How To Get Over Your Nerves And Give A Great Best Man's Speech
I'm having fun..honestly guys..
I've got to give a speech? NOOOoooo!
Hello, if you're reading this, you're probably in the same position that I was in recently. Your friend has asked you to be his best man and you're now in a panic, frantically looking at guides on the internet to tell you how to give a good speech.
The best man's speech is one of the highlights of the wedding. It is the part that most people remember, along with the moment the bride walks down the aisle and the first dance. It also comes after the groom's and father's speech, which are usually a bit more sentimental in tone. Everyone is expecting your speech to be funny and entertaining, so don't let them down!
Don't worry, I was absolutely terrified at the prospect, but I got through it and so will you! Here are some guidelines to help you along the way.
Don't panic. Too much...
Ok, the thought of standing in front of potentially hundreds of people and entertaining them is nerve wracking. I worried for months if I'm completely honest. But this is what made my speech good, I worried enough so that I prepared for it properly. This meant that when I gave it, it went down very well, even though I was still nervous beforehand.
If you have written your speech down and practiced giving it again and again, then when it comes to the big day, you'll be far better at it than if you try to make it up as you go. The thing I found is that once I had finalised the speech and started practicing, I started feeling a lot more relaxed about the prospect of giving it as I knew I had my material. Before that I was just constantly worried. So get it written and get practicing as early as possible so you're not just leaving it til the last minute.
I went to the room beforehand and practiced introducing myself while someone at the other end of the room told me if they could hear me, so I knew how loud to talk. You don't want to start your speech, be several lines in and then start getting calls from the back that they can't hear you.
I followed some guide lines for my speech. Traditionally the best man's speech comes after the bride's father's speech and the groom's speech. The standard thing to do when you start is to thank them for their speeches and in some cases thank the bridesmaid(s), if the groom hasn't. The groom thanked the bridesmaid, but I decided to thank her as well. I put in a stupid gag right at the start, which helped to break the ice and as soon as I got a laugh, then I started to feel slightly better. As the speech went on, the laughs kept coming and I started to feel better and better about it.
The format for my speech was, opening gags, thanks, compliments to bride, more gags, couple of funny stories, photo montage, soppy bit, toast, then out. It's a pretty good formula. You must make sure you tell everyone how incredible the bride looks, whether it's true or not. In my case, she did look good so it sounded more sincere, but even if she looks like a pig in a net curtain, just say it.
Don't drink beforehand
This is a tough one to stick to. But you must! I did have a pint at dinner time, but I stuck to water after that. Not only does this get you brownie points with the brides mother etc when they see you drinking water and not getting leathered, but when you give your speech you won't be emotional, you won't be slurring and your timing and delivery will be better. People can tell straightaway if you've been drinking, so don't do it and don't embarrass yourself.
Not the one about the vaseline and the melon..
Even if you're terrified, pretend you're not and pretend you're having a good time up there. I was actually extremely nervous before I went up. But I launched straight into my speech and managed to smile and afterwards people said that they couldn't even tell that I was nervous at all, which was a result.
Don't worry about shaking or looking nervous
I saw a best man's speech once where the best man was really nervous and his hands shook very badly. This made people feel for him, so every time he said a joke, everyone laughed uproariously. His speech went down really well so don't worry about looking nervous, you're not there for a competition so generally every joke you say, even the unfunny ones, will get a laugh and people will appreciate you having a go.
I've said this already, but I'll say it again. Practice your speech, both by yourself and by performing it in front of someone. I practiced mine while driving, so would repeat it to myself over and over again. By the time I came to delivering it to someone and then at the wedding, I knew it pretty well, so although I had to glance at my notes sometimes, I didn't have to read from them. Performing your speech to someone allows you to see which jokes are funny and to practice your timing and delivery.
I had my speech written on two pieces of A4 paper. Some people have them on cards with keywords. I'm a fast reader and can skimread, so having the full speech in front of me was fine as if I lost my way, I could just glance down and find my place instantly. Everyone is different, but although general advice is to lose the A4 beforehand and just have small cards, I kept the A4 and it was absolutely fine. Just make sure the font is as big as you can manage so you can easily find your place.
Don't offend anyone
A bit of ribbing and embarrassment for the groom is expected. But anything offensive will just go down terribly. Keep away from in jokes, don't say anything bad or offensive about the bride, her mother etc. Even if it is meant to be funny, it could seriously backfire!
Make it funny
I've seen a few speeches where the best man just rambles on. They get a few polite chuckles but that's all. Don't be one of those guys! Think of your best and funniest stories, the ones that you've told to people repeatedly down the pub, pick a couple that are safe to repeat and then write them down and practice them so you can tell them properly. This means having a couple of breaks in the story just after you've delivered a punch line for laughs and a conclusion to each story. When you're in the pub you're relaxed, odds on you'll be a bit less relaxed in front of a large audience so practice the story over and over so you can tell it properly, appear relaxed and make everyone laugh at the right points.
Easier said than done, but it really is true that it is a forgiving audience who will appreciate the speech. As long as you don't offend anyone, swear or freeze, it will probably go well as long as you've prepared well and practiced it. When it comes to performing, even if you're nervous, just get up there and get on with it!
If you have any comments, please leave them below.
Good luck with your speech!
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