Are you honoured to be a best man but a little bit nervous or worried about delivering a great best man speech? You’re not alone!
The best man’s job is to thank the guests for attending, make a few jokes (usually at the groom’s expense), compliment the bride and propose a toast. If all that sounds like a big job and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t panic. By the time you’ve finished reading our handy guide, you’ll be feeling much more confident.
With our ready-made template, you can fill in the personal details and wow guests with a perfectly polished best man speech on the special day. We’ve also got some great icebreakers for the speech that are guaranteed to give your audience the giggles, as well as some top tips and dos and don’ts. And don’t worry, you can easily make the speech template your own so no one will ever know – thank us later!
Once you’ve got your winning speech together, all you need to do next is practice, practice, practice. Give it a whirl in front of the mirror, deliver your best jokes in front of a trusted friend and jot down all of your key points so you don’t forget them. Preparation is key and if you’ve put the time in, you’re guaranteed to succeed.
Now we’ve got that sorted, it’s time to consider the rest; being a best man isn’t only about the speech – the role comes with many other duties and responsibilities so make sure you swat up on your wedding role knowledge!
Give amazing best man speech with our tips
Best man speech template:
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank (name of groom) on behalf of the bridesmaids for his (brief/patronising/kind) words. I agree that the (number of bridesmaids) all look (lovely/drunk/sweet/taken aback). I was (honoured/shocked/confused) when (name of groom) asked me to be his best man, I had presumed everyone else had said no, even (name of least likely guest) said he had joined the (French Foreign Legion/Samaritans) and couldn’t possibly help.
So here I am, and where do I start? I first met (name of groom) when we were both at (school/reform school/pub, etc) when his nickname was (if none used, make one up) and we immediately became great (friends/enemies).
Since that time things have got progressively (better/worse). We have been through many things together, including (puberty/drinking/partying) and most memorable of all was when we were (age) when (name of groom) got into (amusing anecdote).
Things didn’t get much better either, when (years) later he also (amusing anecdote). And at last we came to the stag night. From what I can recall, it all started off so sedately, but ended up in drunken debauchery (story of stag night) when (name of groom) ended up (naked/in jail/tied to a lampost/name of city, etc).
It was (years) ago, when (name of groom) met (name of bride), the (best/worst/we’ll come back to you) thing ever to happen to him. It was (love/lust) at first sight. It took (name of groom) (no. of days/months/years) to pluck up the courage to ask (name of bride) to go (out on a date/go to bed), and the rest is history.
I ask you all now to join me in a final toast to the future happiness of the bride and groom. To Mr and Mrs (surname); may their life together bring them (much happiness and many children/much more happiness and many more children). (Sit down and milk the (praise/vitriolic looks/wrath of grooms mother).
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Icebreakers and opening lines for your best man speech
Now, before I start, the hotel manger has asked me to request that, for reasons of health and safety, none of you get up on top of the chairs and tables during my standing ovation.
Ladies and gentlemen, if there’s anybody here this afternoon who’s feeling nervous, apprehensive and queasy at the thought of what lies ahead, it’s probably because you have just married (groom’s name).
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to thank all of you for being here today, especially those of you who knew that I’d be saying a few words – it’s very touching that you still decided to come.
(Groom’s name) had the honour of being the best man at my wedding. I remember he took months crafting a speech that was at once heart-warmingly emotional, and devilishly funny. It made the whole room laugh at one moment, then bring a tear to their eye the next. My wife said it was the most beautiful thing she had ever heard, and I agreed. Unfortunately I’m a married man, so haven’t had the time to do all that.
Top best man speech tips from The Wedding Fairy: How to research/brainstorm for speech ideas
Now you may already have a bundle of stories to share about the groom which is great, get these down on paper and stored as potentials. On top of this, it is also vital to identify a diverse mix of other potential speech sources for additional material and tap into them post haste. Make a list of those nearest and dearest to the groom and get in contact for more stories – it’s important your audience gets a real feel for his life and journey to date. Take all the guests right back to childhood and teenage years through to adult life. This speech structure never fails and always engages an audience as it connects with the entire theme of the day. How did our groom get to this incredible moment? Speak to old friends from those various chapters of his life and remember, a touching tale can work just as well as those moments of hilarity.
Research family history
Talk to the crew! Again a mother’s personal stories from the past including birth or schooling can be both moving and hilarious. Was he loaded with dodgy braces as a kid? Any hideous fashion highlights to discuss? Was he accident prone? Did he decimate the School Nativity? Tap into sisters, brothers, dads, aunts or whoever plays those key roles within the groom’s life for more material. Point to note – steer clear of any childhood sweetheart stories unless of course it was the bride herself!
Formulating and delivering funny stories
Just ensure you deliver that punch line with clarity and don’t pre-empt the laughter in your head as this always takes the edge off any big reveal. It’s definitely not cool to laugh at your own stories before the audience!
Hmm, I would steer clear unless of course you have a one liner up your sleeve that is utterly hilarious in the context of your speech – just tacky otherwise. Deliver from the heart and your comedic moments will evolve and shine through naturally.
Ha ha very funny!
Don’t give yourself added pressure by trying to transform into an overnight stand-up comic sensation. The biggest mistake is to present the lines in a style you think an audience want to hear or by trying to emulate your favourite comedian. The only style you need is your own.
Don’t get carried away with ad-libbing
Stick to the script. Of course, if a moment of spontaneous hilarity arises soak it up but, don’t drift off down another path or train of thought – get back on track. It is essential to stick to your pre-planned format otherwise you will lose focus and the audience will drift away.
Don’t joke about how nervous you are
Talking about how nervous you are is a total no go area. It puts the audience on edge and creates an uncomfortable atmosphere. Remember the guests are on your side and always support the best man during his speech – they want you to succeed.
Ditch the ‘in’ jokes
Clearly this presentation to a roomful of guests is not a private conversation so; it’s an absolute must to steer clear of all the in jokes and banter with your mates. This avenue of discussion always isolates a room and creates a barrier between the speaker and audience – this is an inclusive not exclusive occasion.
This is a very important point. Speak to the bride and groom in advance about the overall feel of their day so you can get an understanding on the level you need to pitch your speech. If it is a very formal occasion you need to adhere to that concept as it will be expected. That does not mean you cannot present funny content, it means walk with caution. Of course, a more relaxed approach on the day gives you freedom to freestyle as they say but please, do keep the latter in mind as it is a good overall point to remember – tread carefully.
Keep it clean – know your audience!
It’s often a good idea to check in with your bride and groom before you start prepping your material just so you can get a feel for the kind of audience you will be playing to. In general, weddings are a mixed crowd with guests ranging in age from 0-90 and as such this needs to be considered within your speech content. If you are presenting adult related stories/material, do so in such a way that the little ones won’t understand or get it. Adult in-jokes are always a clever way to get a laugh and your audience on side in a wink wink nudge nudge type way. Steer clear of swearing whatever the audience. This is a wedding not a comedy club! An IMPORTANT word re alcohol. It’s a simple one really – don’t get intoxicated!
And hold for the applause…
I am pretty confident you will get some whoops and cheers along the way so, make sure you hold for the applause and revel in your moment of hilarity. At the same time don’t milk it! No-one likes a show off – it’s all about getting the right balance. Long pauses can be very tiresome so try and keep a regulated pace throughout.
The final word
Leave them with a tear I say! Choose a suitably loved-up line from the couple’s favourite song, movie or perhaps a verse of poetry, a famous quote or maybe just a simple line that says it all. I found this one on the internet recently: ‘Marriage is not about finding a person you can live with, it’s about finding the person you can’t live without.’ After that you can simply add, ‘My friend has found that.’
For more inspiration and ideas, refresh your memory of Hugh Grant’s winning Best Man speech in Four Weddings and a Funeral – a guaranteed way to make your guests laugh – transcript below…
“Ladies and gentlemen, l’m sorry to drag you from your desserts. There are just one or two little things I feel I should say, as best man. This is only the second time l’ve been a best man. I hope I did OK that time. The couple in question are at least still talking to me. Unfortunately, they’re not actually talking to each other. The divorce came through a couple of months ago. But l’m assured it had absolutely nothing to do with me. Paula knew Piers had slept with her sister before I mentioned it in the speech. The fact that he’d slept with her mother came as a surprise, but I think was incidental to the nightmare of recrimination and violence that became their two-day marriage. Anyway, enough of that. My job today is to talk about Angus. There are no skeletons in his cupboard. Or so I thought. I’ll come on to that in a minute. I would just like to say this. I am, as ever, in bewildered awe of anyone who makes this kind of commitment that Angus and Laura have made today. I know I couldn’t do it and I think it’s wonderful they can. So anyway, back to Angus and those sheep. So, ladies and gentlemen, if you’d raise your glasses. The adorable couple.”
Now you’ve got the speech on track, read about what other duties you might have as a best man, here.