Good morning blog readers. I hope you are enjoying the weather, summer has finally arrived! Although summer in the UK also means rain and thunderstorms of course. Today’s blog is something a bit different, a guest post all about the Best Man speech from Barry Kerwin who is the Founder of Loyes Diamonds. Barry works along side Co-Founder Stacey Kerwin. The company has been in business since 2012, however the combined experience at Loyes Diamonds spans over a decade of working with other established Jewellers in Ireland and the UK. Both Founders have studied with the GIA in London which is the most respected body in the diamond industry.
Best Man speech – getting it right
Before you get asked to be a best man, the best man speech format might seem like an obvious one but once you are actually put in the role, it can be difficult to nail down the ingredients!
Depending on your relationship with the groom, a best man speech can vary greatly. Whatever your relationship with the groom, be it he’s a friend or sibling, the most important thing is that you deliver on the fundamentals. It’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself because you’ll end up making yourself nervous and it could impact on your delivery. Try to be calm about it whilst also making preparations for it; “winging it” shouldn’t be one of your thoughts. As the famous saying goes: Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail. So that’s where we come in with this post which hopefully will help you in your speech prep’. In terms of the absolute essential ingredients to a best man speech and its format, below is a basic one: Introduce yourself because you shouldn’t assume that everyone knows who you are. Say who you are, and how you know the groom.
- Introduce yourself because you shouldn’t assume that everyone knows who you are. Say who you are, and how you know the groom.
- Thank the groom for inviting you to be the best man.
- Read out any cards and notes from friends/family who couldn’t be there on the day.
- Include some anecdotes or stories about the groom but keep it clean and try not to include details about ex-girlfriends.
- Offer some advice about marriage to the newlyweds, making it serious or humorous to fit in with the tone of your overall speech.
- Say something nice about the bride e.g. comment about how pleasant and positive a person she is.
- Compliment the bridesmaids, for example by saying how well they look.
- Propose a congratulatory toast to the newly married couple.
- Once you are finished, introduce anyone else that is due to give a speech such as the Father of the Bride.
History of Best Man Speeches – Where the Tradition Began
The best man was traditionally a friend of the groom which is the same as today but today sometimes men are prone to choosing a sibling for the role. In terms of historically, the groom would ask this “best man” to be the chief guardian of the bride during the lead up to the wedding date. The appointed best man in turn would appoint mutual friends to help with the protection of the bride including ensuring that she got to the wedding on time and unharmed. The collected group of the best and groomsmen were previously known as “The bride’s knights”.
In the Anglo-Saxon days of Britain it has been said that the best man with the help of his groomsmen would actually kidnap the bride. This would happen if for whatever reason the bride’s parents were against the formation of this specific marriage; they might have not approved of the suitor or groom in question. The best man and his groomsmen would be expected to protect the bride right up to and including the point of the marriage ceremony where the groom would stand to the right of the bride at the altar so his sword could be drawn quickly to defend. In turn, the best man would guard the bride by standing on the bride’s other side until the vows were done.
This best man delivered a relaxed speech and it had humour and emotion. He didn’t have it learned off by heart which shows that a successful speech can be delivered using paper prompts if it’s delivered naturally and with glee like this best man.
Even though this best man reads out his speech directly from his notes, he delivers it with a natural and relaxed flair. He reads slowly, clearly and loudly and it is witty throughout. Note how his speech has all the main ingredients: introduction as to who he is, his relationship with the groom, welcoming visitors, and elements of humour.
How to Write the Best Man Speech
So to get down to actually writing the piece there are a number of pointers that you can follow. Below is a list of little tit-bits of information about the couple that you should gather together. Remember that this day and speech should be all about them. Of course focus in on certain cute anecdotes about your friend, the groom and your own friendship but there needs to be some content about the couple’s relationship which will make it all the more emotive. Of course the content that includes the couple needs to be appropriate and suitable to be told to the masses and not some sordid secret about them or anything that has the possibility of embarrassing them in any way. If in doubt, leave it out!
> Background Dates. How long have they been together, how long have they known each other?
> The Bride to Be. Although your speech is not about her exclusively, you must give her a paragraph of her own. This might be something about the first time you met her or some positive attribute about her.
> Why They’re a Good Match. It might sound a tad serious but their union is serious so it will hit the right tone.
The next segment will be the harder elements. You need to be careful about the content but not too restrictive in your delivery. Try to find a happy medium but again…if in doubt, leave it out!
> A Funny Story. This could be your make or break for a successful speech.
Tell it slowly and clearly; you might be excited to tell it but try to keep it clear for those in the whole room to hear. Have a beginning, a middle and an end to the story but don’t let it drag on…brevity is key!
While ex-girlfriends are not out of bounds as a topic, it’s probably best if you can to avoid them. Aim for the story to be between 150 and 300 words otherwise it could drag on for people. Don’t make any stories up as you run the risk of insulting those that you include.
The Best Man Speech: The Nervous Moments
Even the most prolific of speakers will have their nervous moments. Sometime nerves can be a good thing because they cause a person to focus the mind on the challenge at hand. Adrenaline starts pumping and this can help you to be energised and deliver a speech filled with emotion and energy which is what you want. So don’t look at nerves as a negative; turn them on their heads and use them to drive you forward!
This is a useful video to help you calm your nerves when preparing for your best man responsibilities.
Some Tips for Dealing with the Nerves:
- Don’t drink too much in advance of the speech or it will impact on your delivery in a bad way. One or two drinks are fine to settle the nerves but no more than that.
- If you feel your delivery is being affected by your nerves, explain that to the audience; they will understand that you are not a professional speaker, nor do they expect you to be, so go easy on yourself. By explaining to the audience that you are a little nervous, your admission out loud will also help to calm you.
- Start slowly and have your notes to hand but try not to read them without looking out to your audience. Take deep breaths before you stand to take the mic and focus on doing on your best.
- Have a glass of water close by that you can use to clear your throat. Taking a drink during the speech will also help to soothe you and allow you to time to relax between segments.
- If you find that your voice is trembling, take a drink of water, take a couple of really deep breaths and try again.
Speak clearly and loudly. Speaking in a low voice shows your lack of confidence but no matter how nervous you are, be sure to sound like you are confident by raising your volume level.
- Keep your head up and stand up straight. Find a spot on the wall above your audience and focus on that. It will appear that you are looking at them but you won’t actually be distracted by anyone.
So that’s our advice for delivering a well presented best man speech! The main thing to remember is that you should be honoured to have been asked to be a best man so savour the moment and try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Enjoy the day, relax but don’t lose the diamond ring!
Thanks Barry, that sounds like great advice.