How To Write A Best Man Speech That Will *Kill*

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Here’s The Recipe for Delivering a Killer Best Man Speech
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If you’ve been asked to be the best man at a buddy’s wedding, consider it a big deal and a major honor. Sure, it comes with some additional responsibility, but your soon-to-be-married friend wouldn’t have asked you unless they felt you were the... best man for the job.

Our goal today is to help lessen some of the stress load by walking you through how to write a best man speech, and then deliver it, which can admittedly be a little nerve-wracking.

“A lot of the guests will be coming from all walks of life: childhood friends, college buddies, both immediate and extended family members, and most with nothing to unify them besides their love for the couple,” says Abby Gallagher, the owner of Florida’s Blue Orchid Events & Design.

"These speeches are the one way to verbalize that love for them, and something that a lot of guests look forward to. They all have champagne and drinks, and they are ready to toast to the newlyweds and party on!”

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With wedding expert insight, we’re covering all the details ranging from how long the best man speech should be, when you should deliver it, and even lines and ideas you can incorporate.

How long should your best man speech be?

This is one of the biggest questions people have when it comes to crafting the perfect speech, so let’s just get it out of the way.

“Speeches at weddings should only be two-to-five minutes maximum,” says Gallagher. “If you let the speeches drag on for too long, you will start noticing the guests looking around the room. It's best to keep them short and sweet with the perfect balance of personalization, wisdom, and link them in with innuendos.”

Also, the speeches are typically given at some point during the meal, often during salads or entrees. Some people wait until just before dessert. Feel out your crowd and follow instructions from the wedding planner. 

What elements should you include?

Writing and delivering a best man speech is sort of like following a recipe. There are certain elements you should include that will ensure it’s received well by the couple and all the guests.

“Good speeches generally have a few touch points: a funny or charming anecdote and some sentimentality,” says Alyssa Longobucco, the senior style and planning editor for The Knot.

“Always be sure to introduce yourself to the crowd and explain your history with the couple. No matter how many people you may know in attendance, there are bound to be a few wedding guests that have no idea who you are! Past that, be sure to speak to your relationship with one or both of the newlyweds, how you've seen their relationship progress, and your well-wishes for them going forward.”

Both our experts agree that while anecdotal stories are great, you really should avoid anything that could be potentially awkward, overly embarrassing, too much of an inside joke, or taboo.

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Longobucco says, “Humor is great, don't get me wrong, but no one wants to listen to an alphabetized list of all the people their partner dated before them. Plus, if guests listening can't immediately 'get' the punchline of the story you're telling, it's probably too much of an inside joke and is best reminisced about over a cocktail later that night. And one more thing: if you don't like the person your friend is marrying, now is not the time to bring that up.”

So, avoid the non-endearing stuff and stick to this formula: introduction, your connection to the couple, how you’ve seen the relationship blossom (include a personal anecdote here), and then congratulations and well-wishes. Pretty simple, huh?

Still not sure what exactly to say or still looking for a little something extra? Try out some of these best man speech lines and ideas, provided by Gallagher: 

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  • “He doesn't worry about much of anything. The only thing I have ever heard him worry about was when he found out I would be doing his best man’s speech.”
  • “I don't have to list the things that [Groom] hates, since there isn't really anything that he does.”
  • “This is one of the big reasons I respect him so much.”
  • “Because of this trait, he has made me become a better person.”
  • “If I am sure of one thing in this speech, it is this: I wouldn't change him for the world. [Bride], you have found yourself a brilliant charming man.”
  • “I would like to sincerely thank each of the families for hosting this event tonight, this has been a truly joyous occasion." 
  • “So, cheers [bride] and [groom]. Let’s raise a glass to the couple!”

Now that you know what to include in your best man speech and how long it should be, let’s go over a few tips that will ensure you nail the delivery.

1. Find a nice pace.

“Speak slowly and annunciate clearly,” Longobucco advises. “It may feel weird at first since speaking in front of a crowd — and speaking to be heard in a large room — isn't natural for most people.”

2. Practice ahead of time.

To help find a good cadence and work out any kinks in your speech, Longobucco also suggests doing a few run-throughs. Even better if you have a few people there to give you some feedback.

“The more you feel like you have a handle on the cadence of your speech and the contents, the less nervous you'll be day-of. You can even go one step further and have a friend record a video of you practicing so you can catch where you need to slow down or speak more clearly,” she says.

3. Grab their attention.

Longobucco notes that the best way to get everyone's attention is by standing confidently at the front of the room and appearing genuinely excited to give your speech.

“Often, a DJ or band member will cue that a speech is coming, but if they don't, feel free to click your glass or signal their attention in some other way,” she advises. You’ve got this!

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Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance lifestyle reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona. She contributes to NBC, Refinery29, Brides, Allure, Spotlyte, Total Beauty, Soko Glam, and others.