Best Man Basics: Writing a Toast-Worthy Speech

Best Man's Speech During Reception

Nothing can make or break a wedding reception like the best man’s speech. Too much talking and rambling will bore the guests to tears, but a well-timed speech can make for an experience that the newlyweds and all the guests will be talking about for years to come. We have the complete list to help you write a best man’s speech that will stand the test of time — starting with what you should do and ending with what you absolutely should not do!

OK, so here’s what you should do for your best man’s speech:

Introduce Yourself

This is important to start off the speech, especially for guests who don’t know you — they will want to know who you are in relation to the groom. So, give yourself a little introduction. Tell everyone your name and where you met the groom. Share one or maybe two short stories about the two of you together that the wedding party and guests will enjoy.

Joke (Lovingly) About the Groom

Once you’ve introduced yourself, this is a good time to dish out a few jokes at the groom’s expense —something funny and anecdotal that the guests will enjoy knowing about the groom.

Don’t reveal too much; we don’t want to guests knowing anything negative about the groom, especially on his wedding day. Stay away from crude jokes or toilet humor, just as a general rule. Anything regarding bodily functions should always be kept far away from the wedding day. You want your jokes about the groom to be something guests can laugh at and can walk away from loving the groom even more than they already do.

Remember, these are jokes and not insults.

Talk About the Bride

Now that you’ve sufficiently teased the groom and gotten a few laughs, it’s time to shed some light on the bride. Share the wonderful things you know about her. Elaborate on how she came into the groom’s life and changed him for the better. Talk about how excited you are that they found each other and can’t wait to see the life they make together.

This needs to be a time to compliment the bride and should never be a time to make jokes at her expense. Trust me, as the best man, if you ever want to have guy time again with your best buddy, it’s best to butter up the bride. Let this be a trend for the rest of his married life.

Offer Some Advice

It’s time for your pearls of wisdom. If you are a married man, the advice should come pretty easily. Simply draw from your own mistakes and tell him what NOT to do in his marriage. If you’re a single man, you’ll have to seek answers from your married friends for some words you can share. Or, you can simply share your hopes for the new couple going forward.

This moment can be as sincere or as light-hearted as your personality dictates. Just make sure that your advice is real advice and something that the couple can actually hold onto and use some day.

Share Sincere Words

After all the jokes are over, offer some sincere, kind words to the married couple especially the groom. You had your chance to roast him, now it’s time to praise him. Tell him how you feel about him. Talk about how great your friendship has been and how the groom has made your life better. This is a time for the guests to see the true and sweet side of the groom. And most importantly, this is the time for you to tell the groom how much he means to you. Don’t be afraid to be a little vulnerable for this occasion; the guests will be more receptive to you because they will pick up on your genuineness.

Offer a Toast

Last of all, ask the guests to please raise their glasses and toast to the newlyweds. Make sure to keep your toast short and sweet. This is not a time to go on and on. You’ve probably taken up the majority of your allotted time with the rest of your best man’s speech anyways. Let the toast be just that: a toast.

Oh, and here’s what NOT to do for your best man’s speech:

Just as promised, there are a few don’ts to follow when writing your best man’s speech.

Don’t Ramble

Keep your speech short. There will likely be several other speeches, so you don’t want to use up all their time. Plus, you don’t want to put everyone to sleep by rambling on and on. Short, simple and to-the-point is your game plan.

Don’t Be Too Candid

As mentioned earlier, don’t reveal too much about yourself or the couple. One distasteful comment will ruin the rest of the night will be the topic of discussion for years to come.

Don’t Make It All About You

If you find yourself saying “I, I, I” or “me, me, me” then you’re probably making it too much about yourself. Remember, this may be your moment, but this is not your night. Focus on the couple; don’t focus on yourself. If you make it all about you, the guests will tune you out immediately (and then give you funny looks the rest of the night).

Don’t Be a Drunk

Keep your alcoholic intake to a minimum, especially before your speech. Nobody wants to listen to a slurred drunk. This type of behavior can offend the guests and the couple.

Don’t Mumble

Speak loudly and clearly. You will engage the guests by speaking in a way that you are easy to understand. People who are monotone and quiet are just asking for everyone to take a nap.

Don’t Just Read It

Nobody wants to listen to somebody reading something. Try your best to memorize all the points you want to make so that you aren’t reading your speech word for word. If you need some guidance, write a few bullet points or keywords on a note card that will remind you what you want to talk about next.

Remember, your speech is partially responsible for setting the tone of the wedding reception. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts to create a best man’s speech that will perfectly highlight the couple and the relationship they created. Who knows, your speech may impress the wedding guests so much that you land yourself a date. Just don’t forget to teach your best man all the tips and tricks that you’ve learned.

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