Now, as you have come to this blog, I assume you’re a soon-to-be Best Man in need of some inspiration or guidance on how to write a best man speech. But before we get to the nitty-gritty of how to structure a best man speech there are some important bits of preparation you can do. Start by reaching out for some stories, thinking about what style you want and putting the word out for any photos and props.
Now even assuming that you and the groom have been joined at the hip since kindergarten, there may still be aspects of his life that you don’t know much about – for instance what he got up to on family holidays as a child, or what his work colleagues think about him. For that reason, all diligent Best Men will make a point of getting in touch with as many of the groom’s friends, colleagues and family as possible for anecdotes that can be used as ammunition against him.
You want to have at least two or three good stories that you can include in your speech, and to ensure that what you have is pure gold, you’re probably going to want at least a dozen in the first place that you can then whittle down to the best. These are going to be used in ‘The Roast’ which we’ll talk about in my blog on how to structure your best man speech.
The stories needn’t all be funny of course – if they throw light on the groom’s good virtuous character then there’s no reason you can’t also bring them in, to help you make a connection with the audience and reassure the bride’s father that his new son-in-law isn’t as appalling as he might think. Just remember the nice stuff should be sprinkled in amongst the dirt – you don’t want to make it too easy for the groom, now do you?
Style of Speech
The second thing to think about before you put pen to paper is the style of your speech. The tone you take will depend as much on your own personality as it does on the audience. If you’re not a confident public speaker, naturally you’ll want to keep it fairly short and sweet. On the other hand, if you’re a born orator, then you’ll probably be happy to take flight on a ream of witty anecdotes. Think about what you’re most comfortable with and don’t over-reach yourself. It’s always best to leave them wanting more after all, and no-one will begrudge you if you don’t talk for long.
With regards to the audience, you need to be certain of its composition before you start. If it’s going to be a fairly young crowd, and likely well-lubricated from a free bar, then you can be reasonably sure that your jokes about the groom and his difficult puberty years will go down well.
If, however the guests are mostly going to be over a certain age, and church-going folk to boot, then in all likelihood they would prefer not to know too much detail about the groom’s various run-ins with the law, or his unseemly web browsing history. The last thing you want is to be frantically rewriting your speech in your head during the ceremony because you’ve catastrophically misjudged the audience.
You may be thinking about including visual aids. I watched a fantastic Best Man speech a few years ago where he had arranged for some genuine police officers to stage an arrest of the groom on his stag. He then displayed photos of the events on a projector. If you plan something similar, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get your materials organised.
Equally, if you want to source photos from friends or family, you’ll need to give yourself some time as they will probably be from back in the day when folk used to get film processed! That being the case you’re going to have to get the originals and scan them – praise be that those time are behind us!
How to Structure a Best Man Speech
You’ll hear different opinions about what the ideal 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. My blog on How to Structure a Best Man Speech takes you through a shortened version of this framework to help you with the next stage of writing your best man speech.
Get Your Complete Guide to Writing a Best Man’s Speech
If you’d like to learn more about writing your speech then download your full guide 25-page guide ‘How to Write a Best Man Speech’ in which I talk you through the entire process step-by-step.