6 rules for the perfect Best Man's speech

Ultimate advice to nail that speech

Best Man's speech

The day has come for your best friend to enter into wedded bliss – and the Best Man’s speech is your chance to congratulate him properly. You may have some cracking stories but they won’t make a memorable speech if you deliver them badly. So, here’s how to order those jokes, stories and heartfelt thank you messages into the perfect wedding speech… 

6 rules for the perfect Best Man’s speech

1 Starting well

Starting with a brilliant opening line will get the audience on your side and get you a laugh right at the beginning, which will help put you at your ease. Speechy, the speech-writing pros suggest any wedding speech should aim for a giggle 20 seconds in. Never start by apologising for how bad a speech is going to be. It will lower the guests’ expectations and start things off on the wrong note. Plus, if you tell them it’s going to be a bad speech, it probably will be!

Other good opening lines include…

‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to thank all of you for being here today, especially those of you who knew that I’d be saying a few words. It’s very touching that you still decided to come.’

‘Typical! This is the first time [the groom] has ever bought me dinner and I was so nervous about the speech I couldn’t eat it.’

‘I’m sure you’ll agree with me, gentlemen, that it’s a sad day for single men, as another amazing woman leaves the available list. And, ladies, I’m sure you’ll agree that today is passing by without much of a ripple.’ 

‘Hi I’m [name] and I’m the best man. It might have taken X amount of years, but [the groom] has finally admitted I’m the best.’

2 Thanks and congratulations

After the intro there’s a whole lot of thanks and congratulations to be done. First of all you should thank the other speakers, thank the newlyweds on behalf of the bridesmaids and congratulate the wedding couple on having just got married. Finally, compliment the bride on how stunning she looks.

3 Stories about the groom

Now’s the time to talk about the groom – and any great best man’s speech should devote a significant time to this. A couple of tales involving drunken antics, childhood holidays, pets, his first job or strange habits might work. If you’ve known the groom since you were young then hopefully there are school, university or college stories worth recounting.

Audience-appropriate stories from the stag night might work too. You’re ideally aiming for mild embarrassment rather than total humiliation. The stories also shouldn’t be so rude they upset elderly relatives. And, be sure to avoid in-jokes, that only you and a handful of mates will understand.

4 Show some love

After the embarrassing stories, try to get serious for a minute and show your real appreciation of the groom. Something about why he’s a great friend and what an all-round good guy he is. It doesn’t have to be super-slushy but it’s important to include some sincerity in among the jokes. You can always make a joke about it afterwards!

5 Messages from friends and family

If there are any message from friends or family who couldn’t make it you need read those out too. If there aren’t many or they’re a bit dry you could add a few funny ones of your own from obviously made-up people. 

6 The toast

Finally, ask all the guests to raise their glasses and propose a toast to the happy couple. And that’s it, you’re done. Now you can sit back, relax and enjoy a strong drink before you throw yourself into the partying in earnest. Well done! 

Further reading: Our guide to the perfect wedding wine (include which one is great for toasts).