Best Man Speech: A Public Speaking Coach’s Ultimate Guide

Ed Darling
12 min read

What you’ll learn:

  • How to prepare for your Best Man speech.
  • A speech structure you can steal.
  • How to balance comedy and sincerity.
  • Speaking confidently on the day.
best man speech at wedding

Best Man speech coming up?

Let me guess…

Up until now, you’ve managed to swerve public speaking.

Then the day finally comes.

Your best mate lands you the dubious honour of being his Best Man, and your immediate next thought is: “Wait, do I have to give a speech?”

As a public speaking coach, I hear this story often. Usually around summer when wedding season kicks off, and Best Men around the country feel a collective panic at the prospect of giving their speech.

Here’s the funny thing…

Of all the speeches I help people with, the Best Man speech is the most fun.

Not convinced?

In this article, I’ll walk you through my BEST advice for creating a stand-out Best Man speech, and enjoying your moment in the spotlight.

Buckle up, and let’s get started!

man giving his best man speech

Your Best Man Speech is the easiest you’ll ever give.

It’s easy to overthink your Best Man speech.

Imagining the worst case scenario where you fluff your lines and let everyone down.

But there’s no need to put all that pressure on yourself.

The reality is, whether you’re a nervous first-timer or not, delivering a Best Man speech is probably the easiest speech you’ll ever give.


Because you have the best audience you could wish for.

  • They all want you to do well (for the Bride & Groom’s big day)
  • They all want to enjoy themselves and have fun.
  • They all want to have a few drinks!

This makes your Best Man speech the public speaking equivalent of an “open goal”.

As we’ll see, if you follow the next steps, there’s nothing to stop you scoring a huge win.

So take a deep breath, trust you’ll be okay — and let’s get to work.

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Forget being “over-prepared”, confidence comes from putting in the work.

There’s a common misconception about “over preparing” a speech.

You might hear people say (or tell yourself):

  • “I don’t want it to sound stale.”
  • “I’d rather improvise on the day.”
  • “I’m better when I think in the moment.”


Sounds good, doesn’t work.

Noone warns athletes, singers or actors about being “over prepared”, do they?

The top performers in every field know doing their best = being as prepared as possible.

If you want to worry about anything, it’s being under-prepared.

That’s not to say your Best Man speech requires a 6-month training bootcamp. But confidence fundamentally comes from competence — and that means putting in the work.


Here’s where to start.

Gather your Best Man speech ideas.

One of the biggest challenges for any speech is knowing where to start.

Google “How to start a Best Man Speech” and you’ll get plenty of cheesy one-liners.

But no one knows the Groom’s childhood stories, embarrassing teenage phases, or ridiculous stag-night antics like you do. 

(Unless it ended up in the local news…)

So do this first:

Think about every story, anecdote or event that involves the Groom.

Search your memory-bank as far back as possible, looking for anything that’s humerous, interesting or endearing.

Don’t begin writing this into a speech yet — just get yourself a few sheets of paper and note down everything that comes to mind.

Here’s some useful prompts:

  • When did you first meet?
  • What was their nickname at school?
  • What have they gotten into trouble for?
  • What triumphs or tribulations have they faced?
  • What ridiculous hobbies, interests or fashion trends have they followed?

Remember, you’re not just looking for the Groom’s negative traits. Note down any memorable moments that highlight their redeeming qualities too:

  • Are they someone who’ll help a stranger?
  • Are they the go-to person in a crisis?
  • Are they unflappably optimistic?
  • Are they a science whiz?

Don’t judge your ideas at this stage.

If it comes to mind, jot it down.

Next, we need a speech structure

best man speech reading from phone
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  2. Compelling Content
  3. Engaging Delivery
Take the scorecard to find out how ready you are to speak in public – and receive a report that’ll tell you exactly what to work on.


Follow a Best Man speech structure (like this one)

Once you’ve compiled a list of the Groom’s shameful secrets, hilarious encounters and charming anecdotes — it’s time to get writing.

Which doesn’t mean “put pen to paper and see where it goes”, because you’ll either hit a dead end, or end up rambling.

Instead, make your life easier (and your speech better) by following a set speech structure.

In fact, let’s just go ahead and lay this out for you.

Here’s how I’d structure your typical Best Man’s speech:

Briefly introduce yourself to everyone as the Best Man. Aim to set the tone and achieve a “quick win” by getting the audience laughing as soon as possible.

“I was of course deeply honoured to be chosen by Dan as his Best Man, until he pointed out no one else was available for the role”.


Take a moment to mention any special guests, and to acknowledge the Bride. This is a great chance to contrast the previous humour with something that’s meaningful and sincere.

“But in all seriousness, it really is my honour to be here today as Dan’s Best Man — and as his long suffering friend of 30 years, I couldn’t be happier to see him find his perfect soulmate. Jenny, you look amazing today — as do all of the Wedding party. Dan’s done better than any of us could have expected…”


Time to bring it back to the Groom, and what better place to start than how you both met. This is where your stories from highschool, university or early careers come into things. Pick out ideas from your list, and feel free to exaggerate slightly for effect.

“I first met Dan back in St. David’s High School. He was team-captain, head-boy, and always the most popular person to be around. We all imagined he’d go on to play for England. Fast-forward a few decades, I’m not sure where it all went wrong?”

Ideally share a few different stories or anecdotes here, and try to link them up so that one flows into the next.

“At the ripe old age of 39, Dan’s sporting tastes have matured. But his passion for athleticism remains strong. You’ll often find him at the Golf Club — sitting at the bar, with a pint and a packet of crisps.”

A great Best Man speech should be fun and imaginative. After you’ve told a few stories about the Groom, now is your chance to do something a bit different and raise the humour even more.

For instance, you could:

  • Share “three life lessons” you’ve learned from being his best mate.
  • Write a tongue-in-cheek poem about the Groom’s best qualities.
  • Give a “top 5 count-down” of his most hilarious moments.

“Dan has always considered himself a leader among men. While I’m not sure how many of us in this room would agree, today I’d like to share with you 3 incredible examples of leadership from Dan’s life. Starting with his unfortunate debut as Section Manager in Tesco’s…”

This might only last a minute or two, but it’s a chance to be creative and make your Best Man speech memorable for years to come.

After you’ve (hopefully) crescendoed the last section with a good laugh at the Groom, it’s time to bring it back to the Bride, their family, and their future. You want to switch gears again, back to being sincere and meaningful.

“So as we’ve learned, Dan’s life has much to teach all of us — about failure, about success, and about getting yourself into ridiculous situations — but also, thanks to meeting Jenny, about finding true love.”

Now is also a good time to talk about how the Groom has changed for the better since meeting their other half, and the Bride’s positive effect on them:

“Since meeting Jenny, Dan has finally stepped up into the best version of himself. He’s happier, healthier, staying active, and finally dressing his age. All though he still refuses to let go of the bright red skinny jeans he fashioned at 19.”


Toast to the couple:

Once you’ve finished talking about the happy couple’s future, all that’s left is to raise a toast. Keep it short and sweet — and if it feels right, throw in one final punch-line to finish off.

“So I’d like to raise a glass to the happy couple, may they share a beautiful life together. [Cheers] Here’s to the Bride, the Groom… and of course, his precious skinny red jeans!”

best man speaker with mic

There’s no right or wrong way to write your Best Man speech, but following a structure is always a good idea. 

Use this as a guide to speed up your speechwriting, and make sure your Best Man speech flows smoothly.

Feel free to copy the above structure — but remember to make it your own.

Next, how to add humour….


A Best Man speech balances humour with sincerity.

You might have noticed something in the above example.

I tried to find a balance between humour and sincerity.

When writing your speech, you want to alternate between these moments of laughter and meaning.

Put simply: get the audience laughing, then get them saying “aww”.

This is the quintessential style of the Best Man speech — and the more you switch between comedy and sincerity, the more engaging, funny and emotional it will be.

Notice this isn’t:

  • Ripping the Groom to shreds for 5 minutes straight.
  • Leaving everyone feeling painfully embarrassed for him.
  • Telling a string of cheesy one-liners or shock-comedy jokes.

Yes, your job as Best Man is to give everyone a good laugh at the Groom’s expense.

But make sure it’s original, tasteful, and that ultimately comes from a place of love for your best mate.

Should I memorise my Best Man speech, or take notes?

You’ve written your Best Man speech, now what?

When it comes to delivering it back on the day, you have three main options.

  1. Print out your speech and read it.
  2. Condense your speech into bullet-points.
  3. Memorise your speech.

All of these options can work, but which is best?

Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Option A: Printing out your Best Man speech

This is the easiest and safest option — you don’t have to rely on memory, and you wont end up going “off-script”.

If you’re a nervous speaker, or don’t have the time to memorise, I’d recommend reading from a script.

Just make sure to:

  • Keep your speech securely mounted on a clip-board or printed on extra thick paper. So it doesn’t flap about as you speak, or get crumpled in your back pocket.
  • Practise sight-reading (reading a speech while keeping eye-contact with your audience) so it doesn’t feel like you’re literally reading word for word.

Practise reading your speech at a slower pace, finding pauses, and looking up to your audience between each line. If you can do that, there’s no problem whatsoever with simply reading your Best Man speech on the day.

This is the middle option — rather than a full script, you stand up with a list of bullet-points or que-cards.

It means you won’t be at risk of drawing a complete blank. While at the same time, you have the freedom to speak off the cuff.

If you decide to deliver your Best Man speech this way, make sure to practise beforehand with the same notes/cards you’ll have on the day (then don’t lose them.)

Brave or foolish?

Depends how much work you put into it.

Memory really does work like a muscle, the more you use it, the better it gets. But if you’ve never had to memorise a speech before — don’t underestimate how much time it takes.

Remembering even 95% of your speech could still mean you get stuck half-way through and lose your thread.

If you’re planning to get up without any notes, you need to be ALL in.

I’d aim for one hour of practise time per-minute of speech.

So if you have a 5 minute speech and 4 weeks before the wedding, that means practising your speech for 10 minutes (roughly twice through) every single day.

Do that, and you should be word-perfect on the day.

This is my favourite, as it gives you the best of both worlds.

Have your entire speech script with you, but memorise the first “opening” and “closing” minutes of your speech.

This means you can begin your speech confidently, without notes, connecting directly with the audience.

Then as you get into things, you can refer to your script while reciting stories and anecdotes.

Then at the end, you can drop the script and take in every moment of your final minutes on stage, delivering your toast and close from memory.

Again, there’s no right or wrong with this.

Choose the option you’re most comfortable with. But remember, it never hurts to have your speech in your back-pocket, just in case.

Whether you recite from memory or script, the next step is honing your delivery style.

Finding your Best Man speaking style.

A Best Man speech should be engaging, witty and delivered with a slightly exaggerated style.

But how do you pull that off?

The first step is finding your speaking style.

Start by looking at different comedians or speakers, and seeing who’s stage persona you most relate with.

Are you the “Jack Dee” dead-pan type? Laid back, sarcastic and with a dry sense of humour.

Or more the “Lee Evans’’ type? The class clown, always full of energy and happy playing the fool.

There are many different speaking styles that will work for a Best Man speech, the trick is finding yours.

No matter how ‘unfunny’ you might feel, everyone has a style that can work for them.

Find yours — exaggerate it — and you’ll have the audience in the palm of your hand.

Best Man Speech best-practises.

Once you’ve found your speaking style, there’s a few best practises you’ll want to follow in order to deliver a great Best Man speech.

Let’s fire through some of the big ones:

Unless you’re really playing up to the miserable Jack Dee style — It’s always a good idea to start with a smile. It’ll relax you into the speech, and warm up your audience. Don’t be a speech-bot: smile, laugh, and let your facial expressions add to the humour.

Public speaking is visual as well as auditory, and the audience wants to see you speak. So get your hands out front and get comfortable gesturing while you speak. It’ll make your stories far more engaging.

If there’s a big crowd, you’ll probably have a mic. If the mic’s on a stand, you’ve got it easy. But often you’ll have to hold the mic while you speak. This makes the previous point more difficult (and doubly-so if you’re also reading from a script.) Whatever the setup will be, make sure to practise at home in the same way. Grab your script, grab a hairbrush, and get going.

Once you’re up there, it’s easy to focus on certain people. You might fix your attention on the Groom, or on your other mates, without realising it. But as the Best Man you want to share your eye-contact evenly around the audience, so everyone feels included. Practise looking left, right and centre while reciting your speech.

Following on from that, remember to consider your whole audience when it comes to content. Raunchy jokes and innuendos are to be expected, but consider toning things down if there’ll be children present.

Nervous speakers tend to stay rooted to one spot. But feel free to move around the space if you wish to. Don’t shuffle around aimlessly though, choose three spots: stage-centre, stage-left, and stage-right — then alternate between these from section to section.

The voice is the most powerful tool in public speaking. To get the basics right: project your voice, stick to a steady pace, avoid using too many filler-words, and speak with melody rather than the dreaded mono-tone.

Okay, speech written, delivery practised… What’s left?

The Best Man Speech Mindset

Even with all the preparation in the world, you’ll still feel some nerves on the day.

But those butterflies don’t have to throw you off.

Using a few simple mindset reframes, you can get your nerves working for you, rather than against you.

Here’s one of the best reframes for nervous speakers:

Enthusiasm beats confidence.

Let me explain.

People put confidence on a pedestal. We feel that looking and sounding confident is absolutely critical for doing a good job. But in reality, confidence isn’t something you can truly control.

Enthusiasm on the other hand, is a quality you can choose to tap into — even when you’re feeling anxious.

Enthusiasm is about remembering what this means to you, who you’re speaking for, and the feelings you want to impart on everyone through your speech: happiness, laughter, joy.

So let go of “needing” to be confident, and try to stop worrying about how others may judge you.

Because any audience will forgive you for being a little nervous if they can sense your enthusiasm.

A final word on your Best Man speech.

Your Best Man speech truly is an honour.

The groom has chosen you to fulfil this role.

Your task is simple, to bring a moment of humour, fun, sincerity and storytelling to their wedding day.

You’re not there to be the world’s most confident public speaker, or to impress everyone. You are there to entertain — and the more you enjoy it, the more everyone else will too.

So really, your main job is to ENJOY yourself.

If you follow these steps, put in the work, and make sure you’re fully prepared — there’s nothing to stop you having a great experience.

Who knows, your Best Man speech might change how you feel about public speaking in general.

Need support with your speech? Get in touch and I’ll be happy to help.

Best of luck, with your Best Man speech.


Head Coach and co-founder at Project Charisma.

charismatic speaker scorecard

Discover Your Charisma Score!

The Charismatic Speaker Scorecard benchmarks your ability to speak in an engaging way, and identifies opportunities to improve based on three key areas:
  1. Confident Mindset
  2. Compelling Content
  3. Engaging Delivery
Take the scorecard to find out how ready you are to speak in public – and receive a report that’ll tell you exactly what to work on.