best man giving speech during reception

Photo: James Tang Photography

If you’ve been asked to be the best man, there’s no doubt you’ve been given a few important tasks such as planning the bachelor party, and keeping the other groomsmen informed. One of your final duties as the right-hand man? Making a speech at the wedding reception.


DO

Talk about what a great match the newlyweds make
Since you are the best man, chances are you’ve met the fiancé(e) a time or two. Think about why the two make such a fabulous pair. They can be casual, fun remarks like, “because they both love the same band” or “because they root for the same football team” or something more sentimental. The bottom line is that it’s important to acknowledge how great they are together.

Let the groom know how much he means to you
Whether you grew up together or you became best friends in college or at work, elaborate on the influence he’s had on your life. Feel free to tell the story of how you met, or what the groom was like back when you two were younger. These descriptions and stories are bound to make people laugh and provide insight into the kind of relationship you two have.

Tell a funny story
Entertain the crowd with a story about the groom. Dig into the past, flip through photo albums, or consult mutual friends and in an attempt to uncover a story that’s sure to provide a laugh. If you were around when he first met his current spouse, recap what he said right after their first date or how nervous he was to tell you that he was planning to pop the question. Just make sure you keep it PG, as Grandma is likely in attendance.

Keep it short and sweet
Since you aren’t the only person speaking at the reception it’s important that you keep your speech short and to the point. A good length of time for your speech is about three minutes. The maid of honor, along with the bride and groom’s parents may also have remarks planned and you don’t want to spend all night listening to speeches. The shorter, the better we say!

Congratulate the couple
Don’t forget to let the couple know how happy you are for them! Raise your glass and motion the other guests to join you. Make a final remark and wish them all the best in their life’s journey together as a couple. And, of course, be sure to say cheers!

DON’T

Get too drunk (beforehand)
If you know you’re speaking at the reception, take it easy at the cocktail hour and limit yourself to one or two drinks. No matter how close you may be with the groom, there will be plenty of people there who don’t know you, so you don’t want to make a fool of yourself on your best friend’s special day. Save the strong alcoholic drinks for after you’ve finished speaking.

Make it all about you
Remember, this isn’t a celebration for you. While it’s a great honor that you’ve been asked to speak at the wedding, don’t abuse your power. An anecdote or two about your friendship is fine, but make the speech about their romance, not your bromance.

Tell any super embarrassing stories
It’s a good idea to keep the mood light with a funny remark or two, but don’t go overboard. Be mindful that his grandparents, among other family members, will be there and they probably don’t want to hear the full recap of a wild night at college. Keep those memories to yourself.

Reference his exes
You’re here to celebrate your best friend’s lifelong commitment, not reminisce about the ghosts of relationships past. Avoid stories that involve his ex, even if you’re trying to make a joke about him or her. It’s not an appropriate time to relive his romantic past.

Go off topic
While there’s no specific best man script, think about what you’re choosing to include and if it’s truly relevant to the occasion. Telling a random story about the two of you for the sake of telling will confuse and alienate the other guests. Focus on the groom, his spouse, and congratulating them on their big day. Everything else should be saved for another time and place.