Congrats — you’re the best man. It’s a great feeling knowing the groom trusts you be his right hand for the wedding. But beyond the fun of planning an epic bachelor party or tearing up the dance floor comes more serious responsibilities.
So, does the best man give a speech?
Traditionally the best man gives a speech on the wedding day. Although less common, the couple may ask him to speak at the rehearsal dinner instead. However, couples are more frequently choosing not to have speeches at their wedding, which means there wouldn’t be a best man speech in that case.
Do You Need to Give a Speech as the Best Man?
Tradition dictates that as the best man you should give a speech, but that doesn’t mean you need to.
While it’s an honor being enlisted as someone’s best man, this is one duty you can skip entirely.
With that being said, there are plenty of reasons you should give a speech (keep reading)!
Why The Best Man Should Give A Speech
While the best man doesn’t need to give a speech, we highly recommend they do so (unless the bride and groom prefer not to have speeches at their wedding).
Chances are, the best man is either a close friend, a brother, or a relative of the groom.
They’ve also likely been together through thick and thin over the years, which made it an easy choice for the groom to pick him as his best man.
So who better to honor the bride and groom with a heartfelt speech?
It doesn’t have to be long
Most speeches are three to five minutes long, but if the best man wants to give a shorter speech, then that’s perfectly fine too.
Someone can help write it
Do a twist on the traditional speech
If the best man isn’t sold on giving a traditional speech, then they should consider these alternatives.
When Does The Best Man Give His Speech?
The best man traditionally speaks at the wedding reception following the maid of honor. Although less common, the couple may have him speak at the rehearsal dinner instead.
Typically, the couple schedules the best man’s speech during the rehearsal dinner if they’re concerned about time (either there are too many speakers, or they want to make room for other festivities).
If you have a strong preference for speaking at the reception and not the dinner, then politely let the bride and groom know, but be sure to emphasize you’ll keep it short and sweet.
How Long Should The Best Man Speech Be?
Keep it brief. The ideal length of a best man speech is three to five minutes, with five minutes being the most you should speak for. Any longer than that and you’ll likely bore the audience or cut into other things on the itinerary.
Just remember: The bride and groom typically allocate 15 to 20 minutes for the entire speech portion of the reception, so keep your speech short!
If you find yourself going over time while practicing, then cut down the speech (never speak faster to get under time, always speak slowly and clearly).
What Should A Best Man Speech Include?
A best man speech should include: a brief story about what makes the groom such an amazing guy, followed by how the groom’s life has changed for the better since meeting the bride, and finally end with a toast to the bride and groom.
If you want a more thorough list of what to say in a best man speech, we’ve included the seven things every speech should have:
- Introduce yourself and break the ice with a funny opening line.
- Briefly share how you met the groom.
- Transition to a funny story about you and the groom (with emphasis on the groom).
- Follow up with sincere comments about the groom.
- Touch on when you first met the bride and why you think they’ll be a great fit.
- Finish off with a closing round of sincerity and best wishes on their future together.
- Wrap it up with a toast to the bride and groom.
How Do You Write A Best Man Speech?
Start writing your best man speech by brainstorming a list of the best memories you have of the groom. From there, consider which story would be easiest to relate in front of a crowd and get started on adding supporting details to flesh out your ideas.
If brainstorming isn’t coming easily, think about your memories of the groom or the couple. What comes to mind? Which memories make you smile or laugh? Which memories make you feel emotional? Once you’ve made a list, choose the best one to base your speech on.
From there, incorporate the list above (what to say in a best man speech) while keeping the following ten things in mind as you write your speech:
- Brainstorm whenever you have writer’s block.
- Keep your speech concise (under three minutes).
- Talk about the groom and his new bride.
- Don’t talk about yourself (remember, it’s their day).
- Never talk about exes.
- Avoid inside jokes.
- Be funny (in moderation).
- Try to use a common theme.
- Practice makes perfect.
- Introduce the next speaker (if applicable).
Best Man Speech Alternatives
Are you looking forward to everything except your best man speech? Then we’ve got you covered.
Consider incorporating one of these twists on the traditional speech:
Have your speech at the rehearsal dinner
Rehearsal dinners are generally more informal and intimate, which make them ideal for best men that prefer speaking in front of a smaller, more familiar crowd.
Give a joint speech
If being the center of attention is daunting, consider giving a joint speech. Potential combinations include:
- Best man and maid of honor
- Best man and groomsman
- Best man and best man (if applicable)
Giving the speech together should make it more fun and enjoyable for everyone involved, not to mention less stressful!
Give a short speech
Keep the speech under a minute, or go straight for the toast, you can’t go wrong either way (but be sure to run it by the bride & groom first).
If you’re considering the toast route, be sure to check out this list.
Print out your speech
If it helps you deliver a stellar speech, then by all means use a print out or note cards.
Skip the speech
There’s no shame in skipping your speech altogether (it’s more common than you might think). Just be sure to give the bride and groom plenty of notice if you go this route.