Best Man Speech How to Write

How to Write a Best Man Speech (6 Easy Steps)

How to Write a Best Man Speech (6 Easy Steps)

So, it happened. You were asked to be the Best Man at a close friend or relative’s upcoming wedding. And of course, you said yes!

But now that means you have to write and deliver a Best Man speech, and maybe you don’t have a clue where to start.

After all, it’s not something you do every day!

If you’re feeling unsure then don’t worry, you’re in the right place. I’m going to tell you exactly how to write a Best Man speech.

And the good news is it’s not rocket science. It’s just a sequence of logical steps.

So let’s see what they are, shall we?

Step 1: Learn the Logistics

One of the easiest mistakes to make is assuming that things will run a certain way on the day of your speech.

To avoid any nasty surprises, find out in advance how the wedding day and the speeches will be organised. Because things may be a little different to what you expect.

Here are some smart questions to ask the Groom before you get started:

  • What’s the date of the wedding (basic but crucial!)
  • Where do the speeches fit into the overall schedule?
  • Who else is scheduled to speak and in what order? (Usually it’s the Father of the Bride, then the Groom, then the Best Man, but there are lots of possible variations.)
  • Are there any specific time constraints you need to be aware of?
  • Are there any topics that the Groom would prefer you to avoid?
  • Are there specific stories the Groom will mention in his speech (so you can avoid duplicating them in yours)?

The Groom may not have all the answers to hand, but just getting a few answers can give you confidence to start working on your speech.

Step 2: Brain-dump Lots of Ideas

Once you’re clear about how your speech will fit into the wedding day schedule, and you’re aware of any important constraints, it’s time to start generating some ideas.

During this early phase, it’s best to focus on quantity rather than quality of ideas. I call it “brain dump mode”.

You don’t need to worry about structure or flow or anything like that, you’re just getting some raw ideas scribbled on a writing pad or typed into a document on your computer.

Your aim is just to generate as many possible topics as possible that could be used somewhere in your speech.

(Imagine these as the basic building materials you’ll use to assemble your Best Man speech.)

Here are some questions to ask yourself while in this mode:

  • How did you first meet the Groom?
  • What are his best (and worst) qualities?
  • What are the most memorable moments from your friendship?
  • What are the “running jokes” you share?
  • What makes him and his new wife a good match?
  • What advice do you want to pass on to your friend?
  • What tips can you give his Bride for life with him?

More so than other speeches in the traditional wedding line-up you’ll want to look for ideas that present an opportunity for humour.

Remember: a genuinely funny Best Man speech isn’t just one that’s littered with off-the-shelf jokes. It’s one where you draw humour from real-life observations and situations that are specific to your friend.

(For more help with generating ideas, you can also check out my list of Best Man Speech Prompts.)

Step 3: Decide on a Suitable Structure

Now that you’ve generated some raw ingredients for your speech (and hopefully far more ideas than you will need!) you’ll want a structure to contain them.

There are lots of different structures you can use, and the best one will depend on the ideas you have generated.

Here are some possible structures:

  • Chronological — if you’ve known the Groom for a long time you can structure your speech around key phases of his life: e.g., school days, early adulthood, first job, etc. It’s usually best to work your way forwards from your earliest memory to the present day.
  • Perspectives — another option is to look at the Groom from a few different perspectives. For instance, what’s he like as a friend, as a sportsman, as a travelling companion, as a drinking buddy, etc.? What’s he like in his professional life compared with his personal life?
  • Characteristics — you could also organise your speech according to the Groom’s most striking qualities or characteristics. You could talk about his loyalty, his determination, his sense of fun, his ambition, and so on, illustrating each one with examples and stories.

Note: Different structures will also give your speech a different “feel” so think about the style and tone you’d like to aim for.

You can also combine these structures to suit your needs. You could even choose a more novel structure driven by a big idea.

For instance, what if you structured your speech as a fairy tale with the Groom as an intrepid hero who has to overcome different challenges to win the heart of the princess (his Bride)?

Or you could structure your speech as a business presentation, complete with PowerPoint slides, which describes the “features and benefits” of the Groom as if he were a new product.

If you’re not sure what structure to use, look at your list of brainstormed ideas and see if they fall naturally into a set of categories.

Step 4: Organise Your Ideas

Looking at your chosen structure, write 3 to 5 headings for the main body of your speech. (You’ll add an introduction at the start and a toast at the end later in the process.)

Then pick the best ideas from your brainstormed list and start to drop them underneath the headings or sections of your speech.

What this looks like in practice will depend on whether you’re working on paper or on your computer. (Writing single ideas on sticky notes and moving them around between different headings or sections can be very effective.)

However you organise your speech, keep an eye on the balance between different sections…

If a section has too many ideas, you’ll need to trim it down.

If it doesn’t have enough ideas, you’ll either need to cut the whole section or generate some more ideas for it.

Here’s what a simple outline of your speech might look like:


  • Introduce myself as the Best Man and childhood friend
  • Make a joke about how weird it is to see him dressed so smartly
  • Apologise in advance to the Bride for what I’m about to reveal about Jason

School days

  • Tell the story of us meeting on the first day of secondary school
  • Talk about how I was always getting him in trouble (and how one teacher told his parents I was a “bad influence” on him)
  • Talk about the temporary falling out we had when we fancied the same girl

University days

  • Describe how he went off to university and I got a “real” job, but we stayed in touch even as we took different paths in life
  • Tell the story of the messy weekend when I visited him in his student accommodation for the first time (and I got him into trouble — again!)
  • Say how proud I was the day he graduated with a first class degree (but I had to buy the celebration drinks because he had no money left)

Working life

  • Talk about how getting a job was a wake up call for him after his “cushy” three years as a student
  • Say how none of his friends really understand what his job entails and how we all suspect he’s really a spy (like a really boring version of James Bond)
  • Tell the story of the lads holiday we took after his first year at the company and how he got food poisoning on the last day and spent most of his first day back in the office toilet

Give him some credit

  • Talk about how he’s a loyal friend who’s been a great source of support during hard times
  • Talk about the time he used his annual bonus to pay for a big night out for all his friends to thank them for their generosity when he was a skint student
  • Compliment him on his work ethic and the success he’s created for himself in life

Talk about the Bride

  • Describe the time he introduced me to Caroline for the first time (and how I didn’t make the greatest impression on her)
  • Tell the story of the holiday to Turkey where he invited her along and I got to know her properly (and had the chance to make a better impression)
  • Talk about some of the personality improvements I’ve seen in Jason since he started dating Caroline

Raise a toast

  • Wish them much happiness for the future
  • Raise a toast to the couple

Step 5: Write Your First Draft

Once you’ve organised your speech ideas into a rough outline, it’s time to create the first full draft of your speech.

This isn’t so you can memorise the speech perfectly, but it helps you decide if the speech flows smoothly.

Write your speech out in long hand if you prefer but I find it easier to type it into your computer and move sections around as needed.

Start with an outline like the example given above and then start to expand each of the main points into sentences and paragraphs.

Tip: If you’re entering your speech on a computer and your software supports it consider using the dictation feature to create the first draft. It’s an effective way to write your speech in the same style that you speak.

Try not to agonise over the exact wording of each of the points. Your goal is just to get a rough version of your whole speech written down.

Once your speech is around the right length too long as fine consider doing some editing based on the following questions:

  • Is each section of my speech roughly the same length or do some sections get too much attention and others not enough (i.e., it’s unbalanced)?
  • Do the sections flow smoothly into one another or do I need to use more transitions (sentences or short paragraphs that link one idea to the next)?
  • Is the overall structure effective or does it need a rethink?

Once you’ve finished this step you should have a full draft that, with some additional editing and polishing, you’d feel happy giving at the wedding.

Step 6: Practise, Revise and Repeat

Once you’ve completed your first rough draft, it’s time start practising your speech to see how it sounds and flows when spoken out loud.

You have a few different options during this stage of your speech preparation:

  • You can just read the speech to yourself and see how it sounds.
  • You can make more of a performance of it and practise in front of a mirror.
  • You can film yourself on your smartphone and watch yourself back at your leisure (warning: watching yourself can feel awkward at first but the discomfort quickly fades!)

As you practice your speech out loud you’ll find that some sections flow better than others. You’ll realise that certain ways of phrasing certain sections are fine on the page but turn into tongue twisters when spoken.

Have a pencil to hand and make notes over any sections that need tweaking to make them easier to perform.

Note: You’ll need to “rinse and repeat” to evolve your speech into the finished version.

Once you’re fairly happy with your speech content, you can give your speech in front of a trusted friend or relative to get an external perspective (not the Groom though — his first exposure to your speech should be on the wedding day).

Getting feedback from someone else will help you understand if the parts you intend to be funny seem funny to other people too. Ask them to be candid about what works and what doesn’t.

Note: Time yourself to get an idea of how long the speech will last. Add an extra 20% to allow for audience reaction and the possibility of being more verbose when giving your speech for real.

Once you’re happy with you speech there’s no need to memorise it word for word. You can always summarise the main topics of speech using small cue cards and use those as a safety net on the big day.

Go Write Your Best Man Speech!

It’s time to stop wondering how to write your Best Man speech and just get on and do it. Because the truth is that these six steps are all you need.

Why not make life easier for yourself by writing your speech over a couple of weeks, rather than squeezing it into one afternoon the day before the wedding?

Taking your time helps to give you a bit of perspective on your speech content and also gives your brain a chance to come up with some new ideas.

(You’ll have more time to practice too.)

Good luck!