Best Man Speech Examples & Tips
You’re standing at the podium, about to give the best man speech at your friend’s wedding. Your palms are sweaty, your heart is racing. What do you say?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll give you some tips and examples of what to say in your best man speech. Whether you’re looking for a funny best man speech, or a more sentimental one, we’ve got you covered.
How To Write An Amazing Best Man Speech
Before you dive headfirst into writing your best man speech, there are a few rules you need to consider to ensure your speech is as entertaining as it can possibly be. The key to a good best man speech is that it sounds casual and effortless, but there’s still a good structure, and this can only be achieved if you follow these simple, but effective rules:
- Timing: Keep your speech short! Make sure your speech is around seven to fifteen minutes long. Any shorter and it sounds like you’ve not put the effort in. Any longer and you’re at risk of boring the guests and sounding monotonous.
- Make sure you don’t leave it till the last minute. A good speech takes preparation and practice. If you’ve always been the sort of person who procrastinates, then now is the time to make a change. You should start this speech at least a month in advance of the wedding to give yourself time to make edits and learn the speech by heart so you can deliver it effortlessly.
- Don’t include any private jokes or stories the wedding guests won’t understand. Think about your audience at all times. This is not a private speech between you and the groom. Everyone needs to understand what you’re talking about or you risk alienating them.
- Don’t talk about yourself too much. This is not your day, but the brides and grooms. If you’re going to go on about anyone, it should be the groom!
- Spend the most time working on the introduction and the end. These are the bits most guests will remember.
- Any jokes about the groom or members of the wedding party should be wholesome and family-friendly rather than rude, crude, and offensive. Remember anecdotes and short stories or observational jokes about the groom work much better in this speech than one-liners that you’ve randomly found online. Give the guests time to warm up to a joke rather than expecting them to roar with laughter at a single out-of-context sentence.
- Think about having an overarching theme. The best man speeches have a thread running through them that links all the different elements. If you can, try and think of a loose theme for your speech (don’t force it though if it’s not working). Something you can reference at the start and then come back to at various points makes for an excellent and joined-up speech. Ideas could be a certain well-known trait of the best man. Or perhaps a story about the groom that you can drip feed throughout the speech, with a hilarious result revealed at the end.
Best Man Speech Template
Best man speech opening lines
To get your audience on your side from the off, start your speech with a strong and amusing opening line if you can. We’ve rounded up some of the greatest best man speech opening jokes for you to take your pick from. A classic way to get guests on your side is to mention how you’re feeling about the speech or what you’ve been feeling in the run-up to delivering a speech, as they will immediately have empathy for you and be willing you to do well. Make it funny and self-deprecating though, rather than making them doubt your abilities to deliver a speech!
Welcoming the guests
Once you’ve said the first sentence you’ll feel a bit more comfortable and can get into your stride. The most important thing to ensure you do at the start of the speech is to welcome the guests. This is can be a simple sentence welcoming them and thanking them for coming to the wedding on behalf of the bride and groom. This can also be a good time to mention how honored you are to be the best man and also to pay some compliments to the bride and the bridesmaids.
Introduce yourself and how you met the groom
Next on the agenda should be introducing yourself in more detail and telling those members of the audience how you met the groom. Make sure the guests know your name and how you’re related or linked to the groom. If you’ve got a funny story about how you met, bring it out now. Talk about your initial thoughts about the groom and how you hit it off (or didn’t!).
Talk about the best man
Now you’re into your stride, this section should form the main section of your speech. After all, the best man speech is all about the groom and what a great guy he is. Talk about his character – the good bits and the not so good (remember wholesome jokes only) and spend time reflecting on how he has grown as a person since you’ve known him.
Focus on the comedy value here, and don’t be afraid to exaggerate traits or stories a little for the comedy value. As long as there’s a basis in truth the audience will know you’re hamming it up! Alongside any best man speech jokes, be sure to add in some touching and emotional stories about the groom to provide some variety. You can also mention any major accomplishments that the groom has made in his life in this section if it’s relevant. Remember a bride will have her father’s speech to talk about how amazing she is, so as a best man it’s your duty to paint the groom in just as good a light.
The bride and the groom
Now that your best mate is married, it’s time to talk about the other love in his life – his new bride and how he met her. Talk about how they met and how you, as his best friend, knew that he was smitten and in love. This is another chance to make fun of him for being soppy or behaving in an out-of-character way. This is also part of the speech where you can be a bit more serious and you can talk about how amazing the bride is and how happy she makes your best friend.
You can even thank the bride, if you feel it is appropriate, for making the groom so happy. If you’re in a place to do so (or perhaps it’s funnier if you’re not) now is also a time to offer some advice to the bride and groom for the years to come. Keep it light-hearted and funny. No one wants to be told how hard marriage is on their big day.
The wedding day
Once you’ve exhausted all your jokes and anecdotes about the groom, it’s time to pay a few compliments. You can start with the wedding day itself, talking about how fabulous it has been so far and the amount of effort that has gone into the day. You can thank the parents of both the bride and the groom if you like here, but don’t go into a long list of thank-yous, as that is the groom’s job in his speech.
The best man speech toast
You’ll be glad to hear this is the final element of the best man speech and you can really afford to relax and be jubilant at this point in the speech as all your nerves should be gone and you’ll be well and truly at ease with public speaking by now. Much like the conclusion to an essay, you can use this part to quickly summarise the key points from your speech, or you can even complete a classic best man’s speech joke that you’ve cleverly woven in through the majority of the speech. Feel free to pepper this section with a few well-chosen last jokes to leave your guests feeling happy and upbeat too.
Your speech should end with a heartfelt toast to the newlyweds. Start with a few hopes and well wishes for the couple and then invite the wedding guests to stand and join you in raising a toast to the happy couple.
What To Do Once You’ve Written Your Best Man Speech
Now you’ve followed this best man speech template and have the bones of your speech written down, you’ll probably feel a real weight off your shoulders. From here, you can take your time fleshing out the details of the speech and adding or amending jokes where you see fit.
Now you need to time yourself reading the speech and cut or add to it depending on the time it comes out at. It’s also a really smart idea to ask someone to listen to your speech and give you honest feedback. Don’t choose anyone too close to the bride or groom as they will want to hear it for the first time on the wedding day. Another groomsman or someone going on the stag do would work well.
Best man speech structure tips
Professional speechwriter and founder of Great Speech Writing, Lawrence Bernstein, shares his tips on how to deliver a knock-out best man speech…
Remember your audience
Don’t write your speech for the boys on the stag do. While some of your mates may be in stitches as you recounting the story of the groom’s eyebrow being shaved off as he slept in a Majorcan golf buggy dressed in his Spiderman outfit, the rest of the guests are unlikely to be amused and you won’t get the laughs you’re hoping for.
When you’re thinking about your best man speech structure, it’s best to keep your material as universal as possible.
Avoid stand-alone jokes
This may sound odd; after all, this is the one speech where people expect jokes. But punch lines that fall flat can be a nightmare for any speaker, and there are plenty of ways to make people laugh without one.
Keep it clean(ish)
Avoid crude jokes, mentions of ex-girlfriends, anything that might insult guests and in particular the bride!
Best man speeches have a reputation for being a bit saucy, but it’s easy to go too far. Don’t judge a potential story or joke on whether you find it funny, but on whether your audience will be offended by it.
Pick a best man speech theme
Anecdotes and observations are key elements of many speeches, but they don’t always link together naturally. Choosing a theme that ties everything together can help it flow, and an original and amusing theme is often the difference between a decent speech and a great one.
Keep yourself separate
It’s tempting to focus your speech on your own relationship with the groom. But if you labour the point too heavily, it can start to sound like narcissism and be very boring for everyone else.
Keep the best man speech short
Limit specific anecdotes to a maximum of two or three sentences each. Keeping the best man speech short and snappy will hold people’s attention, and if a story isn’t working, you can move swiftly on.
Example One: The “Thankful” Speech
“Hello everyone, it’s such a pleasure to be here tonight as [Groom’s] best man. And I want to begin with saying what an honor it is that I was chosen to stand by your side today. You’ve always been someone that I looked up to and I am just beyond grateful that I get to share in this moment with you and [Bride].
[Groom] is someone that I’ve come to care for greatly over the years and I am so happy that he’s found someone to share his life with and start a family with. [Groom] has always been my right hand throughout the biggest moments of my life and I can’t wait to be able to watch everything beautiful unfold for the two of you. Cheers to a lifetime of happiness!”
Example Two: The “Smart Move” Speech
“There’s an old saying about friendship that reads, “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them,” and goodness that couldn’t be more true for me and my boy, [Groom].
I could go into all the funny stories that include some of that stupidity but instead I’d rather focus on all the smart moves he’s made. His friendships, the relationship he has with his family, his career, it’s all a reflection of the incredible man he’s become. But really, the smartest move he’s made is marrying you, [Bride].
Let’s toast to the best decision [Groom’s] ever made. I wish you a lifetime of love, happiness and success.”
Example Three: The “She Was The One” Speech
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming out tonight to celebrate the wedding of two people we all love, [Bride] & [Groom]!
When I first met [Bride], I knew that she was the woman [Groom] would end up marrying. Even if it hadn’t dawned on him quite yet, it was obvious to everyone around just how smitten he was with her. They talk about a bride’s glow, but this man was shining since the moment he met [Bride]. He changed for the better without realizing it. And we all could see it.
He couldn’t stop talking about her. We’d go out with the boys and [Bride’s] name would be brought up every two minutes. So, when he came to me to tell me that he would be proposing my only response was, ‘Well, it’s about time!’
There’s something special about these two. They go together without forcing it. They love each other without fighting it. And they care about each other without thinking about it. She was the one from the very beginning [Groom], and we’re all so happy to be able to take part in your big day. Cheers!”