Nothing is more special than standing up for your brother as his best man on his big day. Not only do you get to stand by his side while he says “I do” to the love of his life, you have the privilege of toasting him and his new spouse in your best man’s speech.
While most best men look forward to the party aspect of the wedding, many aren’t quite as enthusiastic about giving a speech in front of a room full of people. If you’re not keen on public speaking or simply need some help in crafting a speech, why not let our best man brother speech guide be your secret weapon?
A great best man speech will not only talk about what makes your brother such an amazing guy, it may bring laughter, tears or a bit of both. The key, however, is to grab the interest of the audience right from the get-go.
Sound like a daunting task? Our guide will not only walk you through the dos and don’ts of best man speech writing, we’ve even written a couple of great examples to inspire you in your own writing.
15 Best Man Brother Speech Dos and Don’ts
Before setting pen to paper, check out our comprehensive list of writing and speaking dos and don’ts. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to crafting and delivering a great speech your brother will love.
1. Do brainstorm and seek help from family
Writing a speech isn’t easy, not even for gifted writers. One of the best ways to get started is to brainstorm ideas either alone or with other family members who know your brother well.
If your writer’s block extends to brainstorming, simply think about your memories of your brother. Which memories make you laugh or feel emotional?
As you volley ideas about, make a point form list of your best memories and ideas. Once you’ve got a good list, it’s time to consider which one or two stories would best hold the attention of your audience. Once you’ve made your choice, start adding supporting details to expand on your ideas.
If you’ve chosen two memories, it may become apparent that two is too many as you flesh out your ideas. If your speech is becoming cumbersome, choose your best story and make it the focal point of your speech. Always err on the side of too short than too long or you will lose the attention of the audience.
2. Do focus on your opening
As the brother of the groom, you will likely be one of the first people to speak, so making your opening memorable is important. Start by introducing yourself as the groom’s brother, but do so in a creative way.
Rather than saying, “Hello, I’m Greg, best man and brother of the groom,” try something like, “Hi everyone, my name is Greg, Lyle’s best man, older brother and childhood partner in crime.” Not only will it get a few laughs, but it will capture everyone’s attention right away and make them more attentive to the rest of your speech.
Pro tip: Do not offer thanks to guests or vendors. That is the job of the host of the wedding whether that is the bride and groom or their parents.
3. Do use a common theme
Finding a theme for your speech is one of the best ways to make it successful. Not only is it easier for the audience to follow, it will also be easier for you to deliver.
If telling funny stories about your childhood with your brother isn’t your style, talk instead about his best qualities and center your speech around them.
Maybe you’ll want to talk about how easy-going and likable he is. Maybe you’ll want to talk about his intelligence, sense of humor or compassion for others. Whatever traits you choose, it’s important to find a way to tie it all together so your speech will be smooth and cohesive.
You can also wrap up by finding a way to bring his love interest into the speech on that same topic. Perhaps you can talk about the groom meeting his sweetheart through their shared love of art. Or maybe they bonded at college while peer tutoring younger students. By sticking to an underlying theme, it will make your speech both enjoyable and easy to follow.
Pro tip: A big part of making a successful speech is being sober. Make sure you limit your drinks until the toasts are over.
4. Do keep your speech short
If you’ve ever been at a wedding and had to sit through a never ending speech, you probably already know why this rule is so important.
While guests will laugh when a speech is funny or get sentimental when it’s sweet, the truth is, they are more interested in getting on with the party than in listening to speeches. If your speech is too long, they will stop listening and instead be thinking about what kind of drink to order next at the bar.
The ideal best man speech comes in at three minutes or less. While that may seem hard to adhere to, do your best because keeping your speech under the three-minute mark is best for audience engagement.
5. Do share a few great memories about your brother
As the brother of the groom, you’re likely one of the people who knows him best. The best memories to share are those that describe what kind of a person your brother is. Is he adventurous? Kind? Funny? Creative?
Finding a memory or two that allows you to transition from the memory into who he is today will help your speech to flow naturally and will save you from having to make abrupt and awkward transitions.
6. Don’t talk about yourself
As the brother of the groom, you and he likely have a lot of great memories together. And that can make it easy to fall into the trap of telling stories where you and the groom are in the starring roles. But remember, your part in the stories should only be that of a supporting character. Each and every story needs to revolve around the groom.
After introducing yourself and explaining your relationship to the groom, only put yourself into the story when absolutely necessary. Remember, the goal is to talk about why your brother — and his new spouse — are so amazing.
7. Do talk about the new addition to your family
No best man speech would be complete without referencing your brother’s new bride or groom.
While your speech should start by reminiscing about your brother, it’s important to transition into talking about the new addition to your family.
It could be as simple as stating that you’ve never seen your brother happier since meeting his soulmate. Or you can talk about why you think they are so perfect for each other. Maybe you can mention how seamlessly she or he has fit into the family. Whatever you choose, be sure to integrate your brother’s new spouse into the speech while still making it mostly about him.
8. Don’t ever talk about exes
One of the worst things you could do to your brother during your speech is to bring up any of his past romantic relationships. It’s also incredibly gauche to talk about exes in front of your family, friends and his new spouse. Even if a story about an ex involves a funny anecdote, leave it out of your speech. Stick to stories that only involve friends, family or the new spouse so you won’t upset anyone.
9. Avoid inside jokes
We get, as brother to the groom you probably have a ton of jokes that you share together. Inside jokes, however, won’t translate well to an audience. If the wedding guests don’t know what you’re talking about, they won’t listen to the rest of your speech.
10. Do be funny (but don’t force it)
Best man speeches have long been seen as an excuse to roast the groom and tell a few jokes. If your speech is one punchline after another, however, it will fall flat. While reminiscing about something funny that happened to your brother can work well in a speech, keep actual jokes to a minimum.
You also need to keep your anecdotes audience-appropriate. If children and elderly relatives are in attendance, telling a story about your brother getting drunk and skinny dipping in the middle of the winter is a really bad idea. Keep drunken stunts and mentions of nudity and sex out of your speech to avoid horrifying your grandparents or embarrassing your brother in front of his new in-laws.
While going for a laugh is totally fine, it’s not OK to tell a pile of jokes at your brother’s expense. Roasts at a wedding are simply in bad taste.
Pro tip: No matter what the makeup of the audience, do not curse during your speech, even if it is part of a joke. Vulgar language is always inappropriate at a wedding.
11. Don’t be afraid to show emotion
All too often, men feel they have to keep their emotions under control — either by cracking jokes or avoiding mention of anything the least bit heartfelt. To truly have an outstanding speech, however, showing at least some emotion is essential, especially for the brother of the groom.
Whether you talk about how your brother is your best friend, how proud you are of him or simply how wonderful it’s been to witness him meeting and falling for his soulmate, find a way to let your brother know how much he means to you. It will not only touch the hearts of your parents, grandparents and any other siblings you have, but will warm the hearts of your brother and his new spouse too.
12. Don’t talk too fast
If you’re feeling nervous about speaking in front of a crowd, the natural reaction is to speak quickly so you can get your moment in the limelight over with as quickly as possible. Talking too fast, however, could make you stumble over your words and will make your time at the mic embarrassing for you and awkward for the audience.
If you’re battling nerves, take a few deep breaths before getting to the mic and then do your best to deliver your speech at a normal conversational pace. Don’t forget to pause in the right spots to give guests time to laugh. If you share a funny story and don’t pause, people won’t have a chance to react and they will be less engaged for the remainder of your speech.
13. Don’t forget to practice
Whether you’re comfortable with public speaking or not, practice is a vital part of a successful speech. It’s not about memorizing lines. It’s about ensuring a natural delivery at the wedding reception.
That said, there really is no optimal number of times you should practice. Most public speaking experts suggest rehearsing until the speech flows out in a natural way. For some people that might be five times, for others 10, for others, even more. You’ll know you’re ready when you feel at ease.
- Practicing in front of friends to see if they have suggestions.
- Giving your speech in front of the mirror.
- Recording yourself and listening back.
Not only do these steps help you to fine-tune the content of your speech, they help you to perfect your pace and body language.
14. Do end with a toast
As the brother of the groom, your speech is likely one of the most anticipated of the night, so be sure to end it on a high note by offering your congratulations to your brother and his spouse. Give everyone a chance to stand and then raise your glass to the newlyweds with all of your family and friends.
15. Do introduce the next speaker
If someone is speaking after you, announcing that person when your speech has concluded helps for a more seamless transition between speakers. In most cases the best man’s speech is followed by the maid of honor’s tribute to the bride, but check with the groom to see what order the speeches will be given.