How Long Should the Best Man Speech Be?

Make sure that your best man speech isn’t too long—or too short with this guide.

By Deanna deBara

best man at wedding
Photo by OneLove Photography

When you’re writing your best man speech for a wedding celebration, there are a lot of things to consider. And, one of the most important factors that you’ll want to consider when writing your speech, is the length.

So, how long should a best man speech be? There’s no exact formula for how long the best man speech should be—but there are definitely tips to keep in mind when you’re figuring out how long (or how not-so-long) you want your speech to run at the wedding reception.

But, what exactly are those factors?

Your Best Man Wedding Speech Shouldn’t Be Too Long

How Long Should the Best Man Speech Be? Photo Credit // Zola

Chances are that there are many things that you want to say to the newly married couple on their wedding day. You may want to share some of your favorite memories with the wedding guests, recount a few funny stories, or talk about how excited you are for the couple as they begin their new life together as a married couple.

But, even though you have a lot to say during the wedding celebration, you don’t want to take a lot of time to say it.

There are a lot of events that need to happen at a wedding—and time can be tight. The last thing you want to do is monopolize 45 minutes of the reception with your wedding speech. Not only does it cut into other important wedding activities (such as cocktail hour or dancing), but it can also be a drag for wedding guests to have to sit through a long wedding toast. Remember—they came to celebrate the newlyweds, not to listen to you talk about the happy couple.

But, It Shouldn’t Be Too Short, Either

If your best man speech goes too long, you risk taking time away from other speakers at the wedding reception—and losing the attention of the wedding guests.

But, just because you don’t want your speech to go too long doesn’t mean that you should go to the other extreme—and give a speech so short that, if the couple blinks, they’ll miss it.

Being the best man is a big deal; the groom (or bride, if you’re on the bride’s side of the wedding party) asked you to be the best man because you’re an important part of their life—and that should be reflected in your best man speech. If you’ve been honored with the best man role, no matter if you’re a brother or a close friend, it’s essential that you prepare a good speech for the big day.

If your speech is too short—as in “a minute or less” short—chances are that you’re not going to be able to say all of the things that you want to say. There’s a high likelihood that your speech is going to feel rushed or impersonal—which could not only cause the guests to become disinterested, but could also hurt the couple’s feelings.

Bottom line? You don’t want your speech to drag on for hours—but you also don’t want it to be over so fast that it barely has a chance to register with the newlyweds and wedding guests.

How Long Should the Best Man Speech Be? Photo Credit // OneLove Photography

What’s the Right Length for Your Best Man Wedding Speech?

As mentioned, there’s no exact formula for how long your best man speech should be on the big day.

But, as a general rule of thumb, when you’re writing your best man speech, you should take what we like to call “the Goldilocks approach” to speech length: not too long, not too short, but just right.

And, just right is somewhere between two and five minutes. Two to five minutes gives you a good amount of time to move through your speech—whether you want to crack a few jokes, share a few stories, or simply propose a toast to the newlyweds. But, it’s not so much time that you’re likely to ramble or have the audience looking at their watches, wondering when you’re going to be done talking. It’s the perfect balance.

One thing to keep in mind as you’re writing your speech, depending on how fast you speak, is what you think two to five minutes worth of words on the page translates to in speaking time. So, if you want to make sure that your speech falls into that “just right” range, make sure that you practice it a few times before the big day.

Nailing the length of your best man speech is important. But, ultimately, the most important aspect of your speech is what you say. So, make sure that you keep your speech to a reasonable length, but also make sure that your speech conveys all the love you want to share with the happy couple.

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