Author: The Barking Dog

Best Man Speech – keeping it real?

There’s a common problem with all best man speeches, and that’s: what you can actually say? Most best men have heaps of stories about the groom, and most of those will be only appropriate for his the close company of his friends, so what can you talk about in the speech?

Well, it all depends on what route you’re going down. If this is a short and heartfelt toast, then you’ve got nothing to worry about. However, if you’re looking at a slightly more expanded speech – and by that we mean around the 5-7 minute mark, then you’ve got think very carefully about what you’re going to include.

Obviously, a longer speech can’t be just heartfelt emotion, as it would be pretty impossible to get through, and you’ll inevitably just end up repeating yourself. So, in this case you need to take the stories which can be adapted for a wider audience. Think about stories where you can allude to something quite edgy, and so still have the impact, but not be so explicit that you’re going to offend someone.

You can also find entertainment through simple things like the groom’s job, hobbies, passions and dislikes. Maybe it’s that ‘Chandler’ ability to have a job that nobody understands, or the fact that he’s really an overgrown gamer masquerading as a management consultant? There’s always a way to lighten the load of the speech – and that’s exactly what the comedy in a best man speech is for: to give it balance.

Any best man who is under the impression they’ve turned into a stand up for the day, is getting things badly wrong. You need to warm, inclusive and genuinely funny things in the speech to balance out the more meaningful parts, and it should not be a comedy barrage.

So, keep it real: this is a friend or a brother making a speech about someone they care about. It’s not your opportunity to prove your comedy genius and it’s not a character assassination either.

Best man speeches for brothers

Many guys decide that the person they can rely on most to make their best man speech is the very person they’ve grown up with: their brother. This tends to be a convenient solution as it means you don’t have to publicly decide which of your friends you like the best, and more often than not, brothers will have a more sympathetic approach to wholesale embarrassment in front of the family. However, there are issues, and they can be pretty big ones too.

Many brothers, despite the fact that they share parents and a home together, don’t actually know each other that well. Very few brothers that we write for have spent their childhoods hanging out together – chances are that most older brothers see their younger sibling as an annoying inconvenience, and so develop games of jeopardy as a form of punishment. That’s not to say you don’t love each other and enjoy each other’s company; you just don’t know the stories or what he’s really all about. Age differences can really accentuate this problem, as very often the older brother has left home by the time his baby brother has teenage years. So, what do you talk about, when on the face of it there’s nothing to talk about?

In these situations we like to stick to what we do know rather than worrying about what we don’t. You will have a better idea of his character than most people, so a simple comparison of the early memories compared to latter day brother is a great policy. However, more than that focus on his likes, dislikes, hobbies, jobs, haircuts, fashion sense and semin disasters. All of these topics can provide limitless opportunities to have some fun and also create a picture of your brother from a very personal perspective. If you can draw parallels with his current likes, dislikes and hobbies etc. then so much the better, as this will resonate with his friends from more recent times.

What you’re not able to do is list a lot of stories, and this is no bad thing. Endless stories of the groom in compromising situations can be tedious if the story telling isn’t spot on, and it caan all too easily lead to toe curling embarrassment if you really get it wrong. You could try to get some material from his school/university/work friends, but in our experience it’s way easier to get blood out of a stone, and in the unlikely event they do come back to you with something, it could be so delayed that fitting it in is going to add last minute chaos.

So, forget what you don’t know and celebrate all the bits about your brother that you do, and nobody will realise for an instant that you haven’t recounted 4 stories about him trashed with a traffic cone on his head.

Best Man Speech – Rapper’s Delight

Making a best man speech for most guys is way out of their comfort zone, and we get that. Usually the only times you’re really required to stand up and talk out loud, are for the school play, or to explain why you’ve been passing notes in class. This is probably the root of the problem when it comes to public speaking because most of the time it’s associated with negativity. You’re either doing something you’d really not be doing, or explaining why you did something you really shouldn’t have been doing. this doesn’t get any better in adult life where that type of scenario usually ends up in a custodial sentence.

So, that’s why so many guys around the world try to find a neat way of that dilemma, or at the very least come up with something that lightens the load a little. Increasingly men are so terrified of making a speech that decide not do one at all, or invest heavily and go down the video route. Both of them amount to the same thing: you’re basically so gutless you can’t stand up and talk about someone who clearly thinks a lot of you. Get a grip.

Other guys like to pick up an acoustic guitar and knock out a funny tune for 5 minutes, quite forgetting that 5 minutes in the world of comedy songs, is about 3 years in normal time. You might think that the verses are just getting funnier and funnier, but just like the poem format, it begins to grate very quickly.

Of course the perfect combination of the song and the poem, is the wedding rap. Now, we really don’t care too much for tradition, so if something works but goes against the perceived idea of what’s ok at a wedding, then we’re fine with it. And when it comes to the wedding rap…we’re really not fine.

You might think we would say that because we’re speech writers, but many guys are not going to use our service, and so this is for them. There’s a good reason why most great rappers are streetwise, hussle meisters with an edge the size of the Golden Gate bridge, because that’s what it takes to pull it off. Yes, Ed Sheeran is a white ginger nerd type, but with the exception of all the multi millionaire rappers he’s made godparents to his son, everyone else thinks he’s a joke. You could say you were doing it in a post modern ironic way…that might work for the young people there, but try explaining that to Uncle Terry.

Just as someone should have said to Ed Sheeran, leave the rapping to the professionals and stick to what you can do. Failing that draw inspiration from Grandmaster Melle Mel and The Furious Five’s Whitelines…d-d-d-d-d-d-don’t do it, do it, do it…baby.

Best Man Speech – The Poem

Many of the innovations in best man speeches are driven by pure fear. Most best men will happily admit to not being that jazzed about standing up about making a room full of people laugh. Here at, we get that – the pressure to be funny is intense and if it can cripple professional comedians, then of course it’s going to have an effect on the guy from IT.

This means that guys around the world are looking for ways to somehow alleviate that pressure and bring about laughs in a much less stand up comedy type way. The wedding video is growing in popularity although takes hours to produce and/or a lot of cash…followed closely by wedding songs, handy if you can play the guitar…a little more taxing if you’re a bongo player…and the budget version of them all….the poem.

It seems that although creative writing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, a disproportionate number of men like to think they can turn their hand to poetry. Although their idea of poetry and that of their English teacher, might be two very different things.

This might sound predictable, but the wedding poem is something to be very much avoided. Poetry recitals to dedicated poetry fans is one thing. They’re happy to sit there for hours and listen to endless carefully crafted lines in ever swirling patterns and pentameters. Listening to John the builder run through his rhyming couplets is a very different ball game.

It can work for maybe one or two lines, but making it the speech and nothing else, and so going on for 5 minutes or so, is going to extremely painful for all concerned. By minute 3 the sweetness of your effort is going to be eclipsed the ever more toe curling writing, and the awkwardness of guests sitting there absorbing it whilst doing their best to avoid eye contact with anyone.

In order to patch it through to 8 minutes you’re going to have to include increasingly obscure stories whose fleeting references thanks to the brevity of poetry are soon going to be rendered unfathomable. Just stick to a well drilled, well written funny and balanced speech, and neatly swerve death by best man poem.

Two Best men?

Having two best men is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the UK where the groom’s fondness for best man speeches knows no bounds. Ok, we get it, you can’t decide between your brother and a great friend, or maybe two great friends…or maybe two brothers…it goes on.

The problem is, you’re looking at it in completely the wrong way. It’s never a question of how to include the people who are most important to you, it;s how to make sure the speeches are as effective as possible on the day. If you can’t choose between two people – and really get a grip – then make one of them the guy in charge of partying, and the other can take care of the speech. It’s by far and a way the best policy, because get it wrong and it can all to easily become death by best man speech.

We’re going to say it right here: some grooms love having the spotlight in them, and having two best men talk about them stokes their ego like you wouldn’t believe. It’s the only reason a groom would insist on two people talking about them at length….at the very least it’s misjudged, but really it’s slightly self obsessed and revolting. No, really a little bit more about me…

If you are tow guts making the best man speech, then try everything you can to make it happen together. Nothing is going to grate more than guests having to sit through two best man speeches, and for ht eugy who steps up last, it’s a hiding to nothing. Everyone will have had enough, and if the first best man was good, you’re toast, if the first best man was awful…you’re still toast.

Treat it as a double act where you each take alternate chunks of the speech. That way there’s doubling up of content and no rehashing of gags. It really does need both best men to cooperate, so if that looks unlikely, then get on first, look after number 1, and let the other guy reap the whirlwind.

Kick out the prop!

Increasingly over the years, best men have started turning to props in the belief that it will enhance their performance and guarantee a few laughs. We’ve got to say right from the off that nothing beats a really great speech. No Props. No videos. No gimp suits. And no searching for wifi signals.

It does sound really tempting on paper to have something that will instantly make people laugh and take away all those nerves, the only thing is…it rarely work out like that. If you’re holding up a teddy that he still likes to go to bed with…some handcuffs from the stag weekend etc etc only a very few people will be able to see what it is you’re holding. The vast majority will only have to imagine how funny it might be, and usually that’s not very funny at all. Worst still, people will start to talk amongst themselves about how they can’t see, and you also probably get a few who will get up and starting moving around for a better view. The whole thing just engenders complete chaos.

Videos are becoming more common, and that’s because a lot of guys are paralysed by fear at the thought of standing up and making people laugh. We get that, but really if you’ haven’t got the balls to grab this opportunity and celebrate the man who’s bestowed this honour upon you, you should probably hand it over to someone else. Watching a video we can do any time, it’s impersonal and lacks a sense of occasion. You can, and need to do better than this.

Some guys decide that they want to share photographs, which is great but you have the same issue with people not being able to see, and also the very minute you introduce something like a photograph, everyone will instantly stop listening to a word you’re saying. It’s completely counter productive, and in the end makes only harder for you to get them back on side and land your speech.

So forget props, let people hear it from you, and not through some powerpoint presentation. You’ve got the rest of your days to reflect on this speech, so getting it right on the day is really important.

Best Man speech length

The length of a speech is probably one of the most important factors contributing to its success. A lot of guys are understandably feeling really nervous, and so because of that want to be up there for as short a time as possible. You really need to resist that urge. Don’t get us wrong – there’s nothing worse than talking for too long, but busting out a 3 minute speech is not going to kick it and is just going to make it look like you couldn’t be bothered.

Things are different in the US. Shorter speeches are the order of the day, and most best men will only speak for about 4 minutes maximum. In the UK and Australia, the talking time is more like 8 minutes, that’s what people expect.

The flip side to this are those best men that think talking for longer means the more likely it is they’re going to say something funny. They couldn’t be more wrong. In fact it’s the absolute opposite. In the UK if you’re still standing after the 10 minute mark, you’re on increasingly borrowed time, and guests will ever grow to resent you. We’ve heard many stories of guys who thought 40 minute speeches were where it’s at, and they ruined the speech experience for everyone. You need to remember that in most countries, apart from Australia, you’re the last guy on, and if there’s been 3 or 4 speeches before you, guests could have been sat listening for well over an hour. They are at the very threshold of their attention span, and that needs to be taken into account.

In the US you need your speech to be about 800 words, in the UK it should be around 1300 words. If you read at a steady pace, then the timings will be perfect.

A question of love

If there’s one thing a groom doesn’t want to be reminded of in his wedding day, it’s former girlfriends, and if you think that he’s not keen, then multiply that by 1 million, and you get the bride’s opinion on the matter.

However, for obvious reasons, it’s the ‘go to’ material for best men all over the world, and that’s why so many best man speeches end in disaster. For some reason a lot of best men still see the best man speech as being an opportunity to ritually humiliate the groom, and there’s no better way to achieve that then bringing his love life into focus. The days of making wedding guests squirm with sordid details of just how the groom went about finding that special someone in his life, should be well and truly in the past, but they’re not.

If you’re thinking that this speech is anything else than an amazing opportunity to celebrate the groom in a really funny, entertaining and warm way, then you’re getting it wrong. Let’s be clear, it needs to be funny, and genuinely funny at that. There’s nothing worse then delivering something you think should make people laugh and it doesn’t work. And the comedy is really important because without it there’s no balance to the speech. You can’t just stand up and spend 5 minutes saying what a great guy he is…well, you could, but it would be ritual torture for everyone.

So, leave the former girlfriends out of the equation. This day is about one person’s sensibilities more than any other, and that’s the bride. Upset her by suggesting she wasn’t the first love of the groom’s life can be a game changer for all the wrong reasons. The history of the best man speech is littered with the corpses of friendships that went west when the best man didn’t take time to understand what’s funny and what’s not. Don’t become one of them.

Be the best man!

A lot of guys when they come to write their best man speech, tend to get the focus of the speech a little bit muddled. In other words they see it as an exercise to talk about themselves, a subject they’re pretty keen on. So, then what follows is an awkward, few minutes, where the guests are left wondering when you’re going to mention the groom.

This obviously needs to be avoided at all costs. At the very least it’s going to make you look misguided, and at worst a self obsessed control freak…and that’s not a good look.

Sure, it’s fine to recall stories and events when you were there – that makes complete sense, but when YOU are the punchline to the story, then forget it. Don’t even be tempted to start a speech with ‘when I was asked to be best man….’ it’s another vehicle for talking about yourself, and is just meaningless filler.

This is the most basic advice, but it’s rarely followed, which is why so many best man speeches don’t work, and are the talking point later for all the wrong reasons. Stick to the basics: make it about the groom and not you, and you won’t go far wrong.