Best Man’s Speech – The Dos and Don’ts

Being your best mate’s Best Man is a big deal. It’s a really big deal. However, that doesn’t mean you should worry about it – not excessively, at least.

Before the wedding

  • Make sure you have the rings. Sounds like a simple thing, right? You’d think so, but too many people mess this one up. Don’t want to annoy the groom AND the bride? Bring the rings. Don’t lose them.
  • Don’t hire strippers for the Bachelor Party, unless you’ve already checked with the bride and groom. Those kind of ‘surprises’ are not well received
  • Don’t lose the groom – we’ve all seen ‘The Hangover’, and we know that doesn’t turn out well
  • No convincing the groom to get drunken tattoos. That didn’t work too well in ‘The Hangover – Part II’, either
  • Make sure the groom is aware you’ll be making the speech
  • Check over some of the more controversial ideas for the speech – you don’t want to upset anyone on such a special day
  • Wake up early
  • Don’t get completely hammered the night before
  • Try not to hook up for a one-night-stand with one of the bridesmaids, as that could get a little awkward
  • Don’t complain about how much time and money the groom is spending on the wedding
  • Buy a gift! Something from the local convenience store will not work. Unless it’s a substantial amount, money will not work either

How should you dress?

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You’re a grown-man. You should know how to dress. If you don’t know how to dress, you’re going to have problems with some of the more complicated parts of being the Best-Man. However, if you’re really that clueless, get your mother to dress you. Or, just follow our tips.

  • Is the groom wearing a suit? Wear a suit
  • Is the groom wearing a tie? Wear a tie. Or, you could wear a bow-tie. Check with the groom. Regardless, spinning/light-up ties are never acceptable, unless you’re a clown at parties for children. Even if you are, keep your job away from the wedding
  • What are the other men wearing? There can only be one Best Man, but that doesn’t mean you have to stand out.
  • Black suit, white shirt and a black tie always works well
  • No flip-flops. Even for beach weddings, if the groom manages to wear proper shoes, your feet must also sweat and suffer. Follow the man-code, don’t let him walk alone.
  • Socks? Always. Multi-coloured socks? Never
  • Should you wear a kilt? Tough one. Are you Scottish? Is the groom Scottish, and wearing a kilt? If the answer to these two questions is yes, then go ahead. If not? Best be on the safe side and say no. Regardless, no flashing at weddings – no-one wants to find out if the rumours are true

How to start?

  • With something to make the audience laugh, of course!
  • You can introduce yourself, but try not to talk about yourself too much.
  • Explain how you and the groom met, then link it to modern day
  • Compliment the bride on how wonderful she looks
  • Say how fantastic the venue is
  • Note the historical significance of the date – even if it’s something completely irrelevant, such as the day the lightbulb was invented (December 31, 1879, by the way). Try and keep it light-hearted, no air-crash disasters and the such

Dos

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  • Compliment the bride – it’s her big day, and she deserves to be called beautiful
  • Compliment the groom – it’s his big day too
  • Poke-fun at the groom – but not too much. You don’t want the bride to start having second-thoughts…
  • Make jokes
  • Make it personal – but not too personal. People need to understand what you’re suggesting
  • Make-fun of yourself, but don’t let it get you down
  • Prepare cards to remember what you’re saying
  • Plan the speech – you have an important role, make sure everyone knows you’re the right one to do it
  • Thank everyone for attending
  • Make it relatively child-friendly if there are children present
  • Add some jokes for the adults
  • Mention those who helped make it a special day for all
  • Mention those who could not be there, and how proud they would be of the couple

Don’ts

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  • You can be funny and not be obscene
  • Refer to previous partners
  • Make the speech too much about yourself
  • Include too many confusing personal anecdotes
  • Criticise the bride, family of the bride or family of the groom
  • Make it too long – 5-7 minutes is just right!
  • Get too drunk before the speech. You need to be respectable and understandable. Weddings are sophisticated, but after-parties are where the drinks flow freely
  • Give too many compliments – you’re meant to look natural
  • Look at your notecards all the time
  • Speak to the audience, not simply the bride and groom. Sure, keep focus on them in the personal parts, but like any good stand-up comedian, the audience is who you really need to impress
  • Sing an entire song. It’ll take too long, and chances are there will already be a musician there who can do a better job than you. Of course, the exception to this rule is rapping the entire speech, like the link shows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xow-aK9KGs
  • Bring an escort. A paid-for plus-one is not required
  • Rush or mumble
  • Make flirty comments towards the bride… that’s just awkward
  • Turn into a blubbering mess and cry
  • Make racist/homophobic/sexist comments

How to end

Always end on a strong-point. These are a few tips how:

  • Evoke mass laughter from the crowds
  • Become serious and say something meaningful – it’s time to make the guests go ‘awh’
  • Show you are optimistic about the future for the happy couple

Remember to keep the speech light-hearted and funny, yet respectable and enjoyable for all. Don’t offend anyone, and make sure to keep the humour-sentiment balance equal. Enjoy yourself – being at a wedding is meant to be fun, not a chore. Good luck!

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