A wedding is the blissful union of a happy couple and signifies the start of their new life together as husband and wife. There is much to consider in the lead up to the big day, as well as many preparations to be made. Planning a wedding can be a stressful time for both bride and groom, not to mention the respective families involved. However, what many people don’t realise, when they’re getting caught up in wedding preparations, is that the best man may also be feeling a bit nervous.
The problem is, the wedding day is all about the bride and groom, so it’s not fitting for the best man to complain that he’s worried about making a speech. It doesn’t matter that he hasn’t ever made a speech before at a wedding, or that he simply doesn’t do public speaking very well. It’s his duty, along with ensuring he has the rings, to deliver a successful, funny, emotional and heartfelt speech.
What’s more, he has to wait until the wedding reception before he can make it. That means enduring the whole wedding first, as well as the reception meal, not to mention the hundreds of photographs, before it’s his moment to shine and wish the happy couple on their way into a blissful married life.
There may be hundreds of sites dishing out advice about wedding planning, but you never hear of anyone helping the best man. So for everyone out there whose duty it is to be best man, here are some great tips for making that all-important speech.
Tell A Story
The most important thing to remember about making a good speech is to get the structure right. A successful speech will have a clear beginning, middle and end. A good opener idea is to thank everyone for coming, and to comment on how beautiful the bride looks, and what a lovely day is has been.
Then you can launch in to a story about how you met the bride, or events that have taken place which show what a great couple the bride and groom make.
Always draw on personal experience when giving a speech. It’s fine to write it as you would speak; remember, it’s personal to you, so elements of your personality should shine through. It’s fine to be a bit cheesy, but try to avoid being embarrassing and never be rude or insulting. Keep it light-hearted and flowing.
Rehearse your speech at least once in front of an honest friend and ask for constructive criticism. If you find it difficult to be humorous during a speech, don’t try to force humour in there as it will be obvious and make you even more embarrassed if all you receive is nervous laughter from the back of the room. Stay honest throughout your speech but maintain sincerity too. As I mentioned above, it’s polite to comment on how beautiful the bride looks but make no suggestion that you fancy her or that you’re just saying it to be nice.
Trying desperately to recall a memorised speech will only make you more nervous on the day itself. Don’t worry too much if you forget bits; you can always change tack. You never know when inspiration may strike. And if you’re still really worried, write down bullet points on a small card to help you remember the general gist of the speech. Never try to get away with reading aloud from your hastily scribbled notes as you’ll just come across really nervous.
Keep It Short
Okay so I don’t mean speak for thirty seconds about the day’s events before passing the microphone over to someone else, but you don’t have to stand there for ages. As long as you structure the speech well, you can get away with a five minute speech and still have the desired effect from your audience.
And remember, everyone there wants you to succeed – that should help to calm any last minute nerves.