In the food chain of wedding speeches, few come with the same level of expectancy as the best man speech. The best man is meant to give a funny speech reminiscing over tales of the groom’s past while being wary not to go over the top with the humor, since offensive remarks will mean your speech is met with a limp response rather than the rousing reception you were hoping to get.
When it comes to best man speeches, there are three key rules you must adhere to:
1. Don’t upset the groom’s new wife.
2. Make sure you don’t upset the groom’s new wife.
3. Absolutely, positively don’t upset the groom’s new wife.
You get the picture. The only tears you want to see from his bride’s eyes should be tears of joy and tears of laughter, so with that in mind, let us begin our journey through our list.
If you want to give a best man speech that will have the audience doubled up with laughter, then be sure to use a couple of props. There are a number of props that work very well, including:
a) Present a pillow from under your table and say to your buddy, “Now that you are married, you will need this as you will be spending plenty of nights sleeping on the couch.”
b) Have a picture of the groom’s face superimposed on a photo of someone wearing a mankini, enlarge the photo and show to all, saying, “I thought you may be interested in seeing a photo of the groom from the bachelor party.”
No best man speech is complete without a few funny stories about the groom. Try to have two stories that embarrass him, one about an embarrassing incident that the groom was involved in and another that gives the listeners a glimpse of how he has changed since meeting his bride.
3. Reciprocal gift.
During your speech, you can say something along the lines of, “I am proud to be here at Jim’s wedding just as he was at mine and, as such, am delighted to be able to return the favor and give him the same wedding gift he gave me,” before unveiling a mop or something equally inappropriate.
4. Wedding key prank.
Pranks, if done tastefully, work exceptionally well in a best man speech, with one of the most popular one being the wedding key prank. This prank usually entails the best man giving large “keys” — in reality, homemade cardboard keys wrapped in silver — to four women and one man before the speeches begin. Then during the speech, state, “Now that the groom is married, can I ask those of you who have keys to his apartment to hand them back please?” and let the various women one by one come up to you and hand them back. You can continue by saying, “Thank you very much ladies, but there is still one key unaccounted for, so whoever you are, please come up and give it to me.” At that stage, the remaining man should sheepishly walk up to you (as prearranged) and hand the “key” over.
5. Seating arrangements prank.
A great way to embarrass the groom is to state that he tossed and turned over who should sit where, and in the end decided to seat people by value of their gifts. Continue by saying, “With that in mind, he wants to thank everyone seated at the back for the socks, spoons and cards,” before quickly announcing that you are joking of course.
6. Explain how opposites attract.
A wedding speech is the perfect setting for using examples of how opposites attract. Here are a couple of ideas.
“The bride likes cooking and the groom certainly loves eating,” or “The bride likes pretty pearls while the groom prefers Pearl Jam.”
7. Best Man jokes.
An essential aspect of any best man speech is funny best man jokes. Short jokes work better than longer jokes so bear that in mind when writing your own speech. Use jokes that reflect the personality of the groom and, of course, make no reference to past relationships in these jokes.
8. Refer to the groom’s characteristics to embarrass him.
Continue the humor by talking about how loyal the groom is before finishing with something along the lines of, “He is so loyal that he hasn’t changed his hairstyle since the ’80s.”
9. Use emotional humor to embarrass him.
Sentimental humor is another way to prolong the agony for the groom. You can say how you never saw the romantic side in your friend/brother before, and finish with, “Before he met his wife, his idea of a romantic night out was a candlelit football stadium.”
10. Funny best man toasts.
If you want to end your toast on a humorous note, provide a witty uplifting toast rather than an all-out attempt to make fun of the groom. You want your speech to end on a high and then revel in the joy of receiving a standing ovation afterwards, so be subtle with your toast and enjoy the plaudits that come your way.
There is a fine line between embarrassing the groom and humiliating him, so make sure you don’t cross that line. Offset the funny remarks about the groom by including a few words in your best man speech about why he is such a great friend/brother. Be sure to compliment the bride and talk about the traits that make her a great person, and reserve a few special words for the bridesmaids as well.
And, of course, remember those three key rules at the top of the page. If you upset the bride, then you will not only ruin her special day, you may also lose the friendship of the groom, and that would be no laughing matter.
About David Doran
Dave lives in Dublin, Ireland, is a cancer survivor and is the co-founder of Best Man App, the ultimate resource for best men with sample best man speeches, jokes, toasts and much more.
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