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Best Man Speech: Crafting the Perfect Toast

Mammoth Sniper Challenge
Mammoth Sniper Challenge
May 10, 2017
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You've just been bestowed the greatest honor of brohood: getting to deliver the best man's speech at your buddy's wedding. Short of your own proposal, this is the most important wedding-related statement you ever make. And unlike your proposal, you will deliver it in front of hundreds of people all expecting you to perfectly balance heartfelt emotion and side-splitting humor.The stakes are high my friend.But never fear because below is your ultimate guide to writing the perfect best man's speech. Audiences will laugh and cry and applaud you at the end. And really, isn't shining in your time in the spotlight what it's really about anyway?

best man speech brainstorm

1. Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

The worst possible thing you can do is deliver a boring speech. A nervously shaking best man elicits empathy from an audience. A best man who forgets his speech improvises one even more heartfelt in the moment. Even a drunk best man blabbering away with an incoherent speech at least gives the audiences something to talk about.But a boring speech is the worst offense possible. To avoid the horrors of horrors, you must start with an effective brainstorming session. You can summon your inner Ernest Hemingway and pour yourself a drink to get the creative juices flowing. After all, on the subject of writing and drinking he famously remarked, "what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whiskey?"Start brainstorming about two months before the wedding. If you scoff at long-term planning, keep in mind the closer the wedding gets the more your best man duties pile on. And if you just laughed at the middle school humor wordplay of a pile of duties, you really should start planning now. Your humor level needs refinement before you can speak in front of the bride's nana.You can use guided questions to get those gears turning, such as

  • how would you describe the groom before and after knowing the bride?
  • how did the groom tell you about the bride?
  • when did you realize the bride was "the one" for the groom?
  • do you have any marriage advice?
  • what are some funny stories that are audience appropriate (ie not "well I guess you had to be there, but I promise it was funny" and not "you made grandmother blush and parents cover their innocent children's ears")
best man speech

2. Build Off of this Easy Structure

A great wedding toast follows a simple structure. Start off by introducing who you are. As popular as you may think you are, there are undoubtedly third cousins twice removed in attendance who have never seen you before in their lives. You can identify yourself as "the groom's childhood best friend" or "the groom's college roommate" or whatever moniker fits best to articulate your relationship with the groom.Appeal to etiquette (you are a gentleman after all) and thank everyone for coming. Mention how beautiful the bride looks and what a lovely person she is. Do this because it is true. And do this because it warms up the audience to you (who can't like a guy praising the bride?)Now your speech begins. People expect you to be funny, so start off strong with a solid joke. Get the crowd laughing before transitioning to a touching story or two about the couple. You can reminisce about the time your pal came home beaming after their first date or how he was a nervous wreck the day he proposed. The idea is to use a narrative to comment on your buddy and the nature of his relationship.End with a heartwarming line about true love or give some sage advice for marriage. Sure, you can end on a joke again. But most speeches are better when they end with a tug of the ole heartstrings. Lead the guests in a toast to the couples' happiness, sip your champagne, and sit down. Victory is yours.The length of the speech is best kept around five minutes or less. It is enough time for you to deliver a memorable speech without droning on and on and on. Like a good first date, you want to end leaving them wanting more.


3. Practice, Practice, Practice

And no, I don't mean practice like how you did with your trumpet in 5th grade (once to say you did). I mean actually practice. Give the speech a few times in front of an audience. Practicing alone in your room is fine, but giving a speech to another living soul has a completely different feel. If you tend to get stage fright, practicing in front of people who will be at the wedding can be a good trick. You can give them most of your eye contact and feel more at ease. It also helps you make sure your jokes don't fall flat.If you do not give speeches in public often, record yourself with your phone. Play back the video and look for any weird speaking habits, like awkward hand gestures or lip licking. You will want to keep these to a minimum since they distract your audience from your eloquently written speech.It doesn't hurt to have some note cards ready to jog your memory if it goes blank. If you plan on using notes, make sure to practice the speech with the notes. When you practice, you want to replicate the real deal as much as possible and avoid implementing a new component (like adding notes).

wedding best man

4. The Day Of (AKA Showtime)

With your well-written and rehearsed speech, you are ready to shine. Avoid taking too much advantage of an open bar (you don't want to end up slurring your words or getting too sidetracked with buzzed brain brainstorms as you speak). When you speak, focus on enunciation and clarity. If this is an issue for you, try opening your mouth wider than normal to speak. Be sure to give people eye contact. Don't be that person who nervously darts his gaze around the room as if you are watching a drunk hummingbird flap around. Hold a gaze with someone for a phrase or sentence at a time then move on to the next audience member. Keep your voice conversational and be sure to use natural voice inflection. A monotone speaker puts people to sleep. Use your energy and excitement to capture (and keep) the audience's attention.And there you have it! You've just delivered an epic best man's speech. High five bro!

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