more senior members reach inside their smoking jacket for their service revolver, and the find the nearest study. 

‘Firstly, some messages from those who couldn’t be here today. “Wish Pippa the best with the hair. We have really enjoyed seeing you and how you have mastered interpretive dance. Don’t forget to buttock clench on the star jumps.” That’s from Steve and the gang at the Crazy Feet dance studio in Soho.

I never go with fake telegrams and messages because they are just never funny enough…at least he didn’t ‘receive’ one from the ‘Ping Pong’ Strip Club in Bangkok. Hilarious. Not. 

‘Ladies and gentlemen, as I just said, I have the great honour of being James’ best man.

‘I have to say that James has made it a remarkably easy job since he has been here. He has been totally calm throughout.

Ok, he’s now been talking for around a minute and hasn’t said anything remotely funny, this is far too long for a Best Man to keep the guests waiting. The longer they wait the harder it is to land that gag..and I don’t know, call me mad, but I just don’t think this bloke has got it in him. 

‘Other than having to having to carry all of his baggage, the hard part was to keep the rings safe. James doesn’t ok now this but I have a habit of losing things. Not often, but they are usually quite expensive.

‘So I resolved to keep them on my person the entire time that they were in my custody.

‘We both got up for a run early this morning and James jokingly asked if the rings were on my person.

‘I had them in a shower cap tucked in my shorts. He said “really, in a shower cap? I don’t want that in my head when I am putting the ring on Pippa’s finger in the church.”

‘I’m sure it wasn’t on your mind in the church, but it was on your mind now, sorry Pippa.

If anyone can tell me how this is supposed to be funny, I would be really interested. Actually if anyone could tell me what it means, that would be even better. At best it’s completely unfathomable.  He’s now been rambling on towards the 2 minute mark, has said nothing about the groom whatsoever. 

‘I’m not married. But I took a girl home, my mother didn’t like her. Took another girl home and my mother still didn’t like her.

‘So I went out and picked a girl that looked like my mother, took her home, and my father didn’t like her.

A completely unrelated scripted gag from the internet. It has nothing to do with the bride and groom and is pretty clumsy, but yet again its biggest problem is that it’s criminally unfunny. If he’s still single I can only think it’s because his modus operandi is to ‘laugh girls into bed’…it could be done but it’s going to be like Leicester City winning the league and winning the Lottery all on the same day. 

‘James and I met 10-years-ago. Since then he did enough long distance together that we probably shouldn’t have any cartilage left in our knees. 

Oh, you high adrenaline guys…no really a little more about me and my Pepsi Max lifestyle…

‘While success on the track did not translate to the road, where James was involved in a police chase on his moped as a teenager.

What? This is a statement of fact that is meant as a joke. Where’s the punchline…hang on a minute where’s the funny bit?

‘But I have it on good authority that James is gullible. Early in his career, while racing for motorsport, James was asked to get some items from another racing team.

‘So James promptly asked a competitor’s engineers if he could please have some tartan paint. He then asked for sparks said for spark plugs and elbow grease.

I first heard crap like this as an 8 year old working with my dad. This guy wouldn’t know a joke if it came up and puked all over him. We are now half way through the speech and he’s said nothing meaningful and nothing funny. This is unparalleled.

‘After Formula 3, James pursued a career in the world of finance joining his brother at Lloyds. Once again his gullibility was tested after his team sent him to a bar in Soho to get the drinks then, since was full of people not of James’ sexual persuasion, decided not to go at all.

‘After a few admiring glances James, realising he had been had, and was about to be, turned on his heels and ran.

What I want to know is: when he read any of this out at home, especially that bit above, did he really think anyone would laugh? Has this freak been living in North Korea where laughing out loud is banned or is he on some course of mind bending drugs that prevent him from seeing that he lives in a humour vacuum and makes up for it by going for long runs in aid of charity. 

‘There was a time when both James and I were single. We took ourselves off on a boys’ weekend. I proclaimed to James that I was going to try it on with anything that moves.

‘I said to James, “what are you going to do?” He said: “Stand very still.”

Where do you start? Crass, dreadful rubbish which by now we’ve come to understand is this guy’s thing. Imagine if he came to stay for the weekend…’no, no guys don’t go to bed…I’ve got another real thigh slapper for you…’

‘Now to the love of James’ life: beautiful, energetic, loyal, soft-mouthed, comes on command, great behind. But that is enough about Jame’s spaniel, Rafa, I’m here to talk about James’ love, Pippa.

I think we’re covering old ground here with this guy…I mean, I would be slightly shocked if he actually came out with something funny but it’s way beyond his skillset. I tell you what: don’t compare the bride to a dog…just a thought. 

‘As James said, they met in Scotland in 2009 and a friendship blossomed.

‘They have a deep and instinctive love for each other.

‘I think I can say for everyone, that you look stunning. The image of perfection. I know that James first fell in love with your gutsiness and your spirit and then succumbed to your beauty. You make James extremely happy.

You have a voir la joie that warms the hearts of everyone who knows you and you have won the heart of the best man that I know.

I bet at this point he’s not thinking you’re not the man he’s knows…

‘With the wedding shadowed in secrecy, I can reveal, and wish the bride and groom a happy honeymoon in North Wales.

‘At least that’s where I presume they are going as I heard Spencer saying that after the wedding, he [James] was going to Bangor for two weeks. Enjoy the Welsh coast, guys.

Boom boom! Get it Bangor…Bang Her…Yeah? I have to give credit to this guy he saved the most unfunny, uncomfortable and genuinely shit gag until the very end. Unbelievably he’s not managed to say a single thing about the groom…mainly because he’s been too busy destroying his life. 

‘Now for the moment that we have all been waiting for – take it away Fred and Ginger.’ 

The microphone awaits the groom and his speech

Practicing Your Wedding Speech

There is a stat out there somewhere that states we are all much more afraid of public speaking than the prospect of death itself, and you can sort of see why. No one knows for certain what happens when the lights go out for the last time, but we’re all pretty sure it’s preferable to standing up, feeling every drop of moisture instantly leave your mouth, and then trying to crack jokes whilst fending off some kind of bowel related public disgrace. Yes, content is king but practicing your wedding speech is what makes a great speech a truly amazing one.

When it comes to practicing for the big day, you firstly have to be honest about type of person you are. If you’re a naturally super confident, articulate and positive character, then trying to learn the speech and nail it without notes on the day, is a possibility but you have to give yourself time. The best way to go about this is actually not to set out to learn it at all. All you need to do is keep reading it at every opportunity you have, and before you know it all those words will have cemented in your head. Then once you have the words to each paragraph licked just work out a way to remember how the end of one paragraph links to the following one – some people use prompt cards, others can find a way to remember without prompts. If you set out to learn it parrot fashion it will be by far the quickest and most efficient way to get yourself sectioned…and the wedding really wouldn’t be the same without you. The danger of this approach is that all your focus will be spent on remembering the words and consequently the performance will suffer, so don’t forget to practice making it sound entertaining – that means pauses and intonation.

Personally, I would avoid the modern temptation to read your speech from your iPhone. Every day we have the things glued to our face and if you want to look like you really don’t care, then please go right ahead. That also applies to auto cues on iPads. I used these as a television presenter for many years and unless you’ve got hours of practice under your belt they suck the life out of a performance, simply because you’re not focussed on the audience.

If you’re less confident about speaking in front of people then there is nothing at all wrong with reading the speech out from sheets of paper, however, there are some key issues you need to be aware of. Firstly head down and buried in bundle of papers might be a great way for you to hide whilst making the speech but it will undoubtedly render there whole event a miserable and joyless experience for all concerned. You must maintain as much  eye contact as possible, and read it as slowly and purposefully as possible. If you follow the temptation to rattle through nobody will understand a word you’re saying, and you may as well be reading out the menu. And lastly, have something to rest your papers on – you’ll be pumped up and those papers will be shaking like a leaf so you’ll need to mask that with a folder or a book. Keep reading it through so that there will be now words that will trip you up on the day..and remember to look happy!

Fancy Dress Weddings

Fancy Dress Weddings – The Final Insult

 

 

Here’s a tip when organizing your wedding: you know those people who’ve made such a great effort to be there? Well, they have feelings too. It’s very easy to get carried away with the whole idea of planning your big day. Many people feel that anything and everything that’s ever meant something to them has to be shoehorned into the event in some way.

 

This is, of course fine. If you really would like to give the bridesmaids something woven from your (deceased) grandmother’s hair, then go for it. If nothing else will quite do for that church reading then that particular excerpt form Mr Tickle, it’s your call. And if you want to make mobile hanging decorations from your first shoes and baby teeth, the go right ahead. I’m with you all the way. Anything that doesn’t overly impact on my enjoyment is fine by me.

 

A wedding is a personal indulgence and that’s the way it should be but never to the point where you start to impinge on the guests sense of worth, integrity and sanity. This form of wedding torture comes in many guises: there’s the two hour transfer from ceremony to venue, there’s the ten best men scenario and of course the never ending church service. But perhaps the greatest of them all is the fancy dress wedding.

 

These tend to be the preserve of people stuck in an adolescent fixation with Star Wars, horror films or superheroes but the worrying spread must send a shiver of fear down the spine of anyone entering their early twenties. You see, if this trend keeps growing there’s a better than evens chance they’ll have to attend one. And you wouldn’t wish that on anybody. Seeing your uncle as Princess Leia, your Granny as Mr T or the next door neighbor as a DIY Edward Scissor Hands, isn’t fun, it’s ritual humiliation. And if that’s the plan, then I’d like my money back.

 

Fancy dress is great when you’re a kid or trying to find a girlfriend on New Year’s Eve. It breaks down barriers, adds a sense of fun to an otherwise dull occasion and gets the whole thing going. You don’t need any of these things at a wedding – it’s already there on a plate and having just travelled the length of the country to be with you and spent half a month’s wages on being there, the last thing I want to do is dress up as stormtrooper in the middle of the afternoon. In fact, the only way I’m going to emerge from my room clad head to foot in some ridiculous costume is if I’m already half drunk. And I wont be the only one.

 

Anybody who can wear a Spanish Conquistador outfit on Cheltenham High Street at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon without being plastered needs to exploit their wholesale lack of shame for commercial purposes, almost certainly criminal. So there we have it: childlike obsessions should really only be carried out in the privacy of your own home or even better at one of those weekends when similarly minded freaks get together and pretend they are from another planet. Don’t worry you are.

One basic ingredient to all great best man speeches- great socks and great preparation.

Stag Do…actually Stag Don’t.

The great thing about youth is that you’re either so drunk the whole time or so completely emotionally incomplete, that not only do you find traffic cones hilarious, you’re convinced other people will find stories about them equally rib tickling. This usually doesn’t make any difference to your life, as the worst that can happen is you’ll recount the time Binky shoved his underpants on his head and sang the National Anthem in the middle of the street, to your girlfriend’s granny at Sunday lunch, and she couldn’t hear anyway.

Drinking is fun. In may ways, when it’s not involving imbibing floor cleaner and cough medicine, it’s an effective social lubricant that can get even the most challenging of characters to have a good time, and in some cases even a girlfriend. But when it comes to horrific modern day crimes, there are few worse in this world than being made to listen to other peoples’ drinking stories…especially when they’re crap. Real drinking stories that start off in one continent and end in another, without any recollection of the marching band you temporarily joined are all well and good. The ones where you simply drank your own bodyweight in Sangria and woke up naked in the beach are OK if you were there, but as a story really don’t go anywhere – we’ve all woken up naked at some point without any real idea of the details.

So many times I’m asked if I can include the Stag Do/Bachelor Weekend events in the Best Man Speech, and to be honest I’d rather drink a cold cup of sick. OK its your speech, I’m happy to fit in with whatever you want, but there’s nothing more boorish, exclusive and dull than hearing a Massive Big Up to the Stag crowd, especially ‘Tommo’ who was the last to take his pants off his head upon the return to Stansted airport. As Best Man your job is to make everyone laugh and by selecting a specific target subset you’re completely failing to do that. But it’s not specifically the exclusivity that I have an issue with, neither is it the dullness of the anecdote…it’s the fact that it’s not about the groom.

The speech should only ever be about the groom – not about the venue, God forbid the catering, ‘being The Best Man’, or the bridesmaids…so when when you start talking about the antics on the stag weekend you’re doing what so many Best Men are tempted to do: you’re really talking about yourself. As soon as the spotlight diverts from the Groom and his lovely wife, you’re completely missing the point. You only have a very limited time to hit you mark in the speech and so talking about the Stag weekend is just taking up valuable space, and at the very least is more than a little conceited. The worst thing a Best Man can do is convince himself that just a little bit of the day is about him. It’s not. You’re there to entertain, and make ’em laugh, and turning it into a pub type drinking story fest with the odd bit of nudity thrown in, never works.

My advice is to strip out the detail of that anecdote and use it as a punchline to a much more general and amusing observation about the groom’s behaviour. To be honest it’s a bit hard to explain, but as a rule if you’re trying to tell somebody how hilarious something was, rather than say something funny yourself…you’ve got it wrong.

 

 

Delivering your Speech

Two Great Ways To Ruin A Wedding Speech

Don’t need help with a wedding speech? Think again…

 

Everybody could do with just a little with a little wedding speech help because there are two creeping trends into modern weddings that make it virtually impossible for the guests to enjoy themselves and for the speeches to work: having the speeches before the meal and making your guests stand whilst they listen.

 

You could have spent a year and a half writing the perfect ode to your new partner, celebrating their character and overlooking their mother. It may well, rhyme and have cute references to in-jokes you, the happy couple have enjoyed over the years. But if you have the speeches before the meal, you might as well be reading from a Haynes manual about removing a gearbox. At least somebody might gain some practical knowledge from the whole episode.

 

Having the speeches before the meal simply states that one or more of the speakers is so nervous about talking out loud that they would rather just get the whole thing over and done with. Well thanks a lot. I’ve practically remortgaged my house and sold a kidney to attend the stag do, buy a gift, purchase a suit and get a hotel room for a couple nights and the way you reward me is to make me endure at least three speeches about how great your life is.

 

And I do say endure; because what makes a wedding work, what fuels its beating heart is alcohol. Getting nicely warmed up to listen to the speeches whilst drinking freely from the complimentary table wine is one of the great things about going to a British wedding. Instead, a surly waiter hands you a half full glass of Lady Petrol and expects you to make it last for at least the next 40 minutes. Try laughing your head off about the time the groom got his tie stuck in his zip on that meagre ration.

 

It does, however, get worse: speeches where the guests are made to stand. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got Jack Whitehall to give you help with a wedding speech, this is going to render it punishing at best. This nearly always goes hand in hand with having them before the meal and usually in some sort of ante room to the main event, which is why there’s none of that lovely free wine. Anyone who has seen Bridge Over The River Kwai will understand implicitly that being made to stand whilst you’re talked at, is a form of torture. Nobody apart from the front ranks can see, nobody can hear, hideously uncomfortable new shoes make guests spontaneously burst into tears and oldies and kids start to melt.

 

Nobody will laugh at your jokes, no tears will be shed at the mushy bits and no one will raise their glass because the whole thing has been rendered a survival situation. So, give yourself the best possible chance of making a great speech, let the guests really enjoy themselves and stick to convention. Some things about modern weddings do need rethinking, and some certainly don’t.

View of the best man making a speech at a wedding reception

Talk About Being Best Man

Probably the most cliched and pointless of all the well trodden ways of attacking a Best man’s Speech is to spend a huge chunk of the speech talking about being the best man. For me this is about as close as it gets to admitting you simply couldn’t be bothered to really think about the best man’s speech and just decided to go for filler instead of killer. If at this point you’re thinking ‘well all the templates I’ve seen online talk about being best man!’…yes they do. They also have some of the worst one liners, jokes, conceits and layout of any speeches known to man.

The basic idea of a best man’s speech is to talk about the groom, not about you. It is after all his big day not yours, and your job is to celebrate him and his new wife, be as funny as you can and chuck in some genuinely heartfelt sentiment. You’ve only got a maximum of ten minutes to get the job done and wasting time going through the various ins and outs of best man duty is about as counterproductive as it is funny. The worst part of all is that anything you’re likely to say on this subject has undoubtedly been lifted from a template and heard a million times before. And it wasn’t that funny the first time around.

This whole approach stems from some best men approaching this speech as if they’re a budding stand up comedian. Stand up comedians talk about themselves constantly because that’s their way of introducing seemingly real and funny observations about the world. They want to project a humorous take on something by using themselves and that’s fair enough. Best men are not stand up comedians, some might think they are and you can usually tell them by the over zealous rapport they try to build with the audience. Yes, you should engage, excite and at times communicate with your audience but in a warm, gentle and sincere way; not mic in hand firing off one liners and waiting for the applause. Anyway you have a ready made source of material that needs no introduction: the groom.

If you’re talking about yourself then you’ve run out of ideas. If you’ve run out of ideas then you’re not thinking hard enough. If you really want to kick things off in style then a good place to start is by visiting the Best Man Speech Opening Lines page and discover other ways to achieve victory.