Thursday, September 11, 2008
5 things to avoid in your Best Man Speech.
I've stood up and delivered 3 best man speeches in my time. The first one I visited the loo 3 times during the meal, my stomach was flipping over, it was the hottest day of the year, and I was terrified.
After the speech the flow of compliments I received from the wedding guests, made me wonder what I had been worrying about. I'm not saying I'm an expert, but here are a few things to consider when you're standing up from a warm seat with a piece of paper in your right hand, and I'm not still talking about the loo. (You can add that one to your best man one liners)
Rushing your speech with your head down.
Bundles of nerves, adrenalin rushing, they creep down the line, from the bride's father to the groom, then down to the best man. You step into the spotlight, and read your script word from word like a verbal charging bull on a mission, barely looking up to even see if the wedding guests are paying any attention.
The trick is, that the best man speech is not solely about good content. You want everyone in the room to know he's your best mate, you've got stories to tell and they should listen. Deliver your speech with a little swagger in it.
The best way to avoid the head down, full steam ahead approach is to practice. In front of a mirror is good, pretend the wedding guests are there and read out loud.
Rude words, or vulgar suggestions.
Nothing better then a badly timed piece of vulgarity to ensure the wedding guests sit and see tumbleweeds blowing past. The truth is, your mates down the pub will of been pulling your leg about the wedding and your speech for some time. You probably came up with some great ideas for speech material whilst with your mates. But whatever you do, please don't make the mistake by thinking a good joke with your mates in the pub will go down well during your best man speech. You really don't want to spoil the wedding day for anyone, least of all the bride and groom.
The best way to avoid this, just ask yourself "Will the bride's mother laugh at this?" If you even think she may not, then best leave it out. Would your speech make a PG rating on a movie ? There'll be young people at the wedding too.
You're a professional stand up comedian.
No you're not. Well, maybe you are, but the likelihood is - you're not.
Don't go throwing in jokes in every paragraph. There is so much more to a best man speech then just cracking joke after joke. "Groom placed an ad in the local paper saying bride wanted, a week later he received several responses all saying the same.... you can have mine" - Mildly amusing, not really funny in a speech though, doubt it would raise a laugh from the wedding guests.
Witty stories, light hearted banter aimed at the groom, embarrassing childhood memories, these are received well by the wedding guests, and enjoyed by the bride and groom.
Avoid joke after joke and opt for sincerity, good humour and a large slice of affection for both the bride and groom.
Badly written speeches
Possibly you've not written anything out since your school exams. The wedding day will be the pinnacle of your duties as best man, don't spoil it by poor grammer in your speech. If you are nervous and fluff your way through it because it was badly written, this may lead to a few wedding guests to throw in the odd heckle, which if you haven't planned for may be your downfall on the day. On that note, get yourself a couple of good come back lines just in case of a heckler - "The chairs are pointing towards me for a reason mate" - "I thought the wall was well plastered, but you're worse"
Avoid bad grammar by getting a trusted friend to proof read your speech.
Don't mention ex-girlfriends
Save discussions of past conquests for the stag party, who cares about previous relationships on someone's wedding day - no one ! The wedding guests will sit there stony faced and the only one squirming with embarrassment will be you.
Number one rule for your best man speech, never, ever, even contemplate mentioning an ex-girlfriend.
Being someone's Best Man is a fun, enjoyable, wonderful occasion and an absolute honor. Ensure you keep it that way by avoiding the pitfalls outlined above - and enjoy the wedding day yourself too.