You have been asked to make a speech at your best friend or brothers wedding and the reality of the task has now set in! Don't worry; there are a few tried and tested rules that you need to follow for entertaining your audience and giving successful best man speeches.
Firstly, give yourself plenty of time to plan what you are going to say, rehearse well and, when the time comes this preparation will help you relax! Contrary to commonly held belief, being the best man is an honour, you wont die and it is not a penance! There are however certain things you must say when giving best man speeches and an approximate order for saying them. As most weddings tend to be rather formal, it is hoped that the preceding speakers (the bride's father and the groom) won't steal your thunder.
The best man should firstly thank the groom and the father of the bride for their speeches and then the guests for attending (mention those who have travelled long distances). Then, give a toast to both sets of parents and thank them on behalf of the bride and groom. The next job is to toast the bride and groom themselves and mention what you think of them as a couple before you start to dive into the grooms background to relay that embarrassing story that he wishes you'd forgotten!
Keep in mind what it is that makes you smile about the tale and put some real feeling into it. Talk about the groom, his diversity, accomplishments and goals for the future before you go on to mention a few words about the bride. You don't have to go into much depth (the father does that), but don't forget her! Speak about what you know of her and the positive effect she has had on the groom and what they can achieve together. Finally, toast the bride and groom and wish them well for their future.
To expand, what do you say about the groom? I'm guessing if you have been asked to be the best man that you either grew up with the groom or know them extremely well. In all that time you are bound to have a few anecdotes up your sleeve, but do try not to make them so embarrassing or offensive that you alienate guests you don't know – not everyone will have your sense of humour! It is also a good idea to avoid jokes about ex girlfriends as this could eventually cause bad feeling. Begin at the beginning if you like, child to adolescent to young adult and then perhaps go forward a bit and mention the patter of tiny feet and old age!
A good time for best man speeches is just 5 to 10 minutes as although the guests are fed by now, they will be raring to get up and dance! Expect to be nervous as 99% of people are. It may help if just before the speeches, you excuse yourself and leave the reception for a minute to compose yourself, and as daft as it sounds, blow ‘raspberries' through your lips as this will help relax your jaw! There is no need to look directly at faces, look just above people's heads and glance around the room occasionally. Don't worry about looking at your notes, this will give you confidence and no one really minds.
I hope the above gives you some insight into what is required for the best man speeches but feel free to add what you wish, remembering some toasts will have been covered before you get up. Good luck!