Hello to you all!
I hope you're looking after your physical AND mental health during this difficult time.
Now that we've got a bit of time on our hands, it seems like the perfect time to continue the series of blogs on wedding speeches.
Being a wedding videographer literally means that I listen to and edit wedding speeches as a full-time job.
Over the years, I've heard some absolutely amazing speeches, which have been filled with just the right level of humor and the right level of emotion. By that same token, I've also heard some... not so great ones.
The one thing to note is that all good speeches and all bad speeches have the same things in common, so it's actually easy to avoid the common pitfalls of a bad or lackluster wedding speech if you know what you're looking for.
In my last blog, I started with the groom, so next up, I’d like to share some tips on how to write a best man speech.
Here are some tips:
1: Google is NOT your friend (especially when it comes to jokes)
I said this in my first blog, and I'll probably say it throughout this whole series, but I promise you, it's true!
I get that, for many of us, speech writing will be a fairly alien task. It's likely that we'll have never been asked to give or write a speech before, so the first thing we instinctively do is google the phrase "How to write a best man speech".
It's natural. It's forgiven, but it's dangerous!
By all means, have a look at what's out there in terms of structure and outline to give you a helping hand in getting the basic formula, but be wary of getting sucked into including the jokes or the content!
I can't tell you how many times I've heard:
"It's been an emotional day...even the cake's in tiers"
"They say the best man speech should last as long as it takes the groom to make love...*best man says good night and sits down*"
"I've been in touch with the groom's football team, and they said he was pretty much useless in every position, so good luck to the bride tonight".
Don't do it. You're better than that!
2: Mine your friendship for stories and jokes instead of google
Chances are that you've been asked to be the best man because your friendship with the groom goes way back, which means that you should have PLENTY of stories or personal experiences that you can draw humor from.
This is what the room wants from you and this is why the best man's speech is what people look forward to the most!
Don't worry, I know that there's a large number of stories that are probably best left untold, especially in a room full of family and friends, but if you REALLY think about it, you'll find something.
If you can't find something funny, make it endearing. Something about the groom or your friendship with him that fills an already loved up room with even more love.
This way, it keeps everything personal and intimate, rather than being taken from Google.
3: Share your perspective on the relationship between the couple. Tell the story
A speech that tells a story is GOLD when it comes to wedding films, but it's also gold when it comes to winning over the room.
People love stories!
Your relationship with the Groom will give you a unique, inside perspective on the couple's story.
Maybe you've got some stories on when they first met? Maybe some stories of how nervous the groom was on those first few dates?
Did you give the groom some dating advice (be it bad or good) in those early days? Did the groom share his feelings about the bride back then? Did the groom tell you he was going to propose and is there something in that?
You will more than likely have seen the journey of the couple from beginning to the point you're at now, so tell it with your unique perspective and sprinkle in some humor!
4: Don't Joke about how nervous you are
Talking about how nervous you are is a total no go area. It puts the audience on edge and creates an uncomfortable atmosphere. Remember the guests are on your side and always support the best man during his speech – they want you to succeed.
5: Beware the booze
If I was asked to pinpoint one consistent factor that ruins the best man's speech, it's booze. Every time. Without fail.
It's natural to want a bit of dutch courage before giving your speech, but don't get excited.
Seriously, I can't tell you how many well written and well-rehearsed speeches have turned into an absolute car crash because of overconsumption. It's not a pretty sight.
Also, chances are, they've hired a wedding videographer, so your speech will be immortalized on film (no pressure).
Set yourself a strict limit before the speeches and then, once the formalities are over, have at it. One of my Favourite Best Man Speeches from last year.
6: Practice. Practice. Practice
A simple one really.
Make sure that you finish your speech in good time, leaving yourself time to practice.
If you're saying it all for the first time, you're going to stumble over your words and be forced to keep staring at the piece of paper in your hand, which just makes things harder on yourself.
Also, practice builds confidence, which should also help keep you off of the alcohol as discussed in point number 5!
7: Formalities and length
Chances are, the Groom will have said a fair few 'thank you's' in his speech, so don't feel like you need to go down the same route.
It's fairly traditional that the Bestman will complement the bridesmaids and of course, the bride, but try not to turn your speech into a thank you list.
The best thing to do here is the co-ordinate with the Groom at the point of writing your speech.
Ask him who he'll be giving thanks to and if he would like you to say anything further.
In terms of how long your best man speech should be, try and keep it under 15 mins.
I don't think there should be a minimum length, as that adds unnecessary pressure. Short and sweet is fine as long as your content is heartfelt and genuine.
8: Ditch the ‘in’ jokes
Clearly this presentation to a roomful of guests is not a private conversation so; it’s an absolute must to steer clear of all the in-jokes and banter with your mates. This avenue of discussion always isolates a room and creates a barrier between the speaker and audience – this is an inclusive, not exclusive occasion9: Print your speech, ditch your phone
This is another point that I mentioned in my previous blog, but It's worth repeating.
Print your speech out rather than reading it from your phone. Firstly, printing it out will make it easier for you to read and make it less likely that you'll trip yourself up.
Secondly, reading speeches from a phone just doesn't look good!
Think of their photos and their wedding film, ditch the phone!
10: Don't put too much pressure on yourself
It's easy to get carried away in the idea that the best man speech should be the highlight of the day or become a whole big thing.
It shouldn't really be like that in my opinion, because this added pressure is definitely the second most common thing (after alcohol) to kill a speech before it's begun.
You don't need to turn into a stand-up comedian overnight and you don't need to bring the house down.
All you need to do is deliver some heartfelt and genuine words that celebrate the fact that two of your friends have just got married.
If it's not coming easily to you, don't drive yourself mad trying to write an epic speech, just keep it natural and heartfelt.
As I've said before, short and sweet is totally fine as long as the content is genuine.
Some of the best speeches I've heard have been short ones, but the content has been based on the couple and their story, from the heart and genuine. And that's it. 10 tips that I think will help your best man speech, based on things I've seen over the last few years.
There's definitely a lot to the art of writing a speech, but I hope it's of some help!
Thanks for reading, stay safe and I can't wait to celebrate with all of my future couples!
Eric | BBF