If you have been asked to be the best man at a friend or family member's wedding, one of your key responsibilities will be to give a speech. The best man's speech is often one of the highlights of a wedding day, and choosing the right jokes and one-liners is a crucial part of a great delivery.
About the best man's speech
The best man normally gives a speech as part of raising a toast to the newly married couple during the reception or dinner service. The best man will normally stand up and gain everyone's attention by lightly tapping a filled wine glass with his fork. Once the best man has the attention of the room, he will proceed to give a speech to the married couple, ideally entertaining the room and raising some laughs, while still being affectionate toward the bride and groom.
The ideal ingredients for your speech
A good speech is one that is memorable. In order to be memorable, the speech should be relatively short, with plenty of punchy jokes and one-liners that embarrass the bride or groom a little but don't go too far and cause humiliation. Delivery of the speech needs to be loud (you may be in a large room) and simple, with plenty of hand gestures and open body language to attract the crowd's attention. Don't be frightened to use props, but above all, keep things simple. The focus of the speech should be humor, but don't try anything that doesn't come naturally. Each speech is unique to the speaker.
Choosing the right material
There can often be a fine line between humorous and offensive when it comes to the best man's speech. This is, after all, a family occasion, so while jokes that are a little bit provocative can be quite funny, anything too crude may be deemed unsuitable. It is always best to allow for improvisation. Somebody is bound to interject. Something is bound to go wrong. Something will almost certainly have happened earlier in the day that you can choose to refer to. The speech needn't be a constant barrage of laughs, either. The best man is not a stand-up comedian, so don't be too disappointed if you don't receive endless guffaws.
Sources of material
Many speeches include material sourced from elsewhere. There are countless books about giving speeches and offering famous quotations or jokes from other speeches and speakers. Similarly, you should be able to find plenty of material online. Various Web sites allow you to search quotations and jokes by subject matter. If your groom is a keen fisherman, for example, then you should be able to find a fishy pun to throw into the proceedings. It is always a good idea to try and personalize the humor as much as possible so that it means something to the bride and groom. A famous line from a song can also make a great ingredient for the right best man's speech.
Finding the right combination
If you want to play to the mood of the audience at a wedding reception, the best advice is to follow a laugh with an 'awww.' That means doing or saying something funny, closely followed by an anecdote or response that praises or shows affection toward the bride and or groom. Ultimately, this is their special day, and your speech should contain the type of material that makes it special and memorable in the right way.