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Ah, the Best Man’s speech… the highlight of the top table orations or a cringeworthy debacle that everyone wants to forget ever happened.

The good news is that by coming to this site you’ve already shown you know this speech is not a straightforward matter of standing up after a few beers and channelling your inner award-winning comedian.

There are so many elementary mistakes that can be made but the better news is that with some care and craft you can write and deliver a speech that will have people slapping you on the back afterwards.

So, here are some some tips – simple dos and don’ts – that will help you navigate your way through that minefield and deliver that great speech.

Pointers to consider…

Give a clear context for each section. If the story relates to school, college or work, ensure that everyone knows this with a simple scene-setting line. “As many of you will know, I had the misfortune to go to school with XXX…”

Don’t base too much of the speech on one aspect of the groom’s life. Keep it as broad as you can so that everyone can relate to it. For example, if you work with the groom and don’t know any stories about his childhood, get in touch with a family member. They are sure to have some amusing stories about favourite toys and so on.

Part of the art of writing is making unexpected connections. Some just pop into your head as you are thinking about the speech but there is a way to help the process along. Just write 2 long lists of relevant details and draw lines between 2 of them randomly. Give yourself 30 seconds for each one and move on. Don’t get bogged down. Treat it like a game. You’ll be surprised what comes out.

Topics could include:

» The groom’s jobs, hobbies, foibles, pet name for his wife, where he met the bride

»The bride’s job, where she grew up, her likes and dislikes

» The current venue, where the stag do took place, stories involving friends.

Here are a couple of connections I’ve made which led to gags:

A clumsy groom who married a nurse (you can see where that’s going); someone who was fond of drinking who chose to have 2 Best Men (to carry him up to bed, naturally).

This is a great material generator and means you don’t always have to rely on amazing stories. Let’s be honest, not everyone has them and some of the great ones are simply unrepeatable.

Pitfalls to beware of…

The Groom is a great friend or brother and you want to do something really memorable. Be wary, though, of trying too hard. Sometimes simplest is best. Don’t overstay your welcome. 8-9 minutes is ideal. Anything over 12 minutes and you will be straying into the realms of a conference speaker. You want them looking at you, not their watch.

Don’t make the Groom’s life-story feel like a life-time

If you want to do a speech with bells and whistles, keep it as short as you can (I would still say ten minutes max) and don’t make it about you and how clever you were in putting it all together.

I have sat through a 45-minute audio-visual extravaganza – Powerpoint slides, video, music, the works – which ended up being more about the technical gifts of the Best Men than paying homage to the Groom.

When it comes to the speech, AV is your servant not the master.

To guarantee a reaction there is a temptation to include material that will shock. However, you are just as likely to alienate a section of the guests as entertain them. You want laughter not uneasy looks around the room.  It’s best to steer a steady course between the rocks of cruelty and the shores of safety.

If in doubt, leave it out.

This is a common scriptwriting saying. It means the script will be even better if you leave a section out, even if you really love that part.

What’s left on the cutting room floor is often what makes a great movie. It’s the same with a speech. You’ve got a great seven minutes but then you include that long stag do anecdote and you start to lose people. Be bold and lose anything that stops your speech being lean and keen.

 Write what’s good for the speech, not for a group of mates in the audience

For a more in-depth set of Best Man speech tips, check out my blog posts below.

If you feel you'd like some help , here are my Best Man speech services.

Full wedding speech

  • A unique speech written from scratch. You complete my questionnaire and I write you a memorable, engaging speech. Unlimited edits.

Speech editing

  • I take your speech to the next level with new material & great bespoke jokes. I edit and polish your speech until you're perfectly happy.

Best Man gags

  • A PDF of 150 original jokes penned by Marc, which you can thread through your speech from opening ice-breaker to the final toast.

Want to chat with Marc about your speech? Just click below...

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