Watching your best buddy get married to the love of his life can be bitter sweet. As the best man you are responsible for a few key factors when it comes to the wedding day. Making sure the groom is ready to stand at the altar, keeping track of the rings and also making sure he is having fun are among the top few. But the most stressful duty for most of the guys appointed to this title is the dreaded Best Man Speech.
As a wedding photographer I have witnessed quite a few of these speeches, some great and some... not so great. If you're not sure how to proceed there are a few key steps you can use to outline a speech that is sure to come out as thoughtful and enjoyable for those listening.
The first step to starting any speech is introducing who you are. We don't just end it there though. You should also introduce to everyone who you are in relation to the groom. Maybe even throw in there how long you've known him or why he means so much to you. (I know, we are getting sappy already)
This is an easy way to get the ball rolling with your speech. You're likely pretty nervous standing up their in front of everyone so start the speech off easy!
Now this one is really up to you on whether you want to add it in. Usually if you're related to the groom and know a majority of the guests it is nice to thank everyone for coming. You could also thank the bride and groom for putting such a great event together or their parents if they had a heavy hand in the planning.
This part usually goes a long way with the older crowd and sets you up nicely for a formal and well-rounded speech.
3. The roast
We are now making our way into the body of the speech. This is a good opportunity for a light joke, right after you did your best at being "formal". As the best man you probably have some pretty embarrassing stories about the groom. Try to think of one that talks about who the groom was before he met the bride, we will make a connection to this later.
If you choose to make a jab at the groom make sure it is light and that he and the bride will think it is funny. Refrain from cursing (unless you know for a fact the audience will not have a problem with it) or from talking about any ex-girlfriends or awkward topics.
This is a good spot to talk about your relationship with the groom and give everyone an inside taste of who he is to you.
4. the bride
After you've successfully got everyone's attention it's time to talk about the bride. The most popular topic is talking about the first time the groom told you about her or maybe the first time you got to meet her. You could also talk about how you could tell by the way he talked that she was the one for him. As the best friend it is likely that you were one of the first people he told about this "special girl".
You will get extra bonus points if you tell the bride how you saw a change in him after he met her. This is where you might reference that goofy story from "the roast" and talk about how she has helped him grow and mature from the boy you knew.
5. words of wisdom
This is another take it or leave it section of the speech. If you are married and have some funny bits of advice for the newlyweds this is a great spot to get some laughs. You could also take the route of giving the bride some advice on how to keep her new groom laughing and happy (since you've taken on that responsibility thus far). Or you can give the bride some advice on how to deal with her new husbands "quirks". This is a section that could go a lot of different ways! Make this speech your own in as many ways as you can.
6. Best wishes
Now we are beginning to wrap up the speech. You always want to be sure to put all jokes aside for a moment and genuinely wish the couple a long and happy marriage.
This is also where the tears might start arriving. Keep it together, you're almost done!
7. The toast
Its time to raise a glass. If you have any final thank you's or closing remarks now is the time. You'll want to speak directly to the bride and groom and ask everyone to join you in toasting their love and long marriage.
As the best man it is also one of your duties to get the party going. So as you sign off it is a great time to throw in a "now let's get the party started!".
A Few final things to remember