I’m a professional speech writer who’s written hundreds of wedding speeches, receiving consistent 5-star feedback. So why not follow my Best Man speech tips and take your speech to the next level?

5 stars done in the Trustpilot house style of white stars on a green background for for All Write On The Night's professional speech writer, Marc Blakewill
Professional speech writer, Marc, in a cafe writing jokes on a notepad

Let's make it all right on the night with these Best Man speech tips

  • Icebreakers
  • Structure
  • Content
  • Style & Technique
  • Toasts & Welcomes
  • Length
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Icebreakers

There are lots of well-worn opening lines out there. It’s not the end of the world if you use one. They work and are family friendly. The flipside is that many guests will know it’s not your line and might wonder what else in the speech is borrowed.

If you can, try to use an original one. Here are some examples that might inspire you:

Introduction

A simple pointer to what's coming can warm the guests up.

“This speech is all about the countless memories GROOM has given us… and how we can try to blot them out.”
“Good afternoon, everyone. Today has been a wonderful advert for love and romance but it’s now time for the small print.”

Pop culture references

You can make your ice-breaker different with a bit of pop culture.

"It is wonderful to be able to add GROOM and BRIDE to the list of couples who have re-defined togetherness and love - Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Ant and Dec.”

Time of Year

Is the wedding on an unusual day? For example, a normal working day.

“Good afternoon, everyone. Shouldn’t you all be at work?”

Being chosen as Best Man

Rather than just stating you’re the Best Man, try to add some colour.

“I am delighted to have been chosen as Best Man today. GROOM’s selection process was very rigorous: are you available that day and will you remain sober enough to speak? Well, one out of two ain’t bad.”

My advice for the opening few lines is: if in doubt, leave it out. It’s better to play it a bit safer rather than using a risky line that might bomb. If you’d like to see more, check out my Best Man’s gags package here.

Structure

How to structure your Best Man speech

First, don’t panic. The structure of your speech does not need to be elaborate. Here’s a simple example:

  • Icebreakers
  • Establish how you know the groom
  • Main content of speech
  • Heartfelt lines about his friendship
  • Complimentary words about the Bride
  • Toast to the Bride and Groom

The content iself will also need some structure. Here are some ways to do it.

1 Chronological

Choose your stories then put them into rough sections e.g. school years; early 20s, trips abroad, meeting the bride, etc. The guests will also know roughly where you are in the speech without you having to signpost it.

2 Themed

Job-related theme

If the groom is in the army, you could describe him in heroic terms and award him made-up medals throughout the speech.

if the groom works in HR or recruitment the speech could be done as a CV. “Education” can cover any stories from school.  “Hobbies” could be him always falling asleep on the last train home.

Fairy tale

“What mortal woman could resist a knight who had done battle with not one but 5 flaming sambucas and lived to slur the tale?”

This will add an unexpected change of voice during the speech. However, don’t let the theme over-stay its welcome. Poetic or flowery language is fun for a paragraph or two but could soon grate.

3 Higher concept themes

For example, he might be a footballer, in which case his life could be described as a match report using sports punditry terms.

A word of warning: If the idea flies, it will be memorable. If it doesn’t, the guests – and you – are stuck with it for the rest of the speech.

Content

Here are some simple dos and don’ts

  • Keep the subject matter varied
  • Say what YOU want to say not what others think a Best Man speech should be
  • Treat the jokes as a gentle punch on the arm not a punch in the ribs
  • Paint the groom in a positive light towards the end
  • Avoid certificate 18 language
  • Mentioning ex-girlfriends is off-limits
  • Don’t be too sexual – use innuendo. It always goes down well…
  • Don’t overdo it with the drinking stories. This is a wedding speech not rehab

The early years

If you’ve known the groom since you were fairly young, it’d be good to include a story or memory from that time e.g. his ridiculous hair, his ridiculous opinions, his ridiculous ambitions.

Stag do

This is NOT a must have. If nothing of interest happened that is repeatable, it can be left out. If you do want to cover it, hinting is better than being shocking. Show a bit of leg but no more…

“We had a stag do that many of us can’t remember and some of us are still trying to forget.”
“I’m not saying we were raucous, but when we finally left Prague, they held a week of celebrations.”

“I don’t have any good stories or ideas!”

This is something I hear very often. But most people do have good potential material, they just haven’t asked themselves the right questions. Check out my Best Man speech hack blog post. It has a list that will unlock those ideas.

Style & Technique

Right. You’ve started putting things together. Now, it’s time to focus on the words themselves. Let’s open up the writer’s toolbox and hone those lines.

  • Boil it down
  • The callback
  • Linking phrases
  • The rule of three
  • Scene setting
  • Do a pass for repetition

Boil it down

When writing up any anecdotes, keep them snappy. Look at each line and ask yourself: “Does it move the story along? Is it funny?” If it’s neither, lose it. It’s padding.

The callback

This is another great writer’s trick. Refer to something mentioned earlier in the speech and you’ll get two things:

  • Laughter of recognition
  • Appreciation that your speech has been crafted.

Linking phrases

Avoid big jumps when you move from one subject to another. Linking phrases are the cement in your speech structure. Here are some ways:

Pass the baton on by mentioning the previous subject:

“If his timekeeping’s atrocious, his appetite’s certainly ferocious…”

Signal there’s a change of subject:

“But enough about his bad qualities, it’s time to look at his irredeemable flaws…”

Infer the audience’s reaction to what they’ve just heard:

“That won’t have surprised you, but my next story definitely will.”

The Rule of Three

Things are more interesting and funnier when delivered as a trio. Here are some well-known ones:

“Short, fat and bald.”

“Mad, bad and dangerous to know.”

“Overpaid, oversexed, and over here.”

So, how might this work in a Best Man’s speech?

“Groom is a man who laughs in the face of adversity, who sticks two fingers in the air to cruel fate, who cries at a particularly moving episode of Top Gear.”

“Groom only has 2 real flaws: his inability to park, his inability to hold his drink and his inability to count.”

Scene setting

Give a clear context for each section. If the story relates to school, college or work, ensure that everyone knows this with a simple line.

“As many of you know, I had the misfortune to go to school with GROOM…”

“They say never work with children or animals. I’ve worked with GROOM so I’ve done both.”

Do a pass for repetition

This is one of the final stages. Read the speech out loud and you’ll spot instances where the same main word appears in consecutive sentences. Just change one of them. Do it throughout and it will add real polish to the speech.

Toasts & welcomes

Some Best Men feel the need to start their speech welcoming people, thanking the venue, the organisers, the bridesmaids, etc.

Unless you’re the first speaker, this will already have been covered by the Father of the Bride or the Groom. You have one piece of admin: a toast to the newly weds. It’s as simple as that.

  • The Father of the Bride speech usually ends with a toast to the newly weds
  • The groom’s speech traditionally ends with a toast to the bridesmaids
  • The Best Man speech usually ends with a toast to the newly weds

Length

Don't overstay your welcome. 8-10 minutes is ideal. Anything over 15 minutes and you will be straying into the realms of a conference speaker. You want them looking at you, not their watch.

For more 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

£299
  • A unique speech written from scratch. You complete my questionnaire and I write you a memorable, engaging speech. Unlimited edits.

Speech editing

£149
  • 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

£25
  • 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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