A good Best Man speech structure will flow, get more laughs and make the speech seem shorter than it is. It also 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 story to story or section to section, the guests can intuitively feel 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 – and the speech won’t last till hell freezes over – the guests will relax. And relaxed listeners are more likely to laugh on the big day.

Now we’ve established that, what’s the best order of a best man speech?

Well, let’s read on. This blog post will cover the basics of best man speech structuring, some fun ideas of what to include, and some creative ways to structure your best man speech.

How To Structure A Best Man Speech: The Basics

Before thinking about your best man speech format, you need to know your building blocks. What to include and what to leave out.

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.
  •       Last thing, 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.

OK. We can move on to how to structure a best man speech. In a nutshell, you should save the schmaltz till last. It’s the dollop of sweetened cream the groom deserves after the preceding roast.

Here’s an outline for a traditional best man speech:

  •       Light-hearted remarks at the top of the speech
  •       Who you are and how you know the groom
  •       Your main stories, including some embarrassing 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 best man toast to the bride and groom

A winning best man speech template really can be as simple as that.

How Long Should A Best Man Speech Be?

The old joke is a speech should be like a dress – short enough to be attractive and long enough to cover the bare essentials. Here are some hard numbers on how long a best man speech should be.

If you have 10 – 15 minutes of bitingly funny, well-structured material, that length is probably fine. If you’re confident with public speaking, don’t know the groom so well or are one of a huge roster of speakers, then 5 – 6 minutes is fine too. In the majority of cases, I’d default to the average length of a best man speech, which is 7 – 9 minutes. This will allow you to cover lots of stories, without the fear of overstaying your welcome.

If there are lots of speakers at the wedding, you might be asked to restrict the length of your speech. This is usually to stop the speeches lasting into the middle of the night. So, if your 5 minutes becomes 6.5 minutes, don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world.

A Classic Best Man Speech Format That Always Impresses

What’s the best Best Man speech format? Easy. It’s the one that works for you and the guests. It could be slightly higher concept (see next section for examples) or it could be the classic best man speech layout below.

Let’s run through it.

Light-hearted remarks at the top of the speech

So first, we need some opening jokes or humorous one-liners. It’s here you establish who you are – friend or brother – and what you intend to do. Will you slowly roast the groom; is this revenge for when he was your Best Man? Set out your parameters early and be ruthless. Cut out all the fluff. It’s here you’re showing this speech will be lean, mean and keen.


Things to consider include:

Does the groom have a nickname? You could start with his formal name then switch to how you’d usually address him and why. It’s a good chance for an early gag.

Are you one of two Best Men? Perhaps there’s a joke about his decisiveness.

Is his timekeeping terrible? Near the top of the speech could be a good place to drop this in.


Things you don’t need to include:

Thanking people for the organisation. This feels like padding and will have usually been covered by others. Unless you’re going to turn it into a joke, of course. Thank goodness the groom didn’t get involved in the planning…!

Check out our blog on best man speech opening lines for some more inspiration.

How you know the groom

If you’re friends, how and when did you meet? For example, did you meet at school and you’re still trying to shake him off? If you’re brothers, are you older or younger, with any inside jokes? We’re still near the top of the speech so turn this info into humour where you can.

Your main stories

Ordering your stories is one of the key elements of your Best Man speech format. Essentially you need focus and flow. Here are some ways to nail your Best Man speech layout.

  • From cradle to rave

Everyone loves a funny story 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.”

  • Groom’s qualities

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

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

The bride entering the groom’s life and why they are a great couple

After your main stories, you can introduce the groom meeting the bride. Was it at work, online dating or in a bar? Is everyone still pinching themselves he’s managed to find such an amazing woman?

This section is a great chance to mix the sincere and the humorous. You could talk about how the bride has been a great influence on the groom. Or you could say she has basically had to domesticate a wild animal.

You might also have 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 even include some stories that involve both of them.

Some heartfelt lines about the groom

Come on, he has earned it. He really has. You’ve mocked his manners and exaggerated his eccentricities. It’s now time to show some love. The extent to which you do this is obviously dependent on the nature of your friendship. But there’s one big note here: less is more. One or two short paragraphs on what a great person, friend or brother he is will have more effect than a mini-essay.

A toast to the bride and groom

And to round off any Best Man speech format, it’s the toast. You could use it as an opportunity to squeeze in another line, e.g., “Before GROOM starts bursting into tears at all these kind words said about him, I think it’s time to raise a toast….”

The simple option is just to ask people to be upstanding as you raise a glass to the newly weds / to the bride and groom / to NAME and NAME.

A Creative Way To Order Your Best Man Speech

If you’re looking for something a bit higher concept, here are some other best man speech outline ideas.

One of the simplest is the Best Man CV as it doesn’t take too much set up.

Best Man speech CV

So, how does the Best Man CV idea work in a speech?

Start your speech as you normally would. Introduce yourself and use an icebreaker or opening line to get people warmed up. It’s now time to introduce the idea of the Best Man CV.

The bride is clearly a catch. She’s lovely, funny and kind. And the groom is… well, he’s the groom. So how on earth did he manage to get such a wonderful woman to sign on the dotted line? It’s time to take a look at his skills, talents and gifts and ask ourselves – do any of those words deserve to be used in the plural?

Generate your raw material

Brainstorm your ideas about the groom. Whether it’s big or small, just get it down. It could be the time he fell asleep in a pub toilet. His obsession with true crime documentaries. His joy at beating an 8-year-old child at table tennis.

The more ideas you generate, the more potential patterns will appear. For example, the groom might always seem to set himself the challenge of getting home with no money, no co-ordination and no spatial awareness.

So, we now move on to the next stage: linking the ideas to Best Man CV headings.

Best Man CV examples

You could draw up a list of typical qualities you see on a CV or profile. Things like attention to detail, team player, highly qualified or problem solver. Alternatively, you can look at the material you’ve got then think up a skill, talent or quality that matches it.

If he’s always late, you could have a section about how he is a “Creative timekeeper”. Most conventional people think “meet at 7pm” means 7pm. The groom thinks it means leave the house at 7pm then leave it to fate.

Here are some ways to match a heading with an idea.

  • Always goes the extra mile

Forget self-sacrifice, the groom knows this means falling asleep on the train or night bus and missing his stop.

  • Attention to detail

Like light from a black hole, nothing escapes the groom’s brilliant mind. His memory is the eighth wonder of the world. Just ask him what things he’s left behind in the pub and he’ll dazzle you with his recall: gloves, sunglasses, an iPad, his passport, his dignity.

  • Excellent budgeting

The groom loves to explore the boundaries and possibilities of finance. Like how much you can spend on things which aren’t food or rent. He is a man who knows how to restrict his spending to the essentials, such as video games, vinyl, golf equipment and beer.

  • Focussed

The groom is a man of such focus and determination that he sometimes forgets about the everyday things. Like having food in the fridge or remembering his friends’ birthdays. He much prefers to concentrate on life’s higher more spiritual goals like watching the latest Netflix documentary: “America’s Hottest Female Shoplifters”.

  • Likes a challenge

In his 20s, he clearly realised he was such a catch that when he went out on a Saturday night, he insisted on wearing the worst clothes imaginable to give the other guys a chance.

  • Putting others before himself

Nowhere is this more evident than in the pub. When it is suggested that it might be the groom’s turn to buy a round of drinks, his nobility shines through: “No. I believe it is others first.”

  • Work-life balance

Groom’s approach to this is admirable. Start each week with 100% leisure time then slowly introduce small amounts of work. On one occasion, it was so successful he managed an entire day in the office – albeit his lunch break lasted three hours.

  • Best Man speech CV conclusion

When it comes to your Best Man speech structure, the beauty of the Best Man CV is that it’s simple and flexible. You have a natural end point too. All these “qualities” mean the groom DOES deserve the bride. Especially when you end with some sincere remarks about what a good friend or brother he is.

Rules about the groom

This is another simple Best Man speech outline. 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.

Whichever Best Man speech format you use, remember this: it’s to serve the material and the stories, not to gain you kudos for being clever. If in doubt, ask yourself this about your layout: Does it add clarity? Does it aid the humour? If you don’t get a “yes”, give your potential layout a “no” and choose another one.

Need Help Structuring Your Best Man Speech?

Even with tips on how to structure your Best Man speech, it can still feel daunting. Or perhaps you feel you can do it, but just don’t have the time. Either way, no problem. I offer a best man speech writing service where I can write you a speech that flows from top to bottom.

You give me the info, I write and structure the material and you get a speech you can’t wait to deliver. So why not take a look at my Best Man speech writing packages or get in touch now?

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