Best Man Speech

For this exercise I have chosen Ben and Sue for the names of the groom and bride because they are easy to type. If you cut and paste any tips from this site, be sure to change those names unless the Happy Couple are called Ben and Sue.

Think of it as your gift to the bride and groom rather than being the ‘entertainment’ for the evening. This ‘gift’ will be remembered and appreciated more than a second George Forman Grill.

The Do’s & Dont’s

Using humour is good (and expected) but don’t dig a hole with a zinger one-liner grabbed from the web to open unless you are a stand-up comedian by trade – you will be expected to deliver more.


“Thanks for coming everyone, this has been a very emotional day. I mean, even the cake is in tiers.”

It’s pretty much a given that this will elicit a few laughs and a few groans but if guests have heard the joke before, it will show that you are a plagiarist and didn’t take the time to give due consideration to the content. There are, however, ways of using a joke like this

“Thanks for coming everyone. While I understand that part of the Best Man’s role is to be amusing, please don’t expect things like, ‘this has been a very emotional day. I mean, even the cake is in tiers’. No… but do expect to hear a few things about Ben that only I know…”

This leads into how you know the groom and sets a tone of ‘expect the unexpected’. While your speech can be edgy, it is important not to alienate anyone. Half the people in the room probably don’t know you. Remember that opposites attract so the bride’s extended family may be nothing like the groom’s.

Don’t go ‘blue’ unless it is fresh, clever and suits your personality. In the past, virgins were the norm – that’s what made the nudge, nudge jokes so funny – these days ‘sex’ jokes can come across as puerile, unnecessary and unfunny. Mind you, if you have a couple of borderline one-liners or ‘borrowed’ jokes, you can whack them in the reading of the real or invented emails that have replaced olden days telegrams and that way blame it on someone else. For example:

Some of the blokes from Ben’s soccer team couldn’t be here today but they sent this message. “We discovered quickly that Ben was a hopeless joke in every position and hope Sue has more luck.”

Don’t swear, even if it is part of your personality.

Don’t make mention of any past girlfriends or any reference to infidelity. Example:

“According to a recent survey, eighty percent of married men cheat in Australia. The rest cheat on overseas business trips.”

Maintain a balance – it is okay to rubbish the groom, but only if it weighed against talking about his good qualities. It is never okay to rubbish the bride (or women in general). Example:

“A word of advice, Ben – never have words with your wife – you’ll only get paragraphs in return.”

Mother-in-Law jokes are a big no-no, especially ones like this:

“If your mother-in-law and a lawyer were drowning and you had to choose, would you go to lunch or to a movie?”

What to include in the Best Man speech

Firstly, brevity is good but substance is expected – aim at 750 words for around five. This may seem like a lot but it won’t be as daunting when you break it down into components:

  • Introduction – welcome guests, thank the Groom for his toast to the delightful bridesmaid(s), maybe a comment on the wedding
  • Introduce yourself and explain your relationship to the Groom – how long you have known him, why you are friends etc, leads into:
  • One anecdotal story about you and the Groom. It should be self-explanatory so the in-law guests are also entertained. There should be good-natured digs at the Groom but they should be affectionate and balanced by some kinder words.
  • Compliment the Bride and perhaps why they are so suited.
  • Read out emails (real and/or invented).
  • Let the guests know what will be happening next (e.g. dessert, dancing, couple departing for the honeymoon.
  • The ending – whether serious or humorous, this should be heart-felt and memorable. Propose a toast.

To pull it apart a bit more – it is okay to read a speech (after pre-reading a few times prior) but you should learn your first couple of sentences so you embrace the audience with your eyes. This relaxes everyone. Remember that this will be an easy audience who are willing to listen but you will still need an ice-breaker introduction… a couple of examples:

“Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Firstly, on behalf of Ben and Sue I would like to thank you all for coming today to help to make their wedding such a memorable and special occasion. Personally, I wish you’d all stayed at home and made my job less nerve wracking.”

“Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen – Before I start, let me say that I am honoured to have been asked to be the Best Man. Over the years, Ben has been more than a mate, he’s also been a mentor. He has played a major part in shaping the person I am, especially in developing my sense of humour. So, while I have tried to make this speech as funny as possible, please blame Ben if it’s not.”

To begin your good-natured character assassination and anecdote about the Groom, look for one angle/theme – e.g. is he always late, is he out of place in a suit and tie, is he tight with money, is he obsessed with a sport or pastime etc? The anecdote should be something from your shared past – if you have shared a flat or holiday with him, this could be just the thing because that’s what the Bride can look forward to. Example:

“Until I moved into a flat with Ben I didn’t realise that he had a feminine side. I mean he’d often ask me, ‘Does my bum look fat in this?’ And he was quite domesticated. He always did the washing up and the vacuuming… just before his parents dropped in for their three monthly visit… He was the one who did the shopping and the cooking – in one phone call, Eagle Boys 131433…But Sue’s parents have nothing to worry about. Only after a matter of months I saw him change… the sheets… where he found the twenty bucks he thought he’d lost last March. He sure is a lucky bloke, as is evidenced today. Who would have thought he would have married a beautiful, intelligent, independent woman like Sue. But they do say opposites attract… “

Putting It All Together

Here are a few suggestions that may be handy for a format to base the speech on:

  • The tasks you as Best Man had to perform to get him to the wedding on time
  • What you discovered about him as a younger man through your research
  • Invent a ‘diary’ the Groom kept that you discovered that noted some of the landmark moments in his quest to court the Bride
  • If you haven’t much past to draw on, go to the future and give the Groom advice on how to ensure a happy marriage
  • Focus on an interest/passion that the Bride won’t be able to avoid (e.g. golf, motor bikes)
  • Use backhanded compliments to talk about the Groom’s achievements and admirable qualities
  • Talk about the romantic journey shared by the Bride and Groom (handy if there has been a previous marriage or some baggage best left in the cupboard)
  • Focus on the Bride and why she has made such an excellent choice of husband

Your closing remarks should be sincere but in the same style as your speech. Example:

“On behalf of Ben and Sue, I’d like to thank everyone here for sharing their unique and special day and, from me, thanks for your attention and may I say that if you enjoyed listening to my words half as much as I enjoyed saying them, well, I’m sorry.”

That’s about it really.

Shoot me an email or give me a ring if you would like some assistance.