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the best man (or best woman’s!) wedding speech

quotation markI have listened to some awesome speeches delivered by the best man at weddings. Conrad and Ilea’s wedding was the setting for one of these memorable speeches.
Conrad chose his brother, Jed as his best man. I have known them both forever and was honoured to be their celebrant and invited as a guest to their reception.

When Jed, the best man, spoke it was of admiration for Conrad and he acknowledged the love, friendship and loyalty they shared as brothers and as friends. Jed affirmed his respect for Ilea and acknowledged Conrad and Ilea’s meeting and the relationship they upheld.  He told a few stories of their growing up together and adventures they had shared. Jed kept his speech relatively short and finished with a toast to the bride and groom. It was simple yet very beautiful and deeply touched everyone. You could have heard a pin drop with everyone’s attention focused on Jed, Conrad and Ilea.
The best man’s speech usually follows after the Father of the Bride and the Groom (and Bride). For many people public speaking is a nerve wracking experience. However, with preparation, planning  and a few guidelines it is a great opportunity to share some lighthearted moments and to speak from the heart.  

It is often thought that this speech has to be humorous or include risqué stories or antics from the past… this is not true. Unless you are comfortable with telling a humorous story or a few jokes there is no need to do so. (You may want to run any jokes or funny stories by a trusted friend as that will give you a good idea of just how funny they really are).  Also, there is no joy in stories that will upset or offend so please steer clear of comments about past relationships of the bride or groom, negative comments about family members or rude jokes.

a simple guideline would be to:

  • Compliment the bride, bridesmaids and wedding attendants
  • Thank the groom
  • Share how you (the best man) know the groom
  • How and when the groom and bride met (if this has not already been covered)
  • How the groom has changed since meeting the bride.
  • Any stories about the morning of the wedding and getting ready
  • Best wishes and a toast to the bride and groom.
Remember the speech doesn’t have to be very long… a few well chosen sentences are better than rambling on forever with fluff and nonsense and regardless of what anyone says, it is ok to read from a script.

a few key points to help the best man:

  • Do think about the speech before the wedding day. Make a few notes or write out your script in full (even if you are not going to read it word for word).
  • Rehearse what you are going to say beforehand; the more times you do this the more comfortable you will feel.
  • Keep a clear head before your speech. Drinking lots of alcohol won’t help the nerves and it won’t make your speech sound any better!
  • Ensure you have a glass of champagne ready for your final toast and also if you are mentioning specific people in your speech know where they are sitting so you can look at them when the time comes.
  • Stand with your feet placed firmly on the ground, slightly apart. If you are not holding any notes have your hands by your side rather than in your pockets or on the table.
  • Take a moment before you speak to look around the room and smile at the family and friends present. Use your normal voice and speak clearly and calmly… as if it were just a small group of your closest friends. It is easy to speak too fast so make a mark on your notes to slow down and take a breath!
  • If you decide to read off your cue cards word for word, that’s fine, just remember to pause while you look down at your notes, look up, smile and then speak. You don’t have to speak constantly and you don’t have to rush through it, short moments of silence are ok. Silence always feels longer than it actually is anyway. Whether you decide to deliver your speech using notes or you speak spontaneously, remember to be yourself and keep smiling!
  • In closing your speech, look directly at the recipients of your toast as you express your final words. Your toast! Lift your glass to eye level, wait a moment for everyone else to join you, take a sip, smile, pause for a moment and then sit down!
(adapted excerpt from ‘Create an Inspiring Speech for Grooms (and Brides!)
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Heidi, Cairns
Hi Wendy, I have been reading through your site and from feeling overwhelmed at the whole wedding planning now feel more relaxed!

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