How to Write a Great Wedding Speech
A person’s wedding day is one of the biggest moments of their life, and when it comes to choosing someone to give a speech, they’re going to pick someone who means a lot to them. It may be the best man or maid of honor, or it may be another loved one who’s in attendance. Either way, if you’re the chosen one, you have a big task ahead of you. But writing a wedding speech doesn’t have to be hard when you follow these tips:
Most people are honored when the future bride and groom ask them to give a speech at the wedding, but they may not know where to start. If you’re not sure what you want to stay, brainstorming can help. Write down a list of personality traits, funny stories, touching memories and anything else you can think of that shines a positive light on the couple. Consider asking others who know them well for ideas to add to your list. Once you’ve completed your list, you’ll have several options on what to include.
Introduce Yourself and Thank the Couple.
Even once you have your brainstormed list together, it be difficult to know how to open the speech. The safest thing to do is to introduce yourself and explain how you know the bride and/or groom. During this introduction, you can also thank the couple for inviting you and the other guests to share in this big moment. If their parents or other relatives helped throw the wedding, it’s also appropriate to thank them for having you.
Share a Personal Story.
Now, it’s time to add a personal touch. This is where your list of brainstormed ideas can come come into play. A funny or touching story about how the bride and groom met is always a good idea. If you’re the bride’s sister — and you often played wedding during your childhood — you can touch on that. If you’re the groom’s roommate — and you watched him frantically clean up your apartment before his future bride came over for the first time — you can share that. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that will make the audience laugh, cry or relate to the sentiment.
Consider Using a Relevant Quote.
Something else you may consider adding to your speech is a famous quote about love and marriage from a historic figure, a piece of literature, from the bride and groom’s religious faith or anything else that may seem relevant. Just be careful that it fits in with the the speech and doesn’t seem awkward. For example, if your entire speech is packed with jokes or has a lighthearted tone, it may feel odd to throw a poignant quote about love from the Bible or Shakespeare into the mix.
Give Some Words of Encouragement.
Once you’ve shared some personal stories about the bride and groom, it’s time to start wrapping it up. You can transition into an ending by offering some words of encouragement to the happy couple. Tell them you knew from the moment they met that they were perfect for each other, or tell them what you wish for their future. If you’re single, tell them you hope to one day find a love like they share, and if you’re married, consider some fun advice for their own married years.
Avoid Making a Faux Pas.
Now that you have the bulk of the speech written, look it over to make sure you haven’t included something you shouldn’t. Avoid anything negative about the bride, groom or their loved ones, including insults. Don’t bring up old boyfriends and girlfriends or ex spouses. Do not be crude, use curse words or use explicit sexual material. Remember, their parents, grandparents and coworkers may be in the audience. Finally, avoid copying a speech from the Internet or a book, and don’t be too generic.
End With a Toast to the Couple.
Now that you’ve written your speech and gone over it to make sure the material is appropriate, end it with a toast. Ask the audience to raise their glasses to the bride and groom. Make it short and sweet.
Practice in Front of Others
Finally, practice the speech in front of other people before the big day. This not only gives you practice delivering the speech in front of an audience, it allows you to get some feedback from others. Perhaps the speech is too long or too silly. Maybe you’re not speaking loud or enough or looking at the audience enough. Ask your practice audience for any constructive feedback so you’re ready to do it right on day of the wedding.
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STEP 1 – PLANNING
A great joint speech needs planning. The good news is the planning is best done over a few beers.
Yes, this is the part where you two best men get together and reminisce, or as we like to think of it, gather the evidence.
HUNT THE STORIES – Get together all your favourite groom stories, mainly the embarrassing ones but also ones that prove a point (e.g. he’s intimidated by anything adventurous or terrified of spending money).
See if you can spot a theme amongst the stories – for example, is it that he easily gets into trouble or could it be that he keeps missing amazing opportunities? A theme will help bring your speech together when you write it.
GET INSIGHTFUL – As Homer Simpson wisely said ‘ It’s funny ’cause it’s true ‘.
Yes, it’s time for you to hunt down the truth – which basically means spotting the groom’s fundamental flaws and identifying his weird quirks. Dissect both the groom’s physical appearance and his personality. While you’re there, compose a critique of his style, habits, abilities, and intellect.
Try to be as specific as you can. Saying he looks ‘a bit weird’ will not get as big a laugh as you pinpointing his odd ‘T-Rex sized arms’. Or saying he’s ‘overly polite’ will not be as funny as saying he ‘eats a burger with a knife and fork’ .
Find the things that people will recognise as ‘him’ but never thought to articulate. And if that sounds like hard work, well, at least there are two of you to share the burden of responsibility.
FIND SOME GOOD STUFF TOO – Surprisingly easy to forget but lurking in your speech somewhere, there has to be a genuine, warm-hearted tribute to your mate.
Don’t rely on adjectives. Prove , don’t tell – so find the anecdotes that show the groom’s attributes in action.
BRING IT TOGETHER – Here, you need to filter out the stories and find the comedy gold. Remember one excellent anecdote or line is much better than three average ones. Be ruthless. If a story takes too long to explain or feels like a deviation from the main thrust of the speech, it’s probably not worth it.
Of course, a great speech isn’t just a collection of funny anecdotes, a great speech has a narrative arc, so make sure you consider this as you select your content.
Between you, decide how you’ll theme and structure your material. Will it be ‘The Bride’s Guide To How The Groom Works’ or could it be ‘A Groom’s Guide To Being Husband Material’ ? Once you decide how to theme your speech, the writing of it gets so much easier…
Read our Best Man Advice to get a better idea of how to find your theme. A great joint speech needs planning. This is not something you can just wing on the day.
The good news is the planning is best done over a few beers. Yes, this is the part where you two best men get together and reminisce, or as we like to think of it, gather the evidence.
STEP 2 – BASIC RULES
A joint speech is always going to have its own unique flourishes, but you still need to know the best man basics.
DURATION – A standard best man speech should be 1.300 and delivered in about 8-10 minutes. As a double act you have a bit more leniency but still no more than 1.500 words, please. No one ever listened to a speech and thought ‘if only it were longer’ .
ETIQUETTE – Unlike other wedding speeches, you don’t need to thank people for being there or welcome everyone to the wedding. Others have done ‘the boring bits’.
The bulk of the speech will just be stories about the groom and why he and his bride/groom make such a perfect couple.
And, yes, one thing you have to include in your speech is saying how gorgeous the bride looks.
STEP 3 – WRITING
THE WRITING PROCESS – You could sit together and try to write it, throwing jokes back and forth like a Simpsons writer’s room, but co-writing is hard !!!
At Speechy, we always get at least two writers to look at our client’s speeches but we have a lead writer and then another editing and trying to improve on their first draft.
This allows one of you to get the structure and basic content together without you both having to argue over wording as you go (which, trust us, is painful and could put an end to any happy banter!).
Once best man#1 has got the first draft together, get best man #2 to add their thoughts, before you get back together again and try to ‘punch it up’.
JOINT SPEECH STRUCTURE – Writing a joint speech is akin to writing a script. You need to allocate specific lines to each of you, alternating delivery between you both (e.g. a paragraph or two each at a time).
Start thinking about how you can banter off each other and really turn your speech into a double act. All of the little ‘ad hoc ad libs’ you see in traditional comedy double acts seem as though they’re not scripted – but guess what – they are!
So script your funny throws to each other, your incredulous responses, and your ‘spontaneous’ one-liners. This is what brings your speech to life and makes the most of you being a double act.
PROPS – A joint speech is one of the few speech occasions where we drop our ‘no props’ rule. This is because a joint best man speech is already pitched as being somewhat shambolic in its delivery (there’s a charm to this if you get it right!)
Don’t feel compelled to needlessly hunt down a prop (or present a Powerpoint presentation of the groom’s hairstyles through the different eras!) but if you want to utilise that perfect accessory, make sure one of you is put in charge of organising them. Decide who will be ‘the glamourous assistant’ on the day.
STEP 4 – REHEARSE
Allocate a couple of sessions so you can rehearse together. As there may be less for you to remember than a typical speech (presumably you’ll have half each), you may decide to go ‘off book’. This is totally up to you, but if you do, make sure you have prompt cards with you on the big day – just in case.
Ironically, it’s essential you rehearse the ‘ad libs’. Sure, there will be more on the day, but a shake of the head, or a well-timed eye-roll can add just as much laughter as a comedy line. Remember, you’re both on show throughout the speech. Even if you’re not speaking, you should be performing.
STEP 5 – DELIVER
AVOID ALCOHOL BEFORE YOU DELIVER – You might think you get funnier but you don’t. That’s a FACT.
Between us, we’ve seen several best men escorted away from the mic and it’s cringy not comedy – so definitely no more than two units before delivery.
LAUGH – People respond best to people having fun.
Smiling and laughter are scientifically proven to be infectious – so go for it. Laugh at your partner’s jokes. Laugh if you fluff a line. Laugh at the groom’s face.
Basically, laugh and have fun up there and you should be fine!
The Speechwriting Experts
The Speechy team are TV-trained scriptwriters/comedians by trade & we’ve helped 1,000s of speakers around the world deliver their dream speech.
Our advice has been quoted everywhere from The New York Times to Grazia and from Forbes to The Observer . Our founder has also featured on the BBC Sounds’ Best Men podcast with Jason Manford and written ‘ The Modern Couple’s Guide to Wedding Speeches’ , published by Little, Brown.
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Two men, One speech – and how to smash it!
The joint best man speech is the trickiest in the book. Done badly, it can come across like a dodgy variety act. Do it well, and you’ll never receive so many offers of free drinks (with possible add-ons)!
When joint Best Men fail to live up to expectations, it usually comes down to their approach. The first major (and common!) pitfall is to get carried away from the off, and to think of it as a comedy routine, rather than a speech.
Even the Chuckle Brothers spent years crafting their signature style, and chances are, you don’t have that much time to play with. So the first step is to craft a speech. It might sound obvious, but all too often joint Best Men can get ahead of themselves, thinking in terms of a double act before they’ve even put pen to paper. You can only be as good as the words on the page.
It’s worth repeating. Two men, one speech. It’s not uncommon for each speaker to come up with their own set of notes separately, and try to fit them together in a seamless fashion. This rarely works. For lack of a better analogy, it’s like making a cake with two different mixes, and hoping for the best.
When it comes to gathering your thoughts and ideas, joint best men should agree on a set of topics in advance. It might be the groom’s fashion sense, his love of fast cars, or his frankly embarrassing taste in music – whatever is most relevant. Deciding on that theme before making notes will help draw everything together
Crafting a Speech
Gathering your ideas is relatively straightforward. The hard part is next: putting it all together. The good news is that the only real difference between a Best Man and a joint Best Man speech is that there are two speakers. The bad news is that writing a genuine winner requires time, patience, and originality! For further information on how to write a Best Man speech, read this… Guarantee Laughs: Best Man Speech
Forgive me for referring to the Chuckle Brothers twice in one article, but their catchphrase (“from me, to you, from me, to you” ) is something joint best men can learn from. We read dozens of drafts from joint Best Men every year, and the most common mistake is to focus too heavily on the comic interplay. Yes, it’s their moment to shine, but they’re not the stars of the show. That title belongs to the newlyweds:
‘ Cheers Dave, for that unique insight ’, or ‘I didn’t think you’d bring that up Steve’ isn’t content, it’s filler, and too much of it will detract from the overall success.
We would always recommend writing the speech, and then deciding who says what. A paragraph to me, a paragraph to you, is another bit of Chuckle Brothers inspired advice worth remembering. Joint Best Men often like to have one speaker tee up the joke, and let the other come in to deliver the punchline. It might work once or twice, but too much of it and it could interrupt the flow. Nor is it necessary. A good joke will work. A bad one won’t.
Sometimes, though not often, the Best Men know the groom from very different periods of his life. One might be a work colleague, the other an old school friend, for example. If there’s little crossover, then it’s more likely the groom will ask for two separate speeches. But it can and does happen. There are different ways to tackle this. Were we to use the above example, you could compare how the groom was at school to how he is at work. Alternatively, decide on a theme which excludes neither Best Man, so each can bring their own perspectives, anecdotes, and memories to the table.
- Prepare for the whole speech, together, from the start
- Write it so that either of you could read the whole thing through if either of you was ill on the day.
- By all means introduce yourselves, but don’t forget you are simply a vehicle for guests to find out more about the groom.
- With more content, and more speakers, it’s even more vital that you keep your language clear, punchy and incredibly easy to deliver.
- Every great speech includes a sincere section. Just because there’s two of you, doesn’t mean it should be ignored.
If you would like help writing your best man speech… V I S I T http://www.greatspeechwriting.co.uk/best-man-speeches/ C A L L 020 8245 8999
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The ultimate best man speech guide
10 minutes you’ll remember forever.
The Best Man Speech is one of the highlights of any wedding, but getting it right is essential, because whilst it’s just 10 minutes or so on the day, the memories of this speech will last a lifetime . Most Best Men are weighed down by the expectation to be funny, and have no idea where to start, what it should really contain, how to end it, or how to talk about the bride and groom in a meaningful and non-clichéd way. This page is the definitive guide on how to write your best man speech, from the structure, to the jokes, how to handle two men, props, format and quotes…it’s here. All you need is some time, a creative burst and the rest will take care of itself.
- Being Best Man
- Relationship to Groom
Triumphs and Disasters
- Joint Best Man
Best Man for Brother
How to write a great best man speech
Here is a short video with my thoughts and ideas on writing a great best man speech. I’ve expanded on those ideas below to give as much advice, hints and tips on writing a really great speech. Enjoy!
Many best men race to get that first funny line in there, and usually at the expense of quality. Keep it warm, funny and never edgy.
1. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, for those who of you I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, my name is Chris and I am officially Paul’s second best man…second best ladies and gentlemen…nobody likes to be second best do they? Well, Paul, looking at his career, he should know better than most…anyway where were we?
2. Good evening ladies and gentlemen before I begin I’d just like to introduce myself: my name is Chris and it is my very great honour and privilege to be the first of Mark’s two Best Man…we had to split it…46 years is quite a long time to cover all in one go! Over the course of the next few minutes I’ll be taking you through Mark’s sporting heroics, dealing with incredible loss and being caned by people dressed as nuns…which in fact had nothing to do with the stag do
3. Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, over the next few minutes we’ll be talking about the man for whom Scottish Independence now means asking his English wife if he can go to the pub at the weekend. I can’t help but thinking that an English woman telling a Scottish man he can’t go to the pub, would be a new low in this country’s rich cultural history.
4. Over the next few minutes I’ll be taking you on the rollercoaster ride that has been Sean’s life to date, and there are some amazing stories; like the time he was playing A ball with David Cameron in Mexico and his dog ate the Prime Minister’s guinea pig and he had to sell my passport to repair his own nose…actually I’ve known Sean 30 years…I might have muddled a few things up there…
AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT NOT TO DO….
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, before I begin I would just like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to those of you I haven’t yet met. My name is Dave, and this Bob, and together it is our very great pleasure and privilege to be Colin’s best men for today’s celebrations.
At this point I thought I would be nervous at doing Leigh’s speech but I am now looking forward to ripping him a new arse hole in front of all his family and friends and better yet he has to sit there quietly.
This is the most puzzling part because unless you’re a seasoned speech writer, why should you have idea about structure? There are a few ways to tackle this, but the best idea is to keep things simple and form a logical progression from one piece to the next, don’t let the timeline jump around, don’t confuse the audience, and don’t cover topics or people multiple times.
Talk about being the best man
Now you’ve got to get from the introduction into the main part of the speech and this is the bridge, and in many ways the trickiest part of the whole speech, particularly if you’re trying to link everything together. Again, simple is good – don’t make the guests think too hard!
1.Over the next few minutes I will be guiding you though what amounts to one great big cry for help: Paul’s life. The inglorious acting career, the ridiculous hair, owning a ridiculous car, the persistent alcoholic over indulgence and drunken profane outbursts – he was quite simply South West London’s answer to David Hasselhof…just not as successful.
Neil is a special friend and special friends deserve one thing: three stag dos. The weekends of Istanbul, London and Leeds will live long in the memory of not just those who went, but also those who read about us in the national papers. The mass chants of ‘feed the snake! Feed the snake!’ and the enduring company of our new best friend Bianca the stripper are, I have to say, completely unrelated. I would also like to say that for the record Brian accepts and welcomes people from every country around the globe. Almost. AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT NOT TO DO….
Now a wise man once told me the best man speech should last as long as it takes for the groom to make love…So thank you everyone for coming
Firstly, I would just like to say how beautiful the bridesmaids look who have only been out shone by the bride herself, who looks amazing today.
If everyone could be upstanding, and raise a glass, know as some of you may know Kerry wanted to have the wedding a lot earlier than this, so that a certain something could be involved in the wedding, and unfortunately after a long and hard fight that couldn’t happen. I am of course talking about mikes rapidly thinning hairline, you will be sadly missed.
How you know the groom
This comes directly after the bridge and establishes a connection with the audience – they can immediately understand why you’re there, what you mean to the groom and it’s always an opportunity to have some fun with it, especially if you’re a brother!
- My first mistake was going to stay in the shared house in London where he lived. My second was to comment on the hair. As a glass bowl of pot pourri went sailing past my head and smashed behind me giving off a wonderful burst of sandalwood fragrance, I was given enough time to realize that this was a troubled, sensitive character who didn’t take criticism that well. Perfect friend material.
- I first properly met Nick way back in 1994 when we started secondary school together. Little did we know it at the time but it was the start of a beautiful relationship, which, for me, EVENTUALLY proved worth pursuing years later when I was able to borrow all his notes and pass my A Levels. Of course, Nick didn’t need them because he might look quite cool now but he was in fact a complete square at school. The day when he could read without putting his finger on the word and then count without using his hands, were both real breakthrough moments in his life, only to be capped a few weeks later when he passed his driving test.
- I first met Brent when we attended the University of Texas and pledged a fraternity together. It was here amongst the upside down beer bongs, ritual humiliation and complete lack of sleep that I knew I had met a friend for life. This may sound overly emotional and slightly premature but when you discover your new buddy is packing his dad’s credit card with no limits, who wouldn’t want him as a friend for life? Just for the record Mr. Schakett, I know at times you may have been concerned about the amount of money Brent spent on alcohol and food on that card. You shouldn’t have: the Shot Man Schakett never wasted any of your money on food.
The trick to writing a really entertaining speech is to make the whole thing a story, rather than dragging the audience through endless stories. Recounting anecdotes is really hard to do because they require a lot of detail and all the time you’re getting to the punchline without making them laugh can prove really counterproductive. Of course, this can all pay off if you have a killer punchline, but all too frequently they aren’t that ‘killer’ and require you to have been there.
Instead take out the good bits from the stories and condense them, even embellish slightly into one neat burst of comedy…
1. Now as he embarked on adult life Nick was to learn the hard way just what it is to be a man, and the number one rule is: if you are going to offer to buy the drinks in happy hour, it’s best not to drop the entire lot down yourself as you get back to the table thus meaning you have to go and buy it all again just after happy hour’s finished. Also you should only ever do a runner from a restaurant via the roof if you HAVEN’T actually paid the bill. Leaving Prezzo’s this way one evening after settling up and leaving a good tip, still doesn’t make any sense to anyone.
2. Anyway when Mark wasn’t failing to hit the top spot in the classroom he was also finding it difficult to do that on the sports field as well. However, with a modest talent and even less interest, he did the only sensible thing to do: saved up all his skill and enthusiasm for one split second of genius. Quite how he managed to catch the impossible cricket ball as it left our sports master’s bat, is still completely unknown. But with, uncharacteristic razor sharp reactions and gazelle like agility, he did just that, and won his side the match. Literally seconds after this Mark retired from all forms of competitive sport – at the very top of his game.
3. There weren’t many highlights to being on minimum wage in the frozen section of nobody’s favourite supermarket, in fact if I remember rightly, there was only one. Nick had been asked to use his initiative to dispose of a 2 litre tub of chocolate ice cream – no big deal you might think. Well, Nick decides to take it into the staff toilets and empty it into the loo. Ladies and gentlemen, a big tub of melting chocolate ice cream can make a big impression when poured into a toilet and can only ever give the next person in there the wrong idea. And it did. From then on half the people thought he had dodgy guts the rest thought he ate on the toilet. Both of which, are in fact, true.
These are ripe areas for comedy material, and whilst you can hint at his accomplishments that should really come later in the speech, when it all gets a bit more meaningful. Of course, the disasters aren’t real disasters just areas of his life and social situations he’s got catastrophically wrong…for comedy effect.
It wasn’t all academic and sporting mediocrity though, there have been lots of other things he wasn’t good at too. Forget school discos and trying to speak to girls, Mark had computers eating out of his hand. And it’s easy to see why: with computers you can eventually work out what’s bothering them, they usually only ever break down for legitimate reasons and if you get fed up with them, you can just switch them off. You see, nothing made his heart beat harder or his mind race faster than a computer with a problem. It is a love affair that has endured to this day.
The impact the bride has had on the groom
This should be a fun look at the way the groom as upped his game, changed his wardrobe and started showing an interest in things outside of pubs, football and waking up late.
1. But when he’s not trying to track the dark forces behind his least favourite football club in the world, he also likes to go on holiday. Now going on holiday for Frank is nothing new but the way he goes about it now is very different from the Frank of old. Thanks to his beautiful new wife Emily, Frank now does something called globe trotting which actually involves going to lots of different far flung countries and immersing yourself in their culture, rather than a two hour flight and immersing yourself at the bar.
2. It’s always tricky that first stage of the relationship as you go about discovering whether it’s going to work or not. However, for Sean and Lucinda it was a lot trickier, as soon after he met her and became smitten, he had the romantic task of making her redundant. Sean was taking the old addage “if you love them set them free” to ridiculous conclusions, which resulted in Lucinda losing her job.
3. Cassie, can I just say that you look absolutely beautiful today, I think we can all agree Brent is one lucky guy. I always had a sneaking feeling that Brent was batting way above his average, now I know he is! I have seen over the years just how happy you both are together and I am so thrilled for Brent that he’s met such an amazing woman to share his life with. Also if you could find it in your big, warm heart to allow The Shot Man and that credit card to come out to play, then you would make some grown up, financially independent men, very happy too.
The wedding day really is only about one person, and even though the Best Man Speech should mainly be about the groom, the bride does of course have her part in it as well.
The thing to remember here is, that unless you live in Australia, the best man always goes last, and so the groom will already have extensively talked about how they met. You’re really looking to avoid repetition, so allude generally to how they met, and I’d avoid details…and if they met online and aren’t advertising the fact, then you shouldn’t either.
1. Seriously when Mark met you Emily, everyone could see just how happy that made him. He’s always been a great bloke waiting for the right girl and everyone who knows you both will tell you just what a great couple you are together. Mark I couldn’t be happier for you today, we’ve known each other such a long time and I hope that friendship lasts for many more years to come.
2. Ali, I know you make Neil incredibly happy – you must do, he’s stopped dressing like a middle aged freak. But seriously, you both make a great couple and I know that he’ll already have the next few years planned out on spreadsheets but if you can fit me in I’ll look forward to spending a lot happier times together.
3. The fact that Dave also looked like Kevin Keegan’s love child, also didn’t help his dating days. That was until that fateful night, on the last train from London when he met the lovely Katie and smooth talked her after another mate of ours offered her a complimentary chicken nugget, and the rest is history. In a world, which looks down upon fast food, I think we all need to think again.
4. I can see how incredibly happy you have made my old friend over these last eight years and just how much you have helped to change his life for the better. He’s always been a great guy buy now he has wider horizons and a greater sense of adventure. And I know just how much of a support you’ve been to him through the tough times. I think you are a great couple and I look forward to many more happy times together in the future.
There should really be only one toast in a best man speech and that’s at the very end. Tradition states that best men should reply on behalf of the bridesmaids at the beginning of the speech in response to the bridesmaids toast by the groom – but it’s just confusing and not necessary. A simple but effective toast at the end and you’re done.
All that remains for me is to wish you all a long and happy life together, with all the luck in the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, the bride and groom.
This is where you tie all the strands together, and say what a great friend/brother the groom is, how much he’s been there for you through difficult times, laughed with you through the good times, and always had your back….and if he hasn’t…just lie!
1. John, you have been a good friend to me ever since we first met, and not just in the form of free shots and hosting parties. We’ve had great times going to the games, hanging out and making that journey from college to adult life. I know there will be less time for me in your life as I’ve now been replaced by a small dog called Ben, but you’re catholic, and now you’re married – I can’t see that dog getting a look in for months anyway. However, I will always look forward to the time we spend together especially when for old time’s sake the Shot Man is once again unleashed. Thanks for being trustworthy, loyal and understanding friends and I hope to spend many more times together for many more years to come…maybe also with that doctor wife you promised me Julie.
2. With your laidback, calm and sensitive approach to life Frank, you’re somebody that many people count themselves lucky to have in their lives. Not just because of your willingness and ability to help them out as a friend but because you’re fun and light hearted ways mean you’re always a great guy to be around.
3. I am so happy that you’ve found each other to share your lives with and all that remains for me to say is that I hope you have a great day today and enjoy a long and happy life together.
4. Sam, we’ve known each other for such a long time and been through such a lot together that it’s hard to know where to begin. All I can say is that I couldn’t have wished for a better bloke to share those years with and I hope that there’s going to be plenty more of them to come. Thanks for being a great friend, and thanks for letting me copy your homework.
Other things to consider
From a vast amount of experience you should avoid using props at all costs. It might seem like a great idea to have films, photos, a man in a gimp suit taking the heat off you in a pressurised situation, but it only ever serves to make the day a lot trickier and the speech less effective. As soon as you start holding up pictures or invite people to look at pictures you’ve left on the table they will immediately stop looking at you and start zoning out or talking amongst themselves.
If you give anyone the opportunity to divert their gaze you then have to work really hard to get it back again, and props will only ever make your speech longer and more tedious to endure. They also usually rely heavily on cables, Bluetooth connections, wifi etc etc…or at the very least everyone being able to see what you’re holding up…and they never can. Suddenly you’re getting heckles about not being able to see/hear/understand and it makes the speech the longest 10 minutes of your life.
A great idea if you’ve got funny photographs is to pin them up by the seating plan so that everyone will get to see them and then you can reference those in your speech.
Forget the awful quotes that you normally hear such as ‘it’s not somebody you can live with, it’s somebody you can’t live without, there are some great quotes out there if you look hard enough. Just one for each speech as you don’t want it to become some sort of English Literature GCSE essay.
The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it. - Hubert Humphrey
There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. - Thomas Aquinas.
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. - AA Milne.
Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends. - WB Yeats.
Quotes can be a really powerful way to end a speech, and it’s worth going that extra mile to find something that very few have used before, so check out sites such as BrainyQuote and GoodReads for an endless supply of great quotes.
You are always going to get a heckler or two so it’s worth thinking in advance how to deal with them so they don’t upset your flow, and even better, give you an opportunity to get some extra laughs. The most simple method is just to pause, wait until they’re done and carry on, but if you can get a bit of mileage out of it, so much the better.
A good way of having some fun is simply to ask if they’re looking for assistance in going to the bathroom, this works particularly well if they happen to be on the slightly older side. If it’s a younger person you can assume some vocal surprise that their carers have let them out for the day, or suggest that whatever medication the system has got them on, they need to cut the dose. Anything along this sort of gentle fun vein, always works a treat…as long as they don’t really have a carer and aren’t on medication.
In my experience best man jokes are probably the least effective addition to any best man speech that wants to be classed as superior. By best man jokes, I am alluding to about 100 or so gags that were written over the years specifically to get a laugh from wedding guests. You can do so much better than these, because they’re old, tired an dpeople have heard them all before and the last thing you want to do is land one of these at the start of your speech to a luke warm ripple of polite laughter.
To identify exactly what I’m talking about I’ve listed some of the most prolific offenders.
It’s an emotional wedding, even the cake is in tiers.
It’s not the first time today I’ve got up form a warm seat with a piece of paper in my hand.
If there’s anybody here this afternoon who’s feeling nervous, apprehensive and queasy at the thought of what lies ahead, it’s probably because you have just got married to the groom.
Complete rubbish. You need to work out what it is that’s funny about the groom in an original and engaging way, people will love your creativity and laugh much more!
Burning deep within his sole was a dream, what he wanted more than anything, more than being a cowboy, professional tennis player or A ball star…was to be an office manager in the NHS. What can I say? He’s not dreaming any more ladies and gentlemen.
This is one of the most important factors and it actually depends on quite a few things, so we’ll start off with the very general scenario of 3 speakers at a wedding – Father of the bride, Groom and Best Man. If this is the case and it’s in the UK, then the best man speech should be a stand up to sit down time of no longer than 10 minutes. If this is in America, that will be about 5 minutes maximum. Americans like their speeches shorter and more efficient, and that’s no bad thing.
However, these timings will then change the more speakers that are added to the line up, because what the groom should be doing is making sure the section of speeches doesn’t run into hours of your life you’ll never get back. If there are 4 speakers, aim to be in and out in around 8 minutes, 5 speakers you’re looking at about 6 minutes, and so it goes on.
You have to bear in mind also that as you’ll be the last speaker, apart from Australia where you’re up second, and so the guests are at the limit of their concentration endurance, so if they’ve been sitting through 90 minutes of speeches, and it happens, make it REALLY funny, and REALLY short.
If you are two best men making a joint speech then you should be stood for about 12-13 minutes, and that remains the case the more best men are added to the line up. If you’re a co-best man and you’re making separate speeches, then your speech should be about 7 minutes. The timings in Australia are identical to the UK except that the best man goes after the father of the bride.
Joint best man
Being a joint best man is pretty common these days, and you really need to tackle what you’re going to go about things as early as possible, because trying to coordinate two guys to write and deliver a speech whilst they juggle their own lives can prove next to impossible.
The first thing you have to decide is if you’re going to make a joint speech or separate ones. The best method is to make a joint speech as it means you won’t double up on gags or content, and nobody has that last dreaded speech spot. A great joint best man speech should consist of about 4 chunks of content each and you bounce from one best man to other all the way through the speech.
However, for many reasons making a joint speech might prove impossible. Maybe there’s no time to coordinate it, maybe you don’t like the guy, or maybe there’s a fundamental clash of ideas. In that case make sure your speech is efficient, tight and punchy and comes in at around 7 minutes, and whatever you do, make sure you get on first.
Quite a lot of grooms make their brother the best man, and that does throw up a few problems – the main one being that although you’ve grown up in the same family/house etc. you don’t really know that much about him! When I’m writing speeches, this doesn’t really affect the creative process because I’m looking for a very funny comedic overview of who the groom is, not a granular introspection. If you’re facing this very common problem, then just take everything you know about his character, passion, dislikes, job and even hair colour and get the funnies out of that. It can be done but it really needs thinking about.
Of course, there is some fun to be had with the introduction and you need to allude to that fact how upset you were when your number priority spot was completely usurped by a noisy, ugly ginger baby called Dave. If you’re younger than talk about the time you realised the bigger toddler in the house who kept bashing you over the head every time your mum left the room, was in fact your older brother Steve.
As tempting as it may seem to have a quick chronological run through of the groom’s former loves, this will only ever end in disaster. This comes back to my point that the wedding day is really only about the bride – if you do anything to upset her, then it’s pretty terminal. Mentioning former conquests in any way shape or form is something I completely avoid, you might think it’s all light hearted fun but no bride likes to think of their brand new husband being the love interest of someone else!
Delivering the speech
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How to write a JOINT Best Man speech
You’re right. The Best Man Speech is the hardest of the lot. And it gets a whole lot trickier when it becomes a job-share. You may think there’s safety in numbers, but not when it comes to delivering a joint Best Man speech. All the usual pitfalls are still there….they just become harder to spot. And on top of that, the audience is less forgiving, the Groom expects more and the Bride is easier to offend!
Here are some ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ for making the mother of all speeches one to remember for all the right reasons:
- Write it as a comic script delivered by a double act. Unless you are a professional script writer or stand-up comic this will be extremely difficult to write and even harder to deliver. Written and delivered badly it could easily appear awkward and contrived.
- Speak for too long. Just because there’s two of you speaking, it doesn’t mean the guests want to hear you speak for double the amount of time. I suggest a 5 minute ceiling for each of you.
- Write your speech for the boys on the stag do . This is a common trap and easier to fall fowl of when there’s two of you writing the speech. Whilst you may be in stitches recounting the story of the Groom’s pubic hair being shaved off whilst he’s passed out in a Hungarian hotel room, the rest of the guests are unlikely to be amused and you won’t get the laughs you’re hoping for.
- Include too much content. With two of you there’s a temptation to include all the best stories from both parties. But a speech heavy in content can end up light in synergy and seem disjointed and irrelevant.
- Use a theme to hold your speech together . With two of you speaking, and therefore different tones and styles being used, there is more of need than ever to link stories and anecdotes together naturally. Indeed a theme can sometimes work better with two speakers. For example, if the Groom has a split ‘Superman Vs Clark Kent’ personality, one of you can talk about him being Superman and the other Clark Kent. Split up the formalities between the two of you so there is a clear delineation in your role. For example, one of you can do the early ‘thank yous’ and the other can deliver the toasts at the end.
- Collaborate and consult each other regularly to ensure there is no embarrassing overlap. Your biggest risk is covering ground that will be repeated later on in the other Best Man’s section.
- Avoid too much chronology. It is easy for joint Best Men to split up the life story of the Groom into sections that each can relate to. For example, the brother of the Groom talks about the early years and the best mate talks about university and professional life. But this can lead to a formulaic and unoriginal speech. Better to weave stories around a joint theme if you can.
If you just can’t agree on where to start or what to write then give me a call on +44 (0)207 118 1600 . I’ve written many a joint best man speech and I’d love to help with yours!
You can also download our Write and Deliver the Ultimate Best Man Speech ebook .
Early preparation tips for this year’s wedding speech
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- Wedding Ideas & Advice
- Wedding Etiquette and Advice
- Who Gives a Speech at a Wedding Reception? How to Write a Wedding Toast Tips for the Father of the Bride Speech How to Write a Best Man Toast Advice for the Maid of Honor Speech What to Know About a Newlywed Toast Public Speaking Experts' Wedding Speech Tips 60 Quotes to Use for Your Wedding Toast
How to Write the Perfect Best Man Speech
Two experts share the best tips for writing a winning toast.
Photo by Sydney Noelle Photography
In This Article
First of all, congratulations on being asked to be the best man. You, of course, have many important responsibilities —like groomsmen shepherding and bachelor party planning , among others—but there's only one task that will secure your proud ascension into the ranks of becoming the MVP: Giving a killer toast.
The best man's speech traditionally follows the groom's speech and is a chance for you to say some sweet words about your relationship with the couple and your best friend. But, if the thought of public speaking has your kneecaps sweating, we found you two coaches with years of experience to help ease your nerves.
Ahead, with the help of President Barack Obama's former speechwriter David Litt, and Pete Honsberger, author of Wedding Toasts 101: The Guide to the Perfect Wedding Speech , here are the best tips for writing a perfect man speech, in order to pull off the most amazing toast ever.
The Best (and Worst) Best Man Speech Ever
Meet the Expert
- David Litt was the speechwriter for President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2016 and is the author of the New York Times best-selling book Thanks, Obama.
- Pete Honsberger has been a serial groomsman, speaker, and wedding toast advisor for most of his adult life. When it comes to wedding toasts, he's seen just about everything—you can read about it in his book, Wedding Toasts 101: The Guide to the Perfect Wedding Speech .
Best Man Speech Template
Getting all your thoughts and feelings down on paper can be overwhelming, especially if you're not used to sharing those sentiments with the guys. And for those who are unsure of what to write for the big day, here is a guideline to help you find your flow.
Find a Theme
A theme is a unifying idea that ties the whole speech together. Think of it as the takeaway of your speech, or the one thing you want guests to remember. The best way to identify your theme is by making a list of your favorite stories. "You’re not going to just write a speech from scratch. Start by brainstorming stories. Most importantly, what you’re looking for is the theme that comes out of those anecdotes," says Litt.
Build a Framework
The best way to organize your thoughts is to create a blueprint of the key points you want to hit first, sort of like a toast skeleton. After you've established the roadmap, fill it in with pertinent details and memories while still ensuring you're staying on point. "Think about it in terms of ideas," says Litt. "You can get in one or two short anecdotes, maybe three, and one big idea. If those are good, you don’t need more."
Instead of thinking of yourself as the speaker, imagine that you're actually standing in the audience. Think about what the audience would like to hear, rather than what you want to do.
Focus on the Newlyweds
Most best men will include a story or two about their friendship with the groom, but don't center the whole speech on it. "Remember the relationship that you’re celebrating is the one between the two people getting married. You’re giving the speech because you can shine some unique light on that relationship," says Litt. "If the relationship that you’re really giving the speech about is the one between you and the groom, things [will get] awkward."
Share Your Feelings
Deliver something more meaningful than one joke after another. "Generally speaking, men think of the best man speech as a funny speech to give because we’re very uncomfortable sharing how we actually feel. But, what makes a good best man speech is the part where somebody shares how they feel. Humor is just the icing on the cake," says Litt. The newlyweds chose you to speak because you have something notable to add to their big day. Embrace your personal insight into their bond and don't try to dilute it by just being funny.
Best Man Speech Tips
Ahead, find our best tips for making sure your speech is as polished as possible.
Consider Your Audience
You can't nail a speech if you have no idea who to tailor the content to. "Feel free to ask beforehand. When I was writing speeches for the president, we had a point of contact where the speech was happening to say who exactly is in the audience. You can do a smaller-scale version of that. Your point of contact is probably your friend getting married . But, the nice thing about giving the best man speech is that, ideally, it’s both specific to you and universal to the couple," says Litt.
"I would say almost never start with talking about how nervous you are. I’d also say just relax. That’s a hard thing to tell someone to do. But remember, you’re not putting on a show," says Litt. "You're simply talking about your best friend and the love of their life, two people that you've probably spent a lot of time with. In the end, it should just flow and come out easily." Litt also suggests, "imagine you’re just telling a story to a group of friends because, really, you are."
Stay True to Yourself
Stick with who you are and how you would normally act around your friends; you don't need to adopt a character just because you're giving a speech. For example, if you aren't normally the comedian in the group, don't try to tell a bunch of jokes. If you're not usually a super-sentimental person, don't force it. There's nothing wrong with keeping your speech more lighthearted . The couple already knows (and loves) your personality, so the more genuine you are, the better your speech will be received by both the newlyweds and their guests.
Don't Rely Solely On Humor
While a few jokes sprinkled in can be a great tool for loosening up the crowd, don't make these the meat of your toast—especially if comedy doesn't come naturally to you. "Let me put it this way. There’s such a thing as too many bad jokes, and that number is about one. The more you treat it as an open-mic night, the less happy everyone involved is going to be. You don’t need to go in thinking, 'How do I get invited back next week?'" explains Litt.
Keep Things Positive
Even if you think it's well-meaning, don't turn the toast into a roast or make jokes at the couple's expense. "I’ve seen best man speeches where someone thinks, 'Oh, my job is to roast the groom .' Unless the couple specifically told you that’s your job, that’s not your job. The way to think about jokes is that you don’t want people to be laughing at the groom or at the couple. You want people to be laughing because they suddenly know the groom better than they did before." says Litt.
Don't Upstage the Newlyweds
Litt's previous boss (former President Obama) really enjoyed telling other people's stories at speaking engagements, and this ultimately strengthened his messages. "His speeches are not really about him. They’re about other people," says Litt. Channel Obama by keeping your speech focused on the couple. "You’re not performing. You’re there because you know someone and care about them, and you’re sharing that with a bunch of other people. Even a great best man speech is not supposed to steal the show. If somebody says, 'That speech was nice but almost forgettable because we were so focused on the bride and groom,' that’s a win. You don’t need to be the star," advises Litt.
Keep Things Appropriate
"My general rule for wedding speeches is: If you have to ask yourself, 'Is this appropriate?' it’s not. And if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t know, ask a friend. If they give you that slightly horrified look, listen to that look," explains Litt. Keep in mind that your audience will include guests of various generations and cultures, like your friend's grandparents, boss, and colleagues. Refrain from mentioning anything that you wouldn't want your grandma or boss to know.
Get a Second Opinion
Remember, you'll be delivering this toast in front of an audience (as if you could forget, right?). So it doesn't hurt to get some feedback on what you're planning on saying. "If you’re the kind of person who has a track record of going a little too far with your surprises, you should be self-aware enough to run this by a third party—maybe another close friend or a friend of the bride ," says Litt.
The last thing you want to do is stand up and give a speech that you've never said out loud. "The best thing to do is practice with a friend. Anybody giving a big speech rehearses beforehand. If you’ve already gotten good feedback from field-testing your remarks with a smaller group, then you’re going to come out on the wedding day comfortably knowing you have a good speech. It's that uncertainty that can be scary when you’re up there speaking," says Litt.
Keep It Short
Let's be realistic: Super-long wedding toasts annoy guests. "I’ve never been to a wedding where anyone said, 'That was a great wedding, but the best man speech was just too short and that ruined it.' I would say five minutes is the absolute maximum. Three minutes is fine. There’s no question that if you’re reading this, you’ve sat through a speech that was too long. But when you start writing a speech, you almost never think, 'Is this going to be too long?'" explains Litt.
Limit Your Drinks
Don't embarrass yourself by slurring through your toast. "Being one drink in works for some people, but being more than one drink in is never a good idea. At that moment when you’re like, 'You know what I need? Another couple of shots.' That is never what you need," advises Litt.
Best Man Speech Openers
Now that you understand the fundamentals of creating a great toast, your next step is to sit down and start writing. If you need a little help getting your speech going, though, our experts share a few ideas to kick-start the process.
Introduce Yourself With a Twist
Want to tell the crowd exactly why you're the best man? Honsberger says to get straight to the point and tell them how you know the groom . Most importantly, add some flavor to the first few lines. Spice it up a bit, as anyone can do the standard, “For those of you who don’t know me….” Simply put, ask yourself what a twist would look like in your own introduction.
“Good evening, if you’re in this room and don’t know me by now, then you’re probably at the wrong wedding. I am, of course, [your name], and I’ve been best friends with [groom] for 25 years…”
“Hello and welcome to tonight’s reception. [name of groom], YOU truly are MY biggest fan. Wait, that didn’t come out right…As I was saying…”
Crack a Joke, Even a Corny One
Remember the audience when determining whether your joke should be said, but ultimately, try and see if you can get the crowd to laugh in the first 30 seconds. To achieve this, Honsberger says to simply reach into your own bag of jokes or look one up online. "I’d encourage you to first spend a little time reflecting on your own comedic ability. If you’re coming up empty, then consult outside resources," he notes.
"Hello, I’m the best man [your name]. This entire day has been beautiful so far. In fact, I’m getting emotional. The wedding cake has me in TIERS. (looking at a three-tiered cake).”
"You’re probably wondering why I asked you all here tonight…well, I can promise it’s not for my 'Magic Mike' performance. You’ll have to stick around to the last song for that."
Be Hilarious With a Straight Face
While still technically a joke, this is you working hard to sound serious while saying something absurd. And if you get this right, you’ll hear a little giggle immediately, followed by laughter from the rest of the crowd once they figure out what you said was a joke.
“Good evening, I am [your name], the best man and [relationship to groom] of [name of groom]. Tonight we’re in a room full of great men –doctors, lawyers, military veterans, and successful businesspeople –yet I am the 'best.' His words, not mine.”
"As Abraham Lincoln once said, [say something outrageous than Lincoln obviously never said—an inspirational quote, movie line, piece of advice, etc.] … and that’s what brings us all together tonight to celebrate [couple's name].”
Introduce a Recurring Theme
Choosing an overall toast theme can help you start strong. If you decide that your relationship with the groom can be summed up by sports, college, vacations, a mutual love of running, or whatever fits you, that can be your theme. And if that’s the case, your opener is simply the first, or the best, story you have related to that specific topic.
“Hello and welcome, my name’s [your name], and I’m here to talk about my amazing friends Mike and Liz. They are truly a story of opposites attracting.
For example, Liz’s favorite food is french fries, and Mike is allergic to potatoes. Mike has an obsession with ice cream, and Liz is lactose intolerant (pause for laughter).
Thankfully, things have a way of working out, and we are gathered tonight to celebrate the most important thing they have in common…incredibly good looks. I mean, LOVE.”
Just like that, you’ve captured the audience, let them into the world of the married couple, and got them excited for the rest of your toast.
Ask a Question to Answer Throughout
If you’re questioning your toast opener, try leaning into that approach. Instead of looking for the answer, embrace the question. Think about what you would want to know about the groom if you were a distant relative or family friend sitting in the audience, says Honsberger. What would be an interesting question to explore about the couple? Use that.
“Good evening. My name is [your name] and I’ve known [groom] for more than [#] years. As I was preparing this toast, one question consistently rang in my mind: How do I summarize a friendship that has lasted since we [when you met]? Believe it or not, [groom] was [name a quirk or characteristic about him] back then, too.”
“But really, how can I possibly speak to all of our experiences in just a few minutes without turning it into one big inside joke? Do I talk about …?”
Then, spend the rest of the speech answering that question, and you’ll never lack information to share.
Really want to capture the intrigue of everyone in the room? Start rhyming your sentences. Honsberger says he tried this in his first-ever wedding toast, and the result was an audience hanging on every sentence, wondering what the next line would be.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am Dan's younger brother, Pete. Many of you, I already know. Some, I have yet to meet.
Dan and Kate, thank you so much for this amazing chance, to speak on your special day … by the way, I call first dance. (crowd boos in jest) Sorry, but I called it!
I’ve looked up to Dan ever since I’ve had sight. He was always bigger than me, and he was always right.
Being the oldest of four boys couldn’t have been an easy thing. But in a house full of hyenas, Dan was the Lion King."
Read a Definition from the Dictionary
Here’s a chance to leverage one of the most straightforward and honest resources in existence: the dictionary. All you need to do is find one word that defines the couple’s relationship , says Honsberger. This can be serious and sentimental or funny—your choice. Just make sure it's relevant to the couple.
“Google’s second definition of the word ‘love’ says, ‘A great interest and pleasure in something or someone.’ I think this is beautiful and an understatement when I think of [bride] and [groom]’s marriage. Although I was a little concerned when, under the definition, the word “love” was used in a sentence as ‘His love for football.’ Hmm, strange…”
“Who’s ready to dance tonight? Wikipedia defines the word ‘dance’ as ‘a performing art form consisting of purposefully selected sequences of human movement,’ and those words have honestly never come to mind when I think of [groom] dancing. I might be kidding, but there’s only one way to find out!”
Tell a Story of How You Met
If the groom is a friend, chances are you have a good story of the first time you met or early in your friendship. If it’s your brother or family member, simply use one of your first memories together, whether playing, adventuring, or getting into trouble.
“The year was 1993, the class was kindergarten. I was building a beautiful tower of blocks when out of nowhere, they were knocked to the ground by a classmate without mercy or even an apology. That classmate was Matt, and we’ve been best friends ever since. And Matt, I’m sorry for throwing the blocks at your head after that.”
Begin With a Quote
Simple and overused? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely. If you want to make the groom smile immediately during your toast, use a quote that you both recognize. If there’s one that his partner appreciates, too, even better.
The most important reminder when using a quote is to ensure the audience feels like they’re part of it, too. Unless the quote is universally known, briefly mention its origin right after saying it. Let them into the joke and they’ll be with you for the rest of the toast.
“Good evening everyone, my name is [your name], and I’m the best man tonight. When coach [name] used to tell you to ‘Be an Athlete,’ this is what he meant. When anyone on our team missed a tackle, it was ‘be an athlete,’ when our jerseys weren’t tucked in, same saying. We’ve adopted that as a cure for any issues in life. When [groom] really wanted to introduce himself to [bride], the solution was simple. ‘Be an athlete.’ And he was. So if you see [groom] miss a step on the dance floor later, be sure to remind him to ‘Be an athlete.’"
Read Something in a Different Language
Looking for a way to involve international members of the family in your toast? Look no further than practicing a phrase and reciting it in their native language to begin your toast. If that doesn’t apply in your situation, yet you still want to shake things up and be unique, you can translate a wedding-related sentence into another language. It will be intriguing, and you’ll sound smart!
“Hello and welcome to everyone in both families on such a beautiful day. Me llamo Pedro y necesito que te diviertas porque esta boda es muy cara (wait for laughter from Spanish speakers). If you don’t speak Spanish, I said that I need everyone to have fun because this wedding is really expensive!”
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, this speech is about the couple getting married, why you love them so much, how happy you are for them, and why you're honored to have this role in the wedding party. Keep things light, positive, and succinct—and also remember that the celebration is all about love, and no one is here to make you feel nervous. Make time to practice the speech, take a few deep breaths before you begin to speak, and focus your attention on the couple. Before you know it, you'll have given a speech for the books!
The best man traditionally speaks at the wedding reception following the maid of honor, though some couples may schedule the speeches during the rehearsal dinner instead.
The best man gives one speech either at the wedding reception or, less commonly, the rehearsal dinner.
The best man's speech serves as a special lens for the audience to better understand the groom, and the newlyweds, through his significant position in their lives. The focus should be to highlight the relationship of the newlyweds rather than the relationship between the best man and groom.
A Guide to Wedding Reception Toasts
Who Gives a Speech at a Wedding Reception?
How to Write a Wedding Toast
Tips for the Father of the Bride Speech
How to Write a Best Man Toast
Advice for the Maid of Honor Speech
What to Know About a Newlywed Toast
Public Speaking Experts' Wedding Speech Tips
60 Quotes to Use for Your Wedding Toast
Everything to Know About Your Groom Speech: Tips, Advice, and Examples
How to Write a Wedding Toast: Examples, Tips, and Advice
How to Write a Sister-of-the-Groom Speech
36 Funny Wedding Toasts and Speeches That'll Get the Whole Room Laughing
How to Write a Father of the Bride Speech
How to Write a Maid of Honor Speech
When Should Speeches Take Place During the Wedding Reception?
Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Champagne Toasts
6 Simple Tips for Delivering an Amazing Best Man Speech
Mother-of-the-Bride Speech Examples and Writing Tips
The Most Memorable TV and Movie Best Man Wedding Speeches of All Time
Our Favorite Unique Maid of Honor Speech Ideas
The Complete Guide to Father-of-the-Bride Duties
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Public Speaking Experts Share Their Top Tips for Giving an Amazing Wedding Speech
Speech by Chris and Rich
Hello, We used your site to help guide us writing a joint best man speech. So in return ours is attached We presented it on saturday and went down a storm. Cheers
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Speech Type: Best man Speech Creator: Chris and Rich Speech Date: May2007 Rich: Ladies and gentlemen, Bride & Groom. We would like to thank everyone for being here on this special day for Hannah and Chris
Chris: For those who don't know us….My name is Chris
Rich: And I'm Rich
Chris: Before we continue, we would like to point out to those who maybe feeling the effects of the alcohol already, there are two best men standing up here and you are not seeing double.
Rich: We are both unaccustomed to public speaking and have been fairly nervous before today's speeches, in fact the last time we were this nervous was when we were waiting for Chris to get a round in!
Chris: It is both a privilege and pleasure to also speak on behalf of the bridesmaids. And I'm sure they would like to thank Chris for his kind words and gifts. We have to say that they look wonderful and have done an excellent job today. We would also like to thank the Ushers who have been a great help in ensuring that the day has run smoothly.
Furthermore, I'm sure you will all agree that Hannah is looking absolutely stunning
Rich: and Chris, well you just look absolutely stunned.
Chris: Most importantly, we would like to congratulate the happy couple, Hannah and Chris, because all of us here who have been lucky enough to spend time in their company know what a great couple they are, perfectly complementing one another.
Rich: In preparation for this, we heard is it traditional to embarrass the groom in the best man speech, but then we thought where's the challenge in that? Chris is perfectly able to embarrass himself all on his own
Chris: Apparently the most important thing we had to do was make sure Chris got to the church on time, looking presentable, clean-cut and sober. Given what we had to work with, I don't think we did a bad job – you scrubbed up nicely today mate, it's surprising what a flannel and a bar of soap can do.
Rich: Chris was born in 1978. Believe it or not that was also the year that: The Smurfs appeared on TV for the first time. And just 2 weeks after he was born family planning was made available on the NHS. Make of that what you will
Chris: We first met Chris one inebriated NYE, at a night club in Leeds, since then have been friends, for over 6 years now, usually partners in crime, and today.… honored and proud to be Chris's Best Men. Rich: Hannah first set eyes on Chris, in a night club in London. Chris: And she had just recently started working for Virgin.
Rich: We think that Chris misheard this and thought he was in for a challenge.
Chris: Chris lived in Nottingham, Hannah lived in Reigate.
Rich: Quite a distance from one another, I'm sure you will agree.
Chris: But this did not stop love from blossoming.
Rich: But it did mean Chris had to fork out more money on petrol.
Chris: Wow, it must have been love.
Rich: We had a look into Chris's past, to see what interesting stories we could find.
Chris: When we made our initial enquiries with our various sources, we noticed a pattern starting to emerge.
Rich: We like to call this pattern the Yorkshire Man Trait.
Chris: The YMT is strong with this one.
Rich: It is basically a pattern of behaviour that makes people spend as little money as possible, while still having the maximum fun and excitement.
Chris: For example, Chris went to a football match, in Birmingham with his friends. Unfortunately, he had mis-read the time table and therefore missed the last train home. He only had 㿊 left.
Rich: So, what did Chris do to get himself out of this situation? Call a friend? Book himself into a cheap hotel? No..
Chris: He spent 㾶 on entrance to a Strip club and the other half on beer and a private dance.
Rich: Money well spent if you ask me.
Chris: Well…yes, but this only gave him refuge until 3am.
Rich: He then spent the rest of that night trying to find warm shelter in Photo booths. But he was moved several times and had to spend the rest of the night in the company of full time vagrants in shop doorways.
Chris: On the theme of feeling like a homeless person, we understand that Chris, during his student days, didn't like the thought of having to pay for central heating.
Rich: We take it Chris liked having his own weather system in his bedroom, looking up, from his bed, wearing hooded top, gloves, 3 pairs of socks and a hot water bottle.
Chris: When friends called to visit, they used to gauge how cold it was by measuring the thickness of the fog that had accumulated around the ceiling.
Rich: But Chris is older and wiser now…
Chris: And to prove this he has offered to buy all of the drinks for the rest of the evening. ….cheers mate
Rich: I for one will be taking home a complimentary magnum of champagne.
Rich: Scraggs and Raggs as Hannah and Chris like to be known as.…
Chris: We still don't know which one is which…
Rich: …..make a perfect couple. With Hannah's almost unhealthy obsession with tidying and cleaning, mopping and washing..
Chris: And Chris's unnerving ability to put up with it.
Rich: Hannah, I really must say that you look absolutely beautiful today and it kills me to say this as your older, better looking brother.
Chris: And ……..Chris, we have had some excellent times together over the years, and I know that we will continue to do so in the future
Rich: Our last duty today is the toast, so may you all be upstanding. May your love be modern enough to survive the times and old fashioned enough to last forever.
Chris/Rich To the Bride and Groom. [TOAST GLASSES]
To the Bride and Groom!
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How to write a joint wedding speech
If you have read my blog before, you’ll know I love a wedding that breaks the mould a little! So why not play by your own rules, and share the fun with a joint wedding speech? If you read most guides on how to write a speech, they will tell you how the Groom should thank both parents, say how beautiful the bridesmaids look and how much he loves the Bride. But why should this responsibility all fall to the Groom and why should they get to speak on behalf of their partner? And what if your partnership doesn’t feature a Groom at all?
This is where having a joint wedding speech can help take the pressure off one person. It shows that you’re a team, on each other’s side and is a lot of fun to write together, especially if you’ve also been writing your own vows . So read on for my top tips on how to write a joint speech for double the joy!
Split the content
…but not the narrative! As both of you are giving the speech make sure you each have a similar amount to say. Decide who will open, what you will each cover and who will close. But you’ll want to keep the tone and feel of each part the same, so it flows and you are supporting each other. Maybe one of you could add a little extra point to the other person’s anecdote. You could choose one of you to do the first draft or write your sections separately and then tweak them so they flow together. If you’d like to keep your words about each other a surprise, then write those secretly and add them to the end of the speech.
When planning your joint wedding speech, remember to make it personal. Avoid over-used words for your other half and instead talk about the bones of them, what makes them so unique? So instead of saying they make you laugh, think about why – is it because they make-up their own song lyrics? Or instead of saying they look beautiful, again think about the why – is it because they have an inner kindness that draws people in? When you’re thanking your friends and family, think about the meaningful contributions they have made to your life, and the things you have in common that mean you connect so well. Did they encourage you to change careers, or do you have a mutual love of 90’s Britpop?!
I don’t know about you, but being told to be funny is enough to make me quiver in fear! So instead of thinking about humour as jokes and puns, think about making witty observations instead. Like how you can set an alarm by your sister as she’s so organised, or how your partner likes to buy identical green jumpers. Don’t be afraid to poke fun at yourself too if it is something you are well known for among your friends, like going to bed early or disliking walks.
Bounce off each other
Make the most of being up there together with little interactions like a well-timed eye roll or little head shake. You could tell the story of how you met from your own points of view and find humour in the differences (was it love at first site for one of you, while the other was more interested in getting a round in)?!
Don’t forget the practicalities. If you’re doing a joint wedding speech you’ll need two mics, so make sure you mention this to your venue. Although there is double the fun, try not to make your speech double the length! A good rule of thumb is 8-10mins. And finally, if you’d like to add even more fun, why not keep your joint speech a secret from guests. It’s just different enough for everyone to be delighted when the two of you rock up to take the ‘stage’!
If you found these tips helpful, why not pin this post for next time you’re working on your speech!
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How to Give an Awesome Joint Wedding Speech
Doing a combined speech with someone else can really help to take the pressure off you and ease your stage fright.
Photo: Pasha Belman Photography
If the thought of having to give a speech at your friend’s wedding is enough to make you want to skip the day altogether, a great option to consider is a joint speech.
Doing a combined speech with someone else can really help to take the pressure off you and ease your stage fright. Joint speeches are also a great option for larger wedding parties because it gives more people an opportunity to speak on the big day! It can be hard for the wedding couple to choose between say a sibling or a best friend to give a speech, so asking them to team up will help everyone feel included and valued. Great joint speech combos include siblings, the mother and father of a bride or groom, the maid of honor and the best man, two wedding party members, or other combos. If you’re stepping up to the mic with a partner for an upcoming wedding, check out our top tips for writing an awesome joint wedding speech. Explain why you’re doing a joint speech This point depends on the reason you’re giving a joint speech. If it’s because one or both of the speakers is shy and terrified of speaking alone, it’s best not to get into that. However, if there is a funny or significant connection between the two speech givers, explaining it can really add to your speech. Tell your own stories Regardless of the reason for giving a joint speech, the bride or groom still know you separately and you each want to honour your unique relationship. Take turns telling a special story that showcases what the bride/groom means to each of you individually. Tell a combined story In addition to your own individual stories, it’s nice to add a combine story - one that involves both speakers and the bride/groom. This is a great why to tie everything together.
Keep it short Just because there are two of you up there, doesn’t mean you get double the length of a normal wedding speech - the wedding attendees’ attention spans are the same regardless of the number of people giving the speech!
Don’t be corny Okay, some level of corniness is to be expected (this is a wedding speech after all!), but you want to keep it to a minimum and steer towards heart felt rather than sappy. A joint speech has the potential to be cornier than a single speech, so be careful here. Introduce yourselves rather than introducing each other, don’t finished each others sentences, and don’t get carried away with too much banter between the two of you. Keep the focus on the bride/groom As much as you do want to put together a great speech, remember that the focus should be on the people getting married, not on you and your speech partner’s great performance. Don’t go into any stories that only involve the two of you and exclude the person who the speech is really meant to be about. Be Creative Having two people speaking is a great opportunity to get creative and put together a really fun speech! While speaking on your own can be nerve wrecking, having someone else up there with you can help both of you to relax and open up. Set each other up for jokes, write a song, tell two perspectives on the same story, etc. Have fun with it! Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to an awesome joint speech. Remember to keep it short, focus on the bride/groom, and have fun with your co-speaker!
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7 Tips for Giving a Joint Wedding Speech
Need help penning a joint wedding speech? Follow these rules and you should have no trouble coming up with something amazing.
Opting to give your wedding toast with your partner in crime? Awesome! Joint wedding speeches are amazing because they cut down the time dedicated to toasts (there can be a lot to get through, especially with bigger groups) and they help make the speakers less nervous. However, they can be a little difficult to write and deliver. Whether you’re giving a best man and maid of honor speech together, teaming up with another bridesmaid/usher or delivering a joint bride and groom speech, we've got some helpful tips for you.
Here are a few tips for giving a joint wedding speech.
We’ve all had that horrible school experience where you’re assigned a group project and one partner just doesn’t pitch in. This should not be the case with your joint wedding speech . Dedicate a day to penning it together and then get together a few times before the big day to practice. This will ensure that everything goes off without a hitch.
Okay, so the guests might be a little confused as to why two people are walking up to the mic - after all, wedding speeches are typically done solo. So, start by introducing yourselves and explaining why the two of you are giving the toast as a duo. Maybe the two of you are like PB and chocolate? Awesome alone, but better together. Or perhaps you’re just nervous? Admit that the two of you are a little shy, so you’ve decided to perform as a pair. It’ll make you more relatable and your audience more sympathetic if you flub a line or two.
Share solo stories
Even though you’re doing a joint wedding speech, feel free to tell stories that don’t involve each other. You probably have a few hilarious and heartwarming tales about your one-on-one relationship with the bride or groom, and this is the perfect time to share them. Remember, you’ll want to keep these anecdotes short and sweet so that one of you isn’t hogging the mic for the majority of your toast.
Tell a story together
You may also want to tell a tale that involves both of you as well as the bride or groom. If the three of you are like Harry, Ron and Hermione - basically inseparable - you’ve probably got a ton of material to work with. Pick a story that really stands out and tell it together. This will help remind your audience why you’ve chosen to give the speech together instead of separately.
Time it out
Unfortunately, you get to double your speech time because there are two of you. I know, I know, it seems unfair, but the guests aren’t there to hear your speech, they’re there to celebrate the happy couple. If you take ten minutes to tell your stories, you’re probably going to be met with a few yawns, so it’s best to keep things short and sweet. Three to five minutes is standard, so go with that.
Don’t be total cheeseballs
It’s easy to make a joint wedding speech super cheesy, so try your best not to fall into the trap. Don’t trade off saying sentences one after the other, finish each other's lines or lean heavily on inside jokes that only the two of you know. You want your wedding speech to be adorable, not annoying.
Shine the spotlight on your BFF
This speech isn’t about you, it’s about your bestie - so shine the spotlight on them. It’s easy to get carried away playing off of each other, but you don’t want your banter to get the best of you. If you’re telling a story about the three of you, focus on the bride or groom’s role, not yours. You should be supporting characters and they should be the star.
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