A Complete Guide to Smashing Your Best Man’s Speech
Great—you’re the best man. It’s a good feeling when one of your best friends asks you to be the best man at their wedding. But beyond the fun and usual best man responsibilities, like planning an unforgettable stag weekend or busting your moves on the dance floor, your final (and arguably most important job) is delivering a heartfelt Best Man’s Speech. Whether you’re a public speaking pro or you get nervous just thinking about it, you can increase your chances of smashing your Best Man’s Speech by following our helpful tips, examples and structure for inspiration.
How Long Should a Best Man’s Speech Be?
Keep it short. In general, keep it between three and five minutes in length. This is enough time to say something meaningful before your audience gets too restless. You should, of course, adjust your speech length to suit the event. If you’re speaking at a last-minute wedding, it might require a brief speech, while a formal event could require a more considered approach.
Tips for Giving a Best Man’s Speech
You have the honour of being the best man, so you’re probably wondering how to write a Best Man’s Speech. The good news is that there are some tried and tested Best Man’s Speech tips to increase your chances of success. Study these helpful pointers to minimise your pre-speech jitters and ensure a smooth delivery.
- Plan, plan, plan. Our first tip on writing a Best Man’s Speech is to get started way in advance. Start writing a Best Man’s Speech at least two months before the wedding. As the wedding nears, there are lots of thongs to organise or attend—suit fittings, stag do etc that could distract you from getting your writing done. Brain dump your stories, jokes or quotes you would like to include in your speech. The more time you have to prepare your Best Man’s Speech, the better. This way, you’ll be able to be fully present at upcoming wedding festivities.
- Be sincere. Whether the wedding guests are strangers or family, it can feel nerve-racking to deliver your Best Man’s Speech with all eyes on you. To ease the awkwardness, share anecdotes about your relationship with the couple. Everyone loves nostalgia—and it helps the guests get to know you better.That said, be true to how you normally act while making a speech. Don’t try to change who you are for a made-up public speaking persona. If you feel more comfortable telling jokes in your speech, do it. If you are better at being sentimental and don’t mind leaving everyone misty-eyed, take that approach. Remember, the couple chose you to speak at their wedding because they felt you could add something special to their big day. As long as you deliver a heartfelt speech, the newlyweds and guests will love it.
- Topics to avoid. There are a few topics to definitely keep clear of in the Best Man’s Speech. No matter how funny you might think they are, someone is bound to be offended if you include:
- Negativity about marriage.
- Groom (or bride’s) past relationships/marriages/divorces.
- Drinking, drugs, gambling or any form of addiction.
- Adult humour or mention of sex.
Your Best Man’s Speech should celebrate the newlywed couple and their love for each other rather than possibly causing friction.
- Write notes. Even speakers with great memories will be more confident with a written speech—or at least a few notes to keep you on track. Nerves can affect your memory and performance, so bring notes with you even if you don’t ultimately use them. Small cue cards (the size of postcards) instead of a sheet of A4 paper as they will encourage you to keep your notes brief and concise. Don’t read from your phone as the light from the screen can spoil the wedding photographer‘s photos and can be distracting to guests. Practice writing down your speech notes as it consolidates the content and the order.
- Practice with friends. This is a great tip for writing a Best Man’s Speech. Even if you think you know it by heart, practice giving your speech out loud several times. When you are alone, film yourself giving the speech and watch it back to get a feel for how your Best Man’s Speech is going. You may notice that you say ‘um’ a lot or gesture a lot with your hands which can be distracting. Maybe your friends can view the video and give you honest feedback. Most importantly, speak clearly. A great Best Man’s Speech becomes boring if it’s monotonous or if guests are finding it difficult to hear you. Speak loudly, confidently and slowly.
How to Write a Best Man’s Speech
All you have to do is follow our Best Man’s Speech outline, which is a tried-and-tested template for getting started. You don’t need to include every element in your speech – tailor it to the couple, the event and your relationship with them.
Best Man’s Speech outline
We’re guessing the thought of crafting a flawless best man toast from scratch feels pretty overwhelming right about now. Start by drafting a bare-bones outline (trust us, drawing up a rough outline is way more palatable than the thought of writing a fully fleshed-out speech). Here’s a great Best Man’s Speech template to follow:
- Have a killer opening line.
- Thank the other speakers.
- Congratulate the newlyweds.
- Say a few nice words about your friend’s new spouse.
- Make a joke about the groom.
- Read messages from guests who couldn’t make it, if there are any.
- Quote a few famous lines or a poem.
- Propose a toast.
Best Man’s Speech Ideas
To come up with the best Best Man’s Speech, focus on the groom’s personality and the times you’ve shared. Go through old photos, talk to family and mutual friends about memories or even ask the couple for Best Man’s Speech ideas (if your speech isn’t supposed to be a surprise). Consider these questions while writing your speech: Will the groom mind if you make fun of them a little, or are they more serious or sensitive? Is there a heart-warming story you can tell that others might not know about? What people will be attending the wedding and what kind of humour will they enjoy?
Begin your speech by addressing the audience and thanking them for attending the wedding. Here’s an example: “Hello, everyone. On behalf of the newlyweds, I would like to thank everyone for attending their amazing celebration.” You can even butter up the crowd by saying how lovely everyone looks this evening.
Once you address the audience, give props to the previous speaker to help lead into your speech. If you know your speech has a sillier sentiment, now’s your chance to warn your audience in the change of direction. Here’s an example: “Let’s give it up to the amazing speech given by the wonderful maid of honour. If you enjoyed how thoughtful and sweet her speech was, you better get the tissues ready for this one!”
Next, express your gratitude to the couples’ parents. Thank the couples’ parents for not only raising incredible adults and, if they helped pay for the wedding, for hosting such a great party. Here’s an example: “I’d like to begin by expressing my deepest gratitude to the couples’ parents for raising such amazing people, who I am fortunate to call my best friends. I would also like to raise a toast thanking their parents for hosting such an awesome celebration for all of us to enjoy this evening.”
Finally, introduce yourself and how you know the groom or couple. This is a great opportunity to slip in a funny story or memory you have with them that can lead you into the rest of your speech.
Jokes and one-liners
If you want to deliver a funny Best Man’s Speech, consider poking some kind of fun at the groom. “Every groom will have some funny characteristic or quirk you can ridicule,” Bliss says. “As long as it’s something everyone can appreciate, it’s sure to get a laugh. Avoid obscure references or inside jokes. You want older guests and those who don’t know him that well to see the funny side too.” Be strategic about your jokes too. Make jokes about the groom, but leave their new spouse alone.
Bliss advises that you “kick off with a killer opening line,” so you can get everyone’s attention and set the mood. A good one-liner is short but sincere. It should be a quick humorous sentence that can keep the guests laughing for a while—this gives you time to shake off any public speaking jitters.
Concluding your Best Man’s Speech is the easiest part. Simply raise your glass and offer a toast wishing the couple a lifetime of happiness, excellent health and success. Your toast can include one final joke or be a marriage quote from you and the groom’s favourite movie. Either way, take this chance to express with sincerity that you wish the newlyweds well.
Best Man’s Speech Examples
Here are a few Best Man’s Speeches examples you can use as inspiration to create your own speech:
Funny Best Man’s Speech:
“Hello! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Sam, the best man. I’ve known [groom] since middle school, which means since before we learned what a mullet is and that it wasn’t a good look for either of us.
[Groom] and [bride] told me there are some topics I should avoid in this speech so… [Look though cue cards, then shake head and dramatically drop them all to the floor but one.]
[Reading from the remaining cue card] …[Groom] is really the best friend I’ve ever had. He’s done so many wonderful things that it would be difficult to name them all … Hey, Michael, I can’t read your handwriting here!
But seriously, it’s all true. This guy is a great friend—the best I’ve got—and I’m very proud to stand by his side today.
[Bride], I was hoping to be the best-looking person in the room today but obviously, I failed miserably. You look beautiful. I’m so happy for the two of you.
May you always find joy in the little things, like Xbox and Star Wars, oh wait, no that was (groomsman) and me in middle school. Find joy in each other, and have a lifetime of happiness together. Let’s toast the newlyweds!”
Short and sweet Best Man’s Speech:
“As the poet, Dante once said, ‘A great flame follows a little spark.’ When [groom] met [bride], there was a little spark. I know because I talked to him the next day.
From the way he talked about [bride], this girl/boy he chatted up at a party, I could tell this spark was something special.
You two are fantastic together. May the flame burn long—and may sparks continue to fly.
To the newlyweds. Cheers!”
Best Man’s Speech for brother:
“On my fourth birthday, my parents got me a brother… I wanted a puppy.
But seriously, as a kid [groom] wanted to do everything I did. He used to follow me around. He used to sneak in my room and play with my Matchbox cars. Our parents could get him to eat his broccoli by making me eat my broccoli.
It wasn’t until after I went to college that he started going down his own path. He started doing volunteer work. He found a job he loves, an apartment that’s pretty killer and, of course, he found [bride].
[Bride], you are radiant today, and you make my brother so happy. Thank you for doing that. He’s a good guy. To me, he’s the best person you can have by your side.
I’m so happy you two found each other. I mean it when I say that I’m gaining a sister today.
And I’m glad I didn’t get a puppy. I love you, little brother.
Congratulations to both of you. I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness together. Let’s toast the newlyweds!”