So here’s the thing about writing a best man speech for your brother – you will be able to give an insight into the character of the groom that dates right back to childhood. Even best men who have been mates with the groom since they went to primary school won’t have the depth of knowledge that you will have on your bro and this gives you an edge as it’s unique content.
Anyone who’s ever had a sibling will remember the tears, tantrums and tempers when they were a toddler and audiences love this stuff! For most, they only see the side of your brother that he portrays in everyday life, but little do they know about his antics growing up – but you do!
For that reason, I think this is a great angle to use when constructing your speech and can be really brought to the fore during ‘The Roast’ section – more on that in a bit.
The other thing you can play on is sibling rivalry. Gags about who is the best man are easy wins, and portraying your brother as a poor imitation of yourself is fair game! Indeed, because you’re brothers, you don’t need to be quite as mindful as other best men in your ribbing of the groom. It’s assumed that this is what has been happening your whole life and as such you have more creative license than many other best men.
So in short, the content you put in your speech is a little different from other best man speeches. To help you out, you can download real life examples of speeches that other best men have written for their brothers on the link below, or visit our other Best Man Speech Examples for Your Brother post. Both will hopefully give you a bit of further inspiration.
How to Structure Your Brother’s Best Man Speech
My first best man speech wasn’t for my brother, it was for my best mate, but despite knowing him since we were at school I really struggled to write anything at all for quite a while. It was the classic, write something down, screw up the paper, and chuck it in the bin…over and over again. I felt overwhelmed as I had downloaded too much material and as a result my best speech man was a mish-mash of styles that just didn’t flow.
In situations such as this, like any big task or project, it can help to break down the task at hand into smaller chunks that can be tackled one at a time. That way, you know where you’re going, and how you’re progressing along the way. The way to do this when writing a best man speech is to use a framework or structure.
You’ll hear different opinions about what the best man speech structure looks like. In the beginning I was a little confused so I analysed literally hundreds and hundreds of speeches to look for commonalities that made the best ones really great. I then engaged with some of the best speech writers from around the world to validate and tweak the formula. The one I landed on is a 15 step structure that is used in the app I created for writing best man speeches, SpeechMate.
Below is a shortened version of that framework to help you out. And, for more help on how you can structure your speech, you might also find my video [insert link] on how to construct and deliver a speech helpful.
|Opening Line||Relax the audience and yourself with an early laugh|
|Introduction||Use this to explain your relationship to the groom|
|The Bridge||How you know the groom|
|The Roast||Two or three amusing tales that illustrate his character|
|Sincerity||You’re his best man for a reason, this is the time for some heartfelt words|
|Advice||An opportunity to make a tongue in cheek joke about marriage|
|Toast||One final quip or an extension of the sincerity shown earlier|
So the first thing you need is a solid opening line or two, the purpose of which is to break the ice with the audience and get them onside. In your case, as I mentioned earlier, you have license to make a joke about the groom off the bat because the majority of the audience will be fully aware you’re brothers. Here’s an example for you: “Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen – Today, I feel like I’m gaining a new sister and losing a brother. It is such a mix of emotions: happiness, joy… relief!”
SpeechMate.com has a whole bunch of content you about brother’s that you can choose from so check it out.
After you’ve done your opening line and created a bit of rapport with the audience you should be looking to introduce yourself and do some acknowledgements. Here you’re looking to thank a few people. It’s worth bearing in mind that there will have already been a number of thank yous that will have been very sincerely delivered. Your job is to say yours in an amusing or funny way!
As best man, tradition dictates it’s your job to thank the bridesmaids on behalf of the groom and there are numerous ways to do this in a jokey manner, for example you can make a gag about the bridesmaids having to dance with you. Given your relationship to the groom, I always like to include a witty thank you to your folks as well. Again, there are lots of quips that you can make at your brother’s expense here!
In the bridge you’ll want to talk about how you felt when asked to be a best man. If you think you’ll be nervous on the day – which the majority of guys will be – then you can make joke of it here to take the pressure off. Everyone likes an underdog and admitting you’re nervous will get the audience rooting for you to do well. You can also use your responsibilities as best man to make a joke during this stage. For example:
“I can assure everyone that I have taken the role as best man seriously and one of my most important duties was to make sure that my brother got a good night’s sleep before the wedding day. Well I can reveal that last night Tom slept like a baby. He wet the bed and woke up every half hour crying and wanting his Mummy.”
Use this section to move on to the meat of the speech, which if you’ll pardon the pun what we call the roast. Ba-boom!
The roast is a light hearted assassination of your brother’s character and in this section you’re going to want to pick a few traits that he’s known for and poke fun at them. As I mentioned at the start, your USP here is that you’ve known him since childhood so I would drop a tale or two in about a particular incident from that time. It could be him being a mummy’s boy, bed wetting, pulling his pants down. Anything that is really quite childish tends to go down well in my experience.
After you’ve given the groom a bit of stick in the roast, move on to how he and the bride met. This part is optional depending on time, and how comfortable you feel talking about their courtship, but I think it’s a good idea as it brings the bride more into the picture and is therefore more inclusive – not just about you brothers. You may want to talk here about how head over heels the groom was when he met the bride, and some of the stupid stuff to win her over. Again more opportunity for gags that can be populated for you using SpeechMate.
In the course of my research in to what makes a great best man speech, I found that speeches with the strongest approval ratings featured some kind of sentiment in the final third of the speech. In your case this is a MUST. At the end of the day, blood is thicker than water and you should absolutely tell your brother how much he means to you.
There are broadly three things to cover off in this part. The first thing you want to do is to say how proud you are to be standing there as his brother, and best man. You should say, from the heart, how much you value the relationship and how honoured you are to have been chosen.
The second thing to talk about is the marriage and how happy you are for both of them. This brings the bride into the speech and makes it more inclusive. She is now part of your family and so welcoming her in a formal setting such as this will mean a lot not just to her, but also to her parents and friends.
And finally, you should look to mention the future. Marriage is a big milestone in anyone’s life, and as such is a time to reflect on the past, but also to look forward. Here you are acknowledging that important step and giving heartfelt best wishes for the future.
Advice for Your brother
To round things off, a bit of marital advice always goes down well before giving a genuine and heartfelt toast. In total you should be looking for your speech to be around 10-12 minutes which is typically around 1,300 words in total. So that was a bit of a run through of how to use a structure to write your brothers best man speech.