Somebody wise once said that giving a best man speech is akin to kissing the Queen Mother of England – it’s definitely a privilege and an honor except that nobody is keen on doing it in front of so many people! Still, when you come to think of it, giving a best man speech is just an exercise in public speaking albeit your audience is people whom you are familiar with even on an acquaintance basis, which makes it easier.
But if you are still unsure about the proper etiquette, here are some dos and don’ts in giving a best man speech.
Your speech needs to follow a general outline so that you will not make a fool of yourself and a bigger fool of the bride and groom. However, try to be spontaneous with a few well-inserted clean jokes and anecdotes. And of course, being prepared means practicing your speech until you have nailed it down.
Do Extend Your Congratulations and Thanks
Of course, you need not mention every Tom, Dick and Harry in the room. Just extend your congratulations and well wishes to the bride and groom as well as your thanks for the honor bestowed on your person.
Do Be Short, Sweet and Simple
Your wedding speech is a confirmation of the love and joy the wedding guests feel for the couple, not a privilege speech delivered before the Senate on the value of gay marriage. As such, keep it short (about 5 minutes will do), sweet (say nice words only, please) and simple (stick to basic English).
Do Smile and Stand Up
Often, it is not the words that matter but the delivery of the words. Thus, you have to stand up, smile at the couple and the guests, and let the bride and groom shine with your carefully chosen and spoken words.
Don’t be Drunk
Don’t embarrass yourself and your hosts by delivering a slurred speech filled with the words of a drunken man. Not only are you being rude to the bride and groom but you are also bringing upon your head the most undesirable form of notoriety. Thus, refrain from drinking excessive alcohol before your talk so that you can still remember your prepared speech when the time comes to deliver it.
Don’t be Crude and Tawdry
There is a place for sexual innuendos and green jokes but your best buddy’s wedding is not that place. Even if you must deviate from your prepared speech, you must keep your jokes and anecdotes as clean as possible – no retelling of the groom’s sexual shenanigans, no vulgar jokes, and definitely no recounting of the bride’s conquests. Keep in mind that there are children in the house, if you must.
Don’t Lash Out
Even when you have ambivalent feelings about the union, keep your mouth shut about them. In the first place, it’s not your business and not your relationship. In the second place, it’s their day to be happy and you must respect their wishes in the matter.
Most important in giving best man speeches, you have to relax and just have fun. After all, it’s a wedding – one of the most joyous of occasions for your friends – that requires your presence as best man, nothing more, nothing less.