How to Write the Best Man Speech

Need help writing your best man speech? The Zola experts are here for you. Read on for our top tips and advice

By Deanna deBara

groomsmen at wedding
Photo by Zola

A wedding is not only an opportunity for two soon-to-be spouses to walk down the aisle, say their “I do’s,” and mark the beginning of their life as a married couple; it’s also an opportunity for the people who love them most to celebrate them and their relationship on their wedding day.

And, if you’re the best man, you’ll have a major part of celebrating the happy couple by giving the best man speech at the wedding reception.

The best man speech is your chance to share your best wishes for the newlyweds with all of the wedding guests in attendance.

But, what exactly should you say on the actual wedding day?

Let’s take a look at how to write a perfect best man speech:

Start Writing Early

Writing a best man speech takes a good amount of thinking, planning, and effort—and you want to make sure that you give yourself plenty of time for that thinking, planning, and effort.

Writing your best man speech the week of (or the day of!) the wedding isn’t an effective strategy. Not only are you going to feel stressed out, but if you write your speech at the last minute, chances are that you’re not going to get everything you want to say down on paper—and, as a result, your best man speech won’t be as heartfelt/touching/funny/composed/(insert desired adjective here) as you’d like it to be.

If you’re going to be the best man, start writing your speech early—as in months before the wedding ceremony. The earlier you start writing, the more time you have to revise, change, and practice—and the more likely it is that your speech will go off without a hitch on the big day.

Consider the Tone of Your Speech

There are a lot of different ways in which you could write a best man speech. You could go straight for the heart and write something emotional and touching; you can infuse a funny story and inside jokes to get a laugh from the couple; or you can keep things simple, straightforward, and to the point.

So, before you start writing, you should spend some time considering which of those vibes you’re going for at the wedding ceremony.

Setting the tone before you start writing your best man speech can help streamline the writing process; for example, if you know you want your speech to feel more emotional and heartfelt, you might consider incorporating memories that illustrate how much the groom and/or couple mean to you. If you want to go with a more humorous tone, you can start by writing out all of your most hilarious stories—and seeing which of them are the most likely to get the couple (and their wedding guests) laughing on the big day. The idea is to make it personal and to say some kind words at your friend’s wedding.

Can you have different tones at different points throughout your speech—such as an overall humorous speech with a few touching moments for good measure? Of course. But, if you want your speech to feel cohesive, you should set a primary tone—and make sure that you carry that tone throughout as you write your speech.

Start Strong

How to Write the Best Man Speech | Zola Photo Credit // OneLove Photography

As the old saying goes, “you only get one chance to make a first impression”—and, for your best man speech, that means you need to capture people’s attention from the very beginning.

Starting your speech strong will ensure that you immediately hook the guests, wedding party, and newly married couple—and that they’ll be engaged and attentive for the rest of your speech.

“Starting strong” can mean a variety of things; depending on your speech’s tone, you might start with a particularly touching story about the couple or a funny story to break the ice. But, whatever you decide to start with, make sure that it grabs the audience’s attention from the get-go, which will make it easier to keep their attention for the rest of your speech.

Incorporate Your Favorite Memories

The groom (or bride) asked you to be the best man for a reason; chances are that you have a long history with plenty of happy, hilarious, and fun memories. And your best man speech is the perfect time to share those memories.

Incorporate at least one or two of your favorite memories with the groom, bride, and/or couple into your speech. Not only does sharing memories in your best man speech work from a storytelling perspective (everyone loves a good story), but it will also remind the couple of how special and important they are to you, which is exactly what a best man speech is supposed to do.

Keep Things Appropriate

Sharing memories in your best man speech is great—as long as those memories are appropriate.

Remember, this is one of the most important days of the newly married couple’s life—and all the most important people in their life (including family, friends, and colleagues) are going to be there, listening to your speech. The last thing you want to do is embarrass them or offend someone they care about.

So, if you have any memories that have even the slightest potential of upsetting or offending anyone (which, as a rule, includes anything involving excessive drinking, drugs, sex, or past relationships), leave it out of your best man speech.

How to Write the Best Man Speech | ZolaPhoto Credit // Our Day Wedding Photography

Write, Practice, and Revise

A key part of writing the best speech is, you know, actually writing it down.

Even if you’re a person who does well speaking on the fly, you want to write your speech from beginning to end. That way, you have more control over what you say, how you say it, and when you say it.

Then, once you have it written down, you’ll want to practice it—and practice it out loud. Reading your speech out loud will help you get a better idea of how it flows, and help you identify any areas that need to be tweaked, adjusted, or revised.

And, just like you want to start writing your speech early, you want to give yourself plenty of time to practice and revise before the big day. Again, the more time you give yourself to work on your best man speech, the more comfortable you’ll be giving the speech at the wedding (and the better it will be as a result).

Writing (and giving) a speech can feel a bit scary for a lot of people. But, now that you know exactly how to write the perfect best man speech, all that’s left to do is get out there and get writing.

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