Best Man speech structure

Why is speech structure important?

A well-crafted speech will flow, get more laughs and seem shorter than it is. Aside from that, it will help you write it. When you’ve got your outline, it’s a great guide as to what to include and what to leave out. Another advantage of a clear Best Man speech structure is that it’s like a hidden clock. As you pass from section to section, the guests intuitively know at what point they are in the speech. “Ah. It’s a stag do story…we’re probably nearing the end of the anecdotes.”

Knowing they are in good hands, the guests will relax. And relaxed listeners are more likely to laugh. Now we’ve established that, what are the building blocks?

Things to include

  • A decent range of stories so they are not all “one-note” e.g. wall-to-wall drinking stories.
  • Some heartfelt lines about what the groom’s friendship means to you.
  • The bride! Even if you don’t know her well, do include at least a line or two about her or directed towards her. It doesn’t need to be poetry, just complimentary.
  • A toast to the bride and groom

Things you DON’T need to include

  • A long list of thanks – the Father of the Bride and/or Groom will have already welcomed and thanked everyone.
  • Toast to absent friends. Again, usually done by the Father of the Bride or Groom.
  • The stag do – don’t feel obliged to cover it. If there’s a fun and repeatable story or two to relate, great. If not, no one will notice or care.

Best Man speech outline

Where should these elements go? Quite simply, save the schmaltz till last. It’s the dollop of sweetened cream the groom deserves after the preceding roast.

Here’s a rough outline:

  • Light-hearted remarks at the top of the speech
  • Who you are and how you know the groom
  • Your main stories – see below for how to order these
  • The bride entering the groom’s life and why they are a great couple
  • Some heartfelt lines about the groom
  • A toast to the bride and groom

It really can be as simple as that. So, how do you order the Best Man stories? A simple rule of thumb I’ve always used is: can you keep the rough structure in your head without referring to the page? If yes, it means it’ll be a breeze for the guests to follow. Here are some examples.

Example Best Man speech structures

From cradle to rave

Everyone loves stories of infant silliness, teenage surliness and early adult adventures. Ask for stories from his parents or siblings and put them in rough order. It could be the time he somehow broke a collarbone while sitting down. Or how he would not be separated from this teddy bear till the age of 12. Then there’s that time he thought wrestling was real. Wait till he finds out about Santa Claus…

It’s a bite-size biography that can be introduced as: “Ladies and gentlemen, buckle up as I now present to you: the uncensored life and times of Joe Bloggs/John Doe.”

Origin story

Start from when and how you got to know each other. Many people won’t know. You can, of course, have some fun with your first impressions. How was his hairstyle, his fashion sense, his general attitude, his (un)fitness? Then continue with your favourite anecdotes. Stick to a rough timeline and the order will create itself.


Write a list of various aspects of the groom’s personality. They could be positive, negative, serious or comical. For example, hardworking, scatter-brained, ambitious, accident-prone, frugal, sensitive. Now brainstorm your stories and link them to the most appropriate quality. You now have ready-made sections for your structure.

Start your speech explaining how the groom is a kaleidoscope of qualities, a jewel of many facets, a total nightmare! Then clearly introduce each section, e.g., “It now time to look at “John The Scatter-Brained.”

The virtue of this Best Man speech structure is that it comes 100% from the groom’s qualities and won’t feel forced.

Before and after

You might have lots of stories about how the groom has or hasn’t changed after he was struck down by Cupid’s arrow. Has the club monster become a sofa-dweller? Does he now have young kids? Perhaps he still goes to bed with sick on him, just no longer his own.

If you know the bride and groom well as a couple, you could include some stories that involve both of them in the “after” section.

It really is letting the story of the groom simply tell itself.


Imagine the groom is like an exotic pet. What are the rules needed to deal with and look after him? Take some of your main stories and extract a simple Do or Don’t from each one. For example:

  • Don’t give him alcohol after 11pm – into nightclub story where he ended up sleeping in the toilets.
  • Don’t encourage his ambitions – into story where he bid a tearful farewell to all common sense
  • Do buy him clothes… as often as possible – a chance to discuss some of his crimes against fashion

If you list the number of rules near the top of the speech, you’ve got an automatic way for everyone to know if they’re near the middle or the end. This does make a big difference.


Don’t over-think your Best Man speech structure. It’s there to avoid you jumping around from story to story like a playlist set to random. If you’re not sure if you need a more formal one, just use rough chronological order. Some of the best reviewed speeches I’ve ever written have used this. Remember: structure is there to help with the stories and jokes not the other way round!

Good luck!

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