It’s becoming quite common these days to have more than one Best Man. The reason for this is mainly just good old fashioned plain cowardice; you’d rather not offend somebody, who up until that point had been laboring under the impression you liked him the most. Or maybe you’ve been told you have to use your brother and knowing that he’s not really in a position to do your greatness justice, have employed another much more racy character to sell you in as well. Or maybe you’re just deluded enough to think that death by anecdote is a pleasant way to go.
Multiple Best Men speeches, where our heroes are performing on stage together, are notoriously tricky to pull off. In order for them to really work, the two characters must have a well rehearsed repertoire, that bounces along and never stumbles. Think of the way rappers hit off each other – that’s the kind of relationship you’re going for. By introducing two nervous people on to the stage, you’re simply introducing more problems and potential for things to go wrong. The best outcome, if it’s not throughly worked through, can only be speech tennis where your head gently moves from one speaker to the other every few minutes as they wait nervously for their next cue. If you’re going to go down this route then the only answer is stacks of practice, don’t just come together on the day and try to make it work. It won’t.
By having two best men you’re also going to increase the length of the speech and this is never a good idea. Everybody, unless they’re made of wood, loves the speeches but nobody loves a long speech. If yours is running at anything over 10 minutes, you’re on dangerous ground and should really be subbing things out of it. Getting two guys to make a speech can end in catastrophically time consuming routines and some uncle will be punching the air as it nudges past the 20 minute mark having just snagged the sweepstake.
There is also the concern by the Groom that by having just one Best Man the guests won’t get the full picture of who he is, and has been, throughout his life, up until this point. To be frank: they don’t care nearly as much as you do. Of course, they’d like to hear a few snippets from various stages but they’re not studying for a degree in the groom they just want some easy laughs and then a disco dance with their tie wrapped around their head.
There is, however, a far worse scenario: separate multiple best man speeches. I have just written for a guy who is a second best man and is last on the stage out of…wait for it….six speakers. Six? By the time he gets on, the guests will be several years older, interest rates will have gone up and everybody there will want to kill him. If he gets out of the place alive it will be a miracle. Hearing yet another speech about the groom but from a slightly different era is heartless, selfish and very uncool
If you do insist on having several best men, do everyone a favour and make sure they’ve got sharp and succinct précis of your life in their hands. They’ve also got to really communicate with each other to make sure they’re not crossing any common ground. It’s also worth considering giving the speech duties to only one of them. One of them, usually the non speaker, is going to love you forever and the other, once he’s done his speech, is going to love you forever. The speeches are a celebration not a form of torture and not an opportunity for self aggrandisement. If you love yourself that much then get married to yourself – it’s almost certainly possible in America and probably way cheaper.