After many years of photographing weddings, we have heard hundreds of best man speeches.
We have heard everything from one liners, to 30 minute long speeches, to hilarious speeches to embarrassing speeches and everything else in between.
Here are some quick tips on things to avoid or do, based on the thousands of guest reactions we’ve experienced over the years. Don’t make your speech very long. 5 minutes is a good average, 8 minutes gives you plenty of time to talk about memories and life stories if that is your aim, anything longer than that and you risk boring your audience.
One or two good, interesting, or funny stories should be enough.
Watch your language.
Remember there are a few generations sitting in the audience, and the generation gap (in
terms of language) has never been wider. It should be common sense to avoid curse words or other derogatory or offensive words, that although might be the norm among the guys, would offend some in the audience. Also remember that sometimes the priest / celebrant, is also part of the audience.
Don’t bury the groom – or the bride, or you might run the risk of losing that friendship forever! It’s perfectly fine to go for humour and tell funny stories about the groom, but be careful with the level of embarrassment you choose.
Remember that the groom is not well known to one part of the audience, you don’t want to leave them with the wrong impression of the groom. Try to stay clear of making jokes about the bride – it’s just safer for your own health!!
Another common sense point is, please don’t bring up the Ex in your speech!
Surprisingly, we’ve heard it a few times and it usually doesn’t end well.
This is the couple’s special day, it should be about them and some things are just better off in the past where they belong.
Even if you’re happy things didn’t work out with the ex and can make great jokes about it, we advise you to resist the temptation.
Don’t just read your speech because you’re nervous or just want to get through it quickly.
And whatever you do, don’t copy your speech from the Internet!
Doing all these things doesn’t show much appreciation or thought for the bridal couple and your relationship with them.
It’s understandable and normal that you might be feeling nervous, but if you just take a few deep breaths and just be yourself, it will show.
You don’t need to race through the speech, you can read it at your own pace by taking tiny breaks and looking around the audience and the bridal couple.
Eye contact and even adding your own humour in between sentences goes a long way. And if you want to break the ice, you can always start by being honest and funny and saying something like “I’m absolutely an awesome best man, but not exactly great at speeches…”
Keep the best for last.
If you want your speech to be memorable and make an impression, keep something amazing
for the end. Whether you end with a joke for laughter, or whether you end with a poem for tears, just make the ending special and make eye contact with the bridal couple as you do it. And if you want to make it extra special, toast not only the bridal couple but also their parents. This will touch their hearts and show that your thoughtfulness.
And last, and probably the most important advice we can give is, don’t drink too much alcohol before giving your speech!!!
We’re sure you can see the wisdom in that…