So your buddy asked you to be his best man. Congratulations! That means you get to plan the bachelor party and sit at the big table. Pretty cool stuff. But in between trying to rent a limo with a hot tub and figuring out how many strippers you can fit into a cake, it might be a good idea to think about your best man speech.

Remember – this is a big deal. Not only are you going to be speaking in front of your friend’s family, but also their soon-to-be spouse’s. That is a lot of pressure. You don’t want to make him – or you – look like an ass in front of his in laws. It can be a tough line to walk – you don’t want to get too “real” and risk giving nana a heart attack with your story about Vegas. But at the same time, you are the best man and should get a little personal. Plus, this is your chance to show all the bridesmaids how charming you are.

best man speech

Feeling the heat? Good. Now here are some tips to keep you from floundering up there.

Write It Before Hand (And Bring Notes)

Sounds dumb, but so many best men walk into the rehearsal dinner planning on just riffing the best man speech. And unless you are a professional comedian or storyteller, that is a bad idea. Outline your ideas, rehearse in the mirror, and for the love of god – bring note cards! Don’t fly blind or you will slam into the side of fucked-up-speech mountain.

Don’t Get Shitfaced

Woohoo! Open bar! Time to party!

best man speech

Well, hold off for now. Toast with champagne, have a glass of wine, but don’t get sucked into doing shooters with the other groomsmen until you have delivered your speech. Nobody wants to sit through eight minutes of you slurring your way through a half-baked story about your trip to Cancun. So save it for the after party.

One Story > Listing Characteristics

“Jeff is such a good guy. He is one of the friendliest people I know. And he is smart.” Yeah, they know. That’s why they are at his wedding. But he picked you as his best man for a reason – because you are supposed to be close. So tell everyone about that one time you guys found that stray dog and he spent all day trying to find it’s owner. Or, you know, whatever story you have that makes him sound like he is worth marrying. He may not be perfect, but everyone has their moments. Talk about one of those.

Avoid Doing Inside Jokes

We get it. You guys are close – that’s why you are the best man. I know the temptation is strong to pepper your speech with jokes and references just for you and the groom, but this speech is for everyone. Keep it accessible. By alienating people with inside jokes, you take them out of your speech.

Keep it Short

Everyone wants cake. You are the one thing standing between them and cake. They have sat through everyone else’s speech, and now it is just you. Are you better than cake? Don’t answer that – you aren’t. Nobody is. It’s cake! So keep it under five minutes and let them eat cake!

Go out with a bang!

best man speech

The most important thing is to talk from your heart. But if your heart doesn’t know how to wrap it up with a bow, you could end up giving a dud of a speech. Come up with something tear-jerking about love. Doesn’t matter if it is sappy. You are at a wedding. That is the point.

Worse come to worst, look up a quote about love and then tie it back to the groom. Like so:

“Oscar Wilde once said ‘You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.’ Well, John, we all know that you will be dancing to Claire’s song for a long time.”

I just Googled that. You can too.

And there you have it! Now get out there, give the greatest best man speech of all time, and hook up with a bridesmaid – because that’s what being a best man is all about.