Your bro is getting married! Maybe he’s your childhood best friend, cousin, or actual brother. Whatever his relation, being enlisted to be a best man is a big deal, and there’s a good amount of responsibility involved—including giving an amazing speech at the reception. If you’re feeling a little nervous about speaking in front of a crowd, that’s totally understandable. But with a little forethought and a lot of practice, you’ll be wowing the crowd in no time. Check out our tips to writing and delivering a truly memorable (for the right reasons!) best man speech.

Plan ahead 
Presuming you’re not reading this the night before the wedding, you should give yourself plenty of time—at least one month—to write your speech. The weeks leading up to the wedding, especially participating as such a crucial part of the wedding party, become hectic. With all of the events you’ll be encouraged or required to attend, you may very well lose sight of time. It’s better to think ahead so you relieve some of the pressure.

Express gratitude 
It’s our advice to begin every speech with introducing yourself, then expressing gratitude to those you think deserve a special shout out. Thank the couple’s parents for raising such great people, thank your friend for having you here, thank the guests for coming, thank the bartender for providing beer. It’s a low-key way to ease yourself into the speech and make sure those who deserve thanks feel appreciated.

Talk about your relationship with the groom 
Beyond introducing your name, you should begin your speech by talking about your relationship with the groom. Talk about how you met him and what kind of guy he is. If you can think of an anecdote that really sums up the kind of person he is, whether that’s charming, funny, or thoughtful, use it. But, if you’re going to use an anecdote, it will be more meaningful if you link it to his partner. For example, maybe he’s incredibly outgoing, but forgetful. His new spouse is more thoughtful and organized. If you start with an anecdote of his forgetfulness, and later follow up with a time you saw his partner’s organizational skills help him out big time, and that’s a moment you knew they were the real deal—that’s perfect.

Skip ahead in time 
Presuming you’ve known the groom for longer than he’s know his partner, you can definitely start with recalling the earlier times in your friendship, but then skip ahead to when he met his partner. Think of a story that epitomizes their relationship. If you can think of a story when you realized his partner was “the one” for your buddy, use that. Maybe your groom told you one week after meeting his partner that they were going to get married, and you thought he was absolutely bonkers, but here you are. Maybe you’ve known your groom for a long, long time – if you’re his brother, for example. You’ve probably always had an idea of what his perfect partner would look like – but the one sitting in front of you exceeds all expectations. Emphasize how happy you are for your man that he’s found someone so perfect for him.

Offer congratulations and a toast 
This is a foolproof way to end the speech. Congratulate the happy couple on their big day and offer a toast. The toast can be personal, witty, or a quote. Perhaps there’s a line about love and relationships from one of the groom’s favorite comedians or movies that you can share, or simply wish the couple the best and ask your fellow guests to raise their glasses.

Keep it short 
Best man speeches typically follow father-of-the-bride and maid of honor speeches. Your guests are restless at this point of the reception. People are anxious to eat, to drink, and to dance. Your speech should be between three and five minutes. It should not go longer than five minutes. Keep in mind that it will feel much shorter to you when you’re actually giving the speech – and you will rush in the spotlight. That’s what you must…

You have to, and we mean have to, practice. You should give it a go at least three or four times before the actual reception. Whip out your phone and record yourself, then watch it for mistakes and things to improve. Not only is it critical to giving the best performance, but it’ll improve your confidence going up there. Dominic Bliss, author of Being the Best Man for Dummies, suggests sending a video to a friend or relative who won’t be attending the wedding to give you honest feedback.

Write it down 
You should try to memorize it as best you can, but you’ll feel less anxious if you have it written down. Practice it enough so you don’t need to stare at the cards to know what you’re saying, but jotting down talking points is not a bad idea. Consider using notecards or a pleasant booklet, because the devil is in the details, and the photographer will be taking photos of you presenting your speech. Writing notes on a haphazardly torn piece of paper will look sloppy and indicate you didn’t prepare for the speech.

Don’t drink beforehand 
Tip the bottle as much as you want after you’re done with the speech. We appreciate and understand the temptation to calm your nerves, but drinking beyond the glass of champagne at dinner will only make things worse. Alcohol paired with intense nerves or emotions will only amplify them. You’ll be less likely to remember what you’ve planned and form cohesive thoughts. Just, stay sober, okay? You’ll be great, we’re sure of it.

Article By: Nora Shepard

Source: https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/etiquette-advice/best-man-speech