What NOT to do in a Best Man Speech

Don't joke about how nervous you are, how bad your speech will be or how you've never done this before

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This is a common mistake made by quite a few best man speeches usually at the beginning of the speech (for example, see the first speech 2 of our video examples or see the poor start to this speech. Don't do it because it will only lower expectation - often this is done because the best man is nervous about doing the speech and he thinks it will be a way of breaking the ice and getting the audience on your side. Don't do it, because if you manage to pull off a great speech, you'll be remembered for saying it.

Don't speak too fast

This is the most common delivery mistake and is often done when the best man is reading the speech word for word (see below). It comes back to practicing the speech and getting your breathing right.

Don't fill your speech with the usual best man gags

It's a fact that many best man speeches contain exactly the same jokes - probably due to the fact that most best men trawl the popular best man websites for gags to copy and paste into the speech.

I think that this is OK to a limited extent and it is important that if you are going to use these sort of gags, that you practice the delivery to perfection.

BUT make sure that the bulk of your speech is made up of (funny!) stories about the groom himself). Try to include a story from each stage of the groom's life:

  • as a young child at primary school - e.g. ask his parents
  • at secondary school - e.g. ask schoolfriends
  • as a young adult - e.g. work colleagues / friends from university
  • a recent story / stories - current friends or work colleagues

Don't just 'read' the speech

Don't read the speech from a piece of paper - see this video for an example of someone who does this, although he does seem to relax towards the end. Instead, try to practice the speech as much as possible to become familiar with it to the point at which you could give most of the speech without any help.

Don't be negative ... about anything

Don't be negative about ANYTHING in your speech - not even in a joke. For example, the caterers at one wedding I attended had not warmed the food enough when it was brought out to the guests and this was joked about in the best man speech. He meant it in a funny friendly way, but it was pretty insulting to the parents of the bride who had organised the occasion.