Destination Celebrant

How to Write, Practice and Deliver your
best man speech

Whether you’re a first-time Best Man or looking for some Best Man Speech Tips to refine your speech, this step-by-step Best Man Speech guide will help you create a memorable and heartfelt speech. We’ll cover everything from brainstorming ideas to delivering your speech with confidence.

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This PDF covers all the steps on how to write a best man speech, how to practice your best man speech and how to deliver your best man speech with confidence and some bullet points to jog your memory.

How to Write a Best Man Speech in 5 Simple Steps

Transcript

Hello! You’re probably here cos you’re a bit stressed about your best man speech.

Don’t worry. In this video, I’ll give you a fun and easy way to write your speech, from start to finish, in just 5-steps.

I’m Prit by the way. I’m a wedding MC and celebrant – or officiant if you’re in the States – and having heard a lot of wedding speeches. Some good and some really bad, I felt compelled to make this video, so you nail your speech and don’t end up on the really bad pile!

Oh the way, if you’re a Best Woman, this video is for you too!

OK, here we go…

The first mistake I see a lot of Best Men make is to start Googling. Now that’s not a bad thing in and of itself – after all, that’s probably how you found this video. But there’s a lot of conflicting information out there that can really throw you off. Like do you have to thank the other speakers and say how beautiful the bridesmaids look? Or do avoid giving thanks altogether, because, by the time you speak, it’s been done to death? Should your speech be 5 mins absolute max or 10 mins?. So instead of going down the Google rabbit hole and getting more and more confused here’s a step by step way to avoid confusion and get crystal clear on how to write your speech and what to include.

Step Number 1 – and this is arguably the most important step that I’ve not seen mentioned anywhere else: Talk to the Couple.

Before you even start writing your speech, find out what the groom and bride are expecting you to do. 

Like do they want a full speech or just a toast? And if it is a speech, how long should it be max? For all you know, the couple have got 4 or 5 speeches lined up and they might want to keep them super short.

When will you give the speech – are you on first, before dinner when people are on their first cocktail and really listening or the very last speech, after dinner when everyone is full and drunk and already sat through half an hour of speeches? Or maybe the speech is not even during the reception, but instead at the rehearsal dinner. 

Next, are you doing it on your own or with another best man? And if there’s someone else, does the couple want a joint speech or does one of you do the speech and the other one organises the stag do – aka bachelor party?

That by the way can be such a good option, if – like a lot of people – you’re absolutely terrified of public speaking and, even though the wedding’s next year, you’re already losing sleep over it. So if you’re the only Best Man, there’s really no shame in asking the groom to add another. Because at the end of the day, the groom chose you because of who you are and what you mean to him and not because he needs you to give a speech. So, please do yourself a favour and be open and honest with the groom about what you actually WANT to do and feel comfortable doing.

In short, find out what the couple wants before you potentially waste a lot of time and energy perfecting a 10-minute comedy roasting when all you need is a 1-minute toast!

Step 2 : Outline your speech. In other words, what’s the beginning, middle and end? So, it’s actually really simple. You introduce yourself (that’s the beginning), you tell a story about the groom (that’s the middle and biggest part) and then you tell a little story about the couple and finally, a toast. That’s it!

And my advice is no longer than 10 minutes, for the whole speech. 

I’d say about 30 seconds for the intro, 6 mins max. for your story and 30 seconds for your toast. Which means shoot for max. 7 minutes. Because that way, you’ve got a bit of buffer so you can talk at a nice relaxed pace, that should be a bit slower than how you speak in conversation and it also means you’ve built in some room for natural pauses and of course a bit of laughter. 

And by the way: unless the couple have asked you, you don’t need to thank anyone in your intro because between them and their parents, they’ll already have that well covered. And that’s it. Just 4 parts. Your intro, story about the groom, story about the couple, and a toast. There you go, that was outlining your speech. See, I’ve even done this step for you!

Step 3: Writing your intro. It’s unlikely that everyone in the room will know you, so always begin with a quick intro of who you are and how you know the groom. The best intros are short and simple – so even if you just say “Hi everyone! For those who don’t know me, I’m Prit, Jai’s little brother”, that’s honestly fine. There’s really no pressure to make it funny, but it is your first opportunity to break the ice and get your first little laugh in, so instead, I could say “Hi everyone! For those who don’t know me, I’m Prit, Jai’s little brother and Best Man…or as mum calls me, the Best Son.” 

That’s just a silly example, but whatever you say – and I can’t stress this enough – it’s super important that the groom sees the funny side. 

For example, don’t make jokes about him being short, if he’s massively insecure about his height. When it comes to making fun of the groom, the golden rule is Tease. Don’t insult. Despite what you may have heard about Best Man speeches, your goal is to make the groom feel good, not to embarrass the hell out of him in front of his bride and all his family. 

Step 4: Writing your story. In 2 parts. The first part is the story about the groom. Let’s call that Part 4a. Now remember this is the main bit of your speech and so you want to spend most of your time and energy on this part. But the question is, what do you actually say? Well, remember what I said earlier. The groom chose you as his best man because of who you are and what you mean to him. So just turn that around. Talk about the person he is and what he means to you. 

That should always be the essence of any Best Man speech. But do it in the form of a story. So, how do you actually do that? Well, the easiest way to get started is to ask yourself some specific questions. Start with positive stuff, like “what do I admire about him? What makes me proud of him?” 

But also ask “what bugs me about him?”, “what are the funniest things about him?” (Again with that last one, make sure he can actually laugh about it AND that it’s family-friendly! A good test for that is: Ask yourself, would I share this with my mum or my gran? If the answer’s no, don’t include it!) 

Here’s one example that ties all of this together, from when I was Best Man for my best friend. Which went something like this…

“One thing I’ve always admired about Tom is his creativity and ambition. But sometimes he can get a little bit carried away. One of those times was on the stag do. All 10 of us stayed in a nice little country cottage with a big garden, for the weekend. So we thought how can we make best use of that space? Now we all know Tom’s a bit of a wanna be music producer and film director, so we thought it’d be funny to make a tacky little zero-budget music video and got him to direct it. Bear in mind we told him this on the first night we got there and we were shooting the next morning. So we’re all sitting around with a few beers and brainstorming some ideas. When I look down at Tom’s pad, and he’d actually written the words “lighting, fire, pyrotechnics”, question mark!” 

Ok cut! Let’s now pick apart what I just said. 

Before I wrote this, I asked myself “what do I admire about Tom?” So, two things I admire are his creativity and ambition. So I literally spelled that out at the start of the story. One thing I’ve always admired about Tom is his creativity and ambition”. 

I also asked myself “what bugs me about him?” And two things that bugged me were how he’d take things way too far and overthink everything. Hence the next line“But sometimes he can get a little bit carried away”.

Now at this point, all I’ve done is introduce his creativity, ambition and tendency to get carried away. I now need to bring it all to life in a story. So my next line was“One of those times was on the stag do”.

Now, generally I wouldn’t share things from the stag do or bachelor party but this one happened to pass the granny test! And then obviously, I told the story about the music video, to bring out the fact that he’s creative, and finally ended with the punchline “lighting, fire, pyrotechnics!” 

To illustrate his ridiculous level of ambition and how carried away he can get.

There you go. That’s one way to tell your story, by focusing on his qualities. Another way is to start from when you first met. So you could ask yourself…

When did we meet?  What was my first impression?  What’s my earliest memory of him?”

And when you’re answering them, always have in mind what does my answer say about him as a person? For example, you could say: I first met Tom, when we were 19 years old, in a shared flat at uni. And at that time, his idea of cooking was warming up last night’s cheap, dripping-with-grease kebab in the microwave. But of course, he’s grown up and evolved since then. He now uses an air fryer, which by the way he has an unhealthy attachment to. Honestly, I’m pretty sure I saw his name on the seating plan.

So in that example, what are you saying about him? You’re saying that cooking’s not exactly his thing, he loves fast food and he’s obsessed with his air fryer. But you’re bringing it out in a funny story, with details and specifics that are personal to him. When you’re telling your story, another golden rule: Be specific. It’s the specifics that he and the guests will connect with, especially when they’re personal – so in this example, people will already know about his air fryer obsession, which makes it even funnier, because they feel like they’re in on the joke. 

And then after that, you just carry on down the timeline and include stuff about his work life, family life or whatever, until you get to the present day. And that’s your story about the groom – Step 4a – done.

Which brings us to Step 4b: Writing your story about the couple. Now obviously so far, you’ve only talked about the groom, so somehow you need to transition to the couple. How do you do that? 

Again, ask yourself some specific questions, this time about the couple, but still keep the focus on him. So for example:

How did you know he’d want to marry her?

Let’s say he was super picky and particular about girls and she happened to fit the bill perfectly. 

And another question could be:

How has he changed, for the better, because of her?

Maybe he was a bit boring and conventional before, and she’s brought out his wild adventurous side. There, now you’ve got something to work with and to link to, from the groom’s story. 

So how do you do that? Well, for example let’s take the music video I spoke about earlier – with the “lighting, fire, pyrotechnics”. After that part, I could say:

And that ridiculous level of ambition didn’t stop at music videos. It included girls too. Tom’s been holding out for Mrs Right since day one. One of those magical made-up girls that sounded too good to be true. Until of course Stacey came along… who not only magically ticked all the boxes, but seemed to have a magical effect on him. As you know, Tom was always Mr. Conventional and Play-it-Safe, with his little side parting, big retirement plan and let’s not forget highly reliable Lexus. But when Stacey came along, I couldn’t believe he actuallyquit his job, went to live in New Zealand for two years, in a 20-year old camper van – and came back as Tommy-the-happy-hippy; so I knew he’d either gone mad or fallen madly in love. Turns out it was a bit of both.  

There you go. Now you’ve written your story about the groom and about the couple. And now all that’s left is the toast.

Which brings us to Step 5: Writing your toast. As I said, you want to keep this part super short and simple, about 30 seconds max. And this is usually when you say something genuinely nice and touching about the groom, which means ideally without any jokes. 

So what could you actually say and how do you transition from the couple’s story? Well, the last line of that story was “I knew he’d either gone mad or fallen madly in love. Turns out it was a bit of both”.

And then you could say “And, Stacey, I’ve honestly never seen him this happy before. You’re the best partner he could’ve asked for and Tom, you’re the best best friend I could’ve asked for. From the bottom of my heart, congratulations, Mr & Mrs Smith!” 

And that’s a wrap! Everything you need to know about writing your speech in 5 easy steps.

If this video was helpful please hit the like button, and if you have any specific questions, or if there’s something you’re stuck on and you’d like help with, please leave a comment.

In the next video: I’m gonna share some easy and super effective ways to practice your speech, including a stupidly simple hack to knowing it inside out, without putting in hours of work.

How to Practice Your Best Man Speech
the Smart Way

Transcript

Hello again! If you’ve already written your Best Man speech, you’re in the right place! If you haven’t then please go watch my first video and come back when you’re ready.

OK. So first of all well done on writing your speech. You’ve done the hardest part.

Now comes the really fun part – practicing it. In this video, I’m gonna share some super easy and effective ways to practice, including a stupidly simple hack that’ll have you knowing your speech inside out, with almost no effort. And in a matter of days, not weeks. 

But to get there, there’s a few simple steps you need to take first.

Step 1: Read it out loud from start to finish and time yourself. That’s it. And try to avoid editing and tweaking for now, because the first thing you wanna test is how long it is. So don’t waste time on perfecting bits that you might end up taking out, cos your speech is too long. 

By this point, you should already know how long you’ve got on the night. Which, depending on how many speeches there are, can be as little as 3 or 4 minutes. And remember, if you haven’t been given a time limit, you want it to be 10 minutes max, so shoot for 7 minutes to allow a few minutes buffer. Also remember to speak at a natural pace that should be slightly slower than when you’re in conversation. No one wants to hear a rushed speech and I’m sure you don’t wanna feel rushed either. 

So once you’ve timed it, you’ll know how close or far you are to your target. Now you don’t have to make a science out of it. So if you’re a bit over that’s fine. A bit under is even better! But if you’re massively over, you’ll definitely need to cut it down. So the question is, what do you take out? 

I would strongly advise you read it to a trusted “outsider” who’ll give you honest and constructive feedback. Don’t just choose someone who’s just gonna tell you it’s great, well done. 

And don’t just ask, what do you think? Ask specific questions like: Is it clear, i.e. do you get it or is anything confusing? 

Do you get stuck on any words or phrasings and have stopped listening, or do you think it’s funny? 

Sometimes you really just had to be there. So what’s hilarious to you, might not be to others no matter how clearly you describe it.

And as a tip: While you’re reading through it, out loud, pay attention to how it feels to you. 

Does it feel natural when the words come out of your mouth, or does it feel a bit clunky and awkward. If you’re like me you’ll find yourself naturally going off script a bit and saying things slightly differently to how you’ve written them. Which is absolutely normal, cos most of us don’t write the way we speak. So as a tip: pay attention to that and rephrase things to match the way you naturally speak. 

Also, you might find you’re running out of breath, or getting bored or lost by your own sentence. Because it’s too long. So again, just pay attention to that and try to say the same thing in fewer words. Or at least break up those long sentences.

Step 2: Take on board the feedback and update your speech and test it out again until you get it right. A little tip: Why not use a new person or people, to give you even more validation! Another tip: Record yourself. I know you might hate listening to your own voice but it’s the closest you’ll get to hearing what people will hear on the day. Which is always different to how it sounds in your head. 

Step 3: Make your final tweaks. Once you’ve had all your feedback and made all your updates, it’s time for your final touches and polishes, until you’re really happy with it. And then it’s time to hit save and don’t touch it. Because you’re then gonna practice the hell out of it. So you don’t wanna learn it really well and then be making major changes. Because then it can be hard to unlearn all the old stuff that you’ve now changed.

OK now you’re happy with your speech, it’s time to practice. Now of course, one of the main reasons you practice is to engrain your speech in your head, so it flows naturally on the day and you’re not overly relying on your notes. 

You might think that’ll take ages, especially if it’s 10 minutes long, 

so here’s a little hack that’ll save you tons of time and effort.

Record it and listen to it, regularly. Just like a song. So on your morning jogs, on your drive to work, at bedtime, you just need to press play and listen. That’s it.

OK so let’s get back on track. Once you’ve engrained your speech in your head, it’s time to move on to the really practical stuff. 

Which brings me to the next golden rule: Practice your speech the way you’ll do it on the day. In other words, do you want your whole speech written out, or do you prefer to have little cue cards. Personally, I wouldn’t read from your phone, because it just doesn’t look great in my opinion. And yes, of course you could be super brave and ambitious and try to memorise the entire thing! But honestly, don’t do that to yourself. It’s a wedding – not the Oscars – so it’s normal and expected to have something written down.

When I did my best man speeches, I used cue cards, which worked great for me. But of course do what works best for you. My advice: If you’re new to giving speeches then I’d recommend having the whole thing written out. 

But if you do use cue cards, be smart about what you write on them. They should only include key prompts that will jog your memory and certain key phrases, where it’s important you get the right words in the right order – like punchlines or quotes for example. 

Whatever you decide, make sure you practice until you know it inside out. Because when you’re stood up giving your speech, you don’t wanna be staring at your piece of paper or cue cards the whole time. 

Now let’s talk about your mic. Now if you don’t have your own mic at home, like most people, just practice using a hairbrush or deodorant bottle or something. You might feel silly, but when you’re nervous on the day, these little things can feel distracting and weird if you’re not used to it.

Now one final note: it can be really easy to become obsessed with your speech and build it up in your mind into something huge and all-important that you cannot afford to mess up. 

So here’s a little exercise that’ll help you keep things in perspective. 

Write down 3 things that, in comparison, make your speech feel insignificant. For example:

a Britain’s Got Talent audition that will either make or break your comedy career

performing brain surgery

the vastness of the Universe

Whatever you come up with, it’s gotta make your wedding speech feel tiny and insignificant. And from now on, whenever you think about giving your speech and your heart starts racing, take a deep breath and instead think about the 3 things you wrote on your list.   

And well, that’s it from me. Happy practicing. 

If this video was helpful please hit the like button, and if you have any specific questions, or if there’s something you’re stuck on and you’d like help with, please leave a comment.

In the next video: I’m gonna share 6 essential things when it comes to delivering your speech, on the day. 

How to Deliver Your Best Man Speech
with confidence

Transcript

Hello! If you’re watching this video, it means you’ve written your Best Man speech, you’ve practiced it and you’re ready for the big day. Or are you? If you’re still feeling a bit nervous, don’t worry. 

In this video, I’m gonna share 6 essential things to do on the wedding day, so when it’s time to give your speech – you feel confident and focused.

First of all – and this is probably the most important point: Enjoy yourself. It’s the big day so you’re there to catch up with your friends, enjoy some good food and celebrate the couple. Not to worry about your speech from the second you arrive. I know what it’s like when you’re trying to have a conversation, but instead of listening, you’re practicing your lines in your head for the billionth time! Which only stresses you out even more. Remember, by this point you know your speech inside out, and you’ve got your notes to lean back on, so you don’t need to do that. 

But if doing that makes you feel better, then my advice: Do it just before the speeches kick off. Go get some fresh air, go to the bathroom and take one last look at your notes. Otherwise, relax and have a good time!

Second of all: Don’t get drunk! Now there’s nothing wrong with having one drink to take the edge off. I’d even recommend it, but only if you can handle it. Be honest. If you’re a lightweight, stick to soft drinks until after the speech. And during the speech, have a glass of water handy, to sip on in case your throat dries up. 

Thirdly: LISTEN to the other speeches – Make sure you’re paying attention and – again – not just going through your lines in your head. Because, you never know, there may be something you want to spontaneously respond to in your speech or make a joke about. Or you might even find that someone else “stole” your joke or story. But don’t worry. If that does happen, then you’ve got options. If it’s just a little joke, you could probably do without it, or even if you keep it in – people will probably still laugh. Or if they don’t, and you’re feeling brave, you could even say “I knew I should’ve done my speech first” or “I knew Dave would steal all my jokes”. 

Or if it’s a long anecdote, then ideally skip that part of your speech. If you feel you can, without the whole thing falling apart. If you can’t, so be it. Honestly, what does it really matter anyway!Remember, in the last video, you even wrote down 3 things that, in comparison, make your speech seem insignificant. So actually, this would be the perfect time to remember those  things, to keep things in perspective.    

Ok so that’s before the speech. Now let’s talk about the speech itself. Imagine you’ve just been passed the mic or invited up to the podium and you’re about to begin. 

Chances are people will be applauding and cheering, before you’ve even opened your mouth. So take a few seconds to enjoy it, smile and then begin. Now when you’re nervous, there’s a tendency to rush. 

Which brings me on to the fourth point: Take your time. As I said in my previous video, speak clearly and at a natural, relaxed pace. Just the way you practiced it! And take little pauses to breathe, to look around, to sip your water. That’s not only a great way to stay calm but, if you’ve got cue cards, it also gives you plenty of time to remember your next line. 

And if your mind does go blank – it can happen – my advice is: Just skip that bit and go to your next card. Chances are people won’t notice, because only you know your speech in that much detail. 

Now during your speech, people are people, and not everyone will be paying attention. So you might see people on their phones, tending to their kids. Whatever it is, don’t take it personally and just carry on. 

There’ll always be at least one person who’s looking at you and smiling the whole time – besides the bride and groom. 

So the fifth point: Focus on the smiling people! Yes, of course look around the room as well, but if you focus on them, you won’t feel distracted. And by focus, I mean make eye contact and of course smile back!

Speaking of smiling, of course, it’s an emotional day so you might also see people crying, which could set you off as well. Or the other way around!

So, the sixth and final point: Let yourself cry. If you do start crying, it’s fine. In fact, it can work in your favour, because then people will emotionally connect to you and your speech even more. 

Ok, there you go! That was the third and final video, which means you’re all set for the wedding. All that’s left to say is good luck with your speech – not that you’ll need it – and remember ENJOY yourself! 

As always, if you found this video helpful please hit the like button. And I’d love to know how your speech went, so drop me a comment or email. I’d also love to know which parts of this 3-video series you found the most helpful, or maybe what you’d change or what was missing for you.

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