Writing a best man’s speech - it’s easier than you think

The best man

It’s probably the moment you’ve been dreading most, but the best man’s speech is an unavoidable and particularly high-profile part of any wedding - so forget any ideas you might have about wriggling out of it right now.

Fortunately for you, the best man’s speech is a well-established tradition and they are expected to follow broadly similar lines. So don’t get yourself in a sweat about it - just pull together the essential components, put them in the order you want to read them out in and you’re done. It really is that simple.

After that, all you need to do is write your lines down on several pieces of card and practice them a few times so that you don’t have to constantly refer to your notes on the big day. Try running through the finished speech in front of a mixed audience too. If they look shocked or offended by some of the jokes, tone them down.

So, the essential components you’ll need for a great speech are:

  • 1. Introduce yourself, explaining in diplomatic terms how you know the couple and why you’ve been chosen as best man. Clearly, a diplomatic version is best here. DON’T treat the audience to an uncensored account if you met in the town’s seediest bar or are only standing in because his brother is in prison.
  • 2. Early on in the speech, make sure to thank the people hosting the reception, who will traditionally be the parents of the bride.
  • 3. Always thank the bridesmaids and comment upon how lovely they look (no matter what you might think!)
  • 4. Talk about what the groom was like before meeting his bride, and think about how he has changed since meeting her. Remember that this isn’t an excuse to complain about him not coming out with the lads anymore, but an opportunity to remark upon how much calmer, more centred and generally nicer he has become.
  • 5. Include any details you can about how the couple met, and try to slip in a few anecdotes that throw some light on the couples’ characters. These should be light-hearted and clean, and should definitely not include references to ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends.
  • 6. If you’re married yourself, include any advice you’ve learned over the years and offer tips to the newlyweds. If you’re divorced, keep your trap shut about it and have a skim through a dictionary of quotations to find something suitably concise but profound.
  • 7. Finish off with a toast. Something simple like “join me in wishing the happy couple a long and happy marriage” is perfectly sufficient, but there are plenty of collections of more ornate toasts available online if you fancy something a bit more ambitious.

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