Ash Oliver 8 minute read Updated on 10-21-2021
Table of contents
The Best Man role is one that asks a lot from you – complimenting people, making people laugh, helping the groom, and of course - giving a speech with stories and content appropriate for the audience.
A great Best Man Speech is designed to do one thing – make people happy. Through a combination of entertaining storytelling, humor, compliments, and admiration for the groom and couple – happy is what the audience and the wedding party will be!
If you are like the majority of people, speech writing for weddings is not something you do every day. Yet, it is your role to make people feel appreciated, happy, and entertained on the wedding day, and you can certainly achieve this by delivering a great speech.
Read on to find out how to create the Best Man Speech you’ve been looking for…
"Writing is important, but only as important as the two other priorities – planning and practice. Write with these and you’ll do half the job. Do all three, and you are bound to succeed."
- Ash Oliver, Lead SpeechFormer, SpeechForm
This Best Man Speech Guide will include:
✓ The purpose behind the best man speech
✓ How to prepare for your writing journey
✓ The elements to include within your speech, with examples
✓ What makes a best man speech truly memorable and powerful
Looking for related speeches?
How to write a best man speech
The not-so-good speech
As a lot of attention is paid to the Best Man Speech, perhaps the first thing you need to know is what will make for a not-so-good speech.
#1 – your speech is not aligned with your audience
Before you begin writing your speech, think about the wedding party and guests – who is going to be there? What are they like?
If you expect a very religious or conservative, it may be best not to include coarse language or some of your questionable jokes. Though, this may hit the spot for a bunch of friends in a casual setting.
Start with the foundation of using your own personal style, but be ready to change things to make sure the guests are happy. After all, the speech is for them.
#2 – not entertaining your audience
A wedding speech, and the best man speech in particular, is an entertaining speech. If you don’t consider yourself to be the “funny type”, then we recommend that you get creative and find a few funny stories to tell the wedding party and guests.
Rest assured – this doesn’t mean the entire speech needs to be funny. Rather – a few nicely times jokes and stories will boost the fun-filled spirit of the evening.
#3 – length
After hearing a bunch of best man speeches, we have noticed there tends to be a sweet spot with length. This sits roughly around three to seven minutes, but it depends on your circumstances. A casual, backyard setting may warrant a shorter speech, whereas a formal setting behind a lectern may allow for more time.
A safe bet is to keep it within the four-to-seven-minute mark, or even better – when you rehearse, record it and listen to it. If you feel it is too short or too long, your audience is probably thinking the same thing.
#4 – no clear message
Sometimes, an audience can be left having with no key takeaways that have stuck with them. So, to make sure you’ve delivered a clear message and to nail down a direction you wish to take for your speech, consider creating a theme
Creative writing is hard! So, coming up with a theme (one or two ideas about the overall message you wish to send) not only ensures your message is clear and concise but it also makes it easier to think of what to write about.
This example, taken from our Speech Builder, is a good, brief summary of the approach the Best Man wishes to take with the speech. It focuses on two areas - entertaining with stories of the groom's weird and wonderful moments, and showing admiration and respect through his family relationships and career.
The great speech
So, what does make for a great best man speech? Your speech should hit the following:
Thanking those who have contributed to the day
Give behind-the-scenes insights into the groom and the couple
Compliment and express your admiration and respect for the groom and the couple
Tick these boxes and you’ll do great, but if you also organize it correctly and deliver it really well, you’ll have your audience singing your praises all evening.
Ok great… but now how should I structure the speech?
Creating an easy-to-follow structure
You may choose to have a fluid speech that moves around from topic to topic. If you can do this while keeping your speech easy to follow, then great! However, we have created a super easy structure to understand and allows Best Men to design a speech that hits the key points quickly and easily. All we recommend is – it’s up to you!
Our Speech Builder uses the following sections:
There are no hard-and-fast rules outside of ensuring you consider each of these sections, give people some insight into your relationship, and acknowledge those who need to be recognized.
Some of the best, most interesting speeches start by launching into a comment or a story about the wedding, an opinion, feelings about the bride or groom, or another topic that immediately pulls the audience’s attention towards your speech.
If you get the chance, this is also an excellent opportunity to tell a story about the wedding day that the guests may not know about. These ad hoc stories can be quickly prepared before you have to speak and can be some of the best and most entertaining parts of your speech.
"I was a Best Man at a wedding where the limo broke down literally in the middle of a highway, and another where the groom lost his ring. All worked out OK, and telling the audience our tales of the averted disaster had the audience in stitches!"
Over the years, you have got to know the groom in ways nobody else has. Telling a quick story about how you know the groom and nostalgic memories of your early days together will help to “connect the dots” for your audience – not only highlighting how you are connected to the groom but also adding authenticity to your speech.
This section is also an area to get the audience’s attention, add humor, and show heartfelt appreciation for the groom. It may also teach the audience a little bit about what the groom is like.
Now we can take a step forward from memories of the good old days and talk about the bride, the groom, and their relationship. Here, we have an opportunity to highlight the bride’s and groom’s qualities and continue to give the audience insight into the interesting comings and goings from your perspective.
Remember - a wedding speech is an entertaining speech, so including a funny story is a great way to get some laughs and lighten the mood. Just make sure to keep it appropriate for your audience type.
You could talk about the time you’ve spent with the couple, recall conversations you had with the groom when he first met the bride, or what they’ve said and done to show that they have changed each other for the better.
Do your best to put a funny spin on a compliment to make this part of your speech stronger, more captivating, and more entertaining, like:
The serious stuff
Here, make sure to compliment the wedding party, especially the bride and bridesmaids, about how they look and their efforts towards ensuring the wedding was a success. You also have an opportunity here to add some humor – complimenting the groom and groomsmen on their appearance, but you could also add a joke or a funny story about their wedding preparations.
As for the serious stuff – you could talk about how confident you are in the couple’s future, your admiration of the way they support each other and overcome challenges, reference a quote or a poem that relates to the couple, or simply how much love you can see in their eyes! This will balance out your earlier sections' light-heartedness and continue to amplify the occasion’s spirit of love.
Round off your speech with your best wishes and a toast to the happy couple! Consider expanding your toast to include other popular ways to close your speech:
A quick piece of advice about marriage
A quote and how the quote applies to their relationship
Best wishes for an upcoming, exciting undertaking the bride and groom are embarking upon
Expressing excitement for the good times ahead
When you write your closing section, consider referring back to your theme and using a version of it as the end of your speech. It should neatly capture the overall message of your speech.
Create a speech using more examples like this
Rising to the occasion - your delivery
Your efforts to write your best man speech are not to just “get it done”, but to make the speech enjoyable, memorable, and one that has people approaching you to sing their praises for your speech. After all, you will have put in a lot of effort! There is something special about making an impact on your audience when you thought your sole job was just to “get through it”.
Using professional public speaking techniques is an incredibly powerful way to make a huge impact on your guests, particularly when telling funny stories or other during emotional points in your speech. Examples include:
• Looking at people when talking to them specifically
• Talking at a slower rate and lower pitch when talking about an emotional topic
• Pausing before giving the punchline
• Talking loud at an exciting moment
Give these some thought as you write your speech. Or, when you’ve finished your speech, read it over and explore where you can add these techniques so that you get the most out of your speech. Our professional speechwriters consider these techniques as critical as the words they apply to, which is why they are built into all of our Builder, Shop, and Pro Support content.
And finally – remember to rehearse. The more you develop your speech and rehearse, the greater the impression you will make. Confidence through a well-written speech is great, but using your voice and your body effectively only comes through practice.
For more information, check out our Public Speaking Resources.
That was the final thing you needed to learn in order to perfect your speech. Before we end, let’s summarize.
Include all of the important elements – behind-the-scenes insight and showing your admiration and respect for the bride and couple
Make sure to plan – sections, audience, and theme
Choose an interesting opening and consider telling a story from the day
Talk about both your early years and more recent years knowing the groom
Boost the love-filled spirit of the occasion with a heartfelt comment about the bride or couple
Consider popular ways to close your speech
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
Looking to create your Best Man Speech?
SpeechForm’s free speech builder, template shop, and pro support will help you create a stand-out speech you’ll be proud to deliver
✓ Combine personal stories with professionally written content
✓ Save time, know-how, and stress
✓ Variety of sections and templates
Rate my article
Ash is one of SpeechForm's founders, and applies his experience and knowledge to empower people to create and deliver speeches in a way they never thought they could.