I am a social scientist (sort of). From my highly scientific research (I have attended (and also waitressed at) more than a few weddings in my time)), I have found that ‘Best Men’ can be categorised into three very separate species.* Type One – the type who knew he’d be asked, revels in the attention, thinks (knows) he can do a great speech, puts little to no time or effort into it (he’s a natural after all), practices once (in front the mirror, of course) and does what he thinks is a great speech (the groom makes a mental note to pick someone else for his next wedding). Type Two – the type who is touched to be asked, has the confidence and charisma to do a great speech, puts a bit or time, thought and effort into it, practices, and delivers. Type Three – the one who dreads being asked, looses sleep at the thought of public speaking, last said something witty by mistake (involving bad French and a mistranslated menu), breaks out into a sweat at the site of a microphone, vows to enact a painful revenge on the groom but knows that he won’t really. Not really, really. But does a surprisingly okay speech. Sort of. Though it could have been much, much better with a few tweaks here and there.
Why spend so much time researching such an inconsequential speech I hear you cry? Well… to me these speeches are one of the main events (apart from the vows themselves) of a wedding and as such they make up one of the three (only two of which you are alive for) most important rights of passage in our culture. This is why people need to take time to do a good job. Best Men have a responsibility not just for the bride and groom but for everyone else there.
You want the newlyweds to look like this:
Not this, at the end of the day:
So some tips: We don’t want to listen to stories about the groom being sick on his stag – we do want to hear witty anecdotes or observations (that end up making him look good) and as they say if you can’t be funny, be nice. But if you can be funny, go for it and be funny, very funny – but test you material out first! We don’t want to hear you go on for 25min – keep it short and sweet. No one has ever complained that a (good) speech was too short. And for god sake say something nice about the bride. She is the most important person there! So, it’s not too difficult – don’t make a big deal out of it – but do try. You’re not the person who’s just made the biggest commitment of their life to someone else, so if you look at it that way your job is easy!
If you’re Type One you’re no fun. If you’re Type Two lucky you. If you’re Type Three come and see me http://www.helpwithbestmanspeech.com/
*variables of this experiment (i) the amount of alcohol consumed (by Best Man and those in the audience), (ii) amount said Best Man loves or loathes his best friend’s new wife, (iii) speech impediments.
By Annabella Forbes – www.helpwithbestmanspeech.com