So you’ve been asked to give a speech at your best mate’s wedding and you’re pretty stoked with yourself.
But soon the flattery turns to pressure. And then the pressure turns into a few too many whiskeys and a long spill about that totally-unacceptable-to-speak-about boys’ weekend you had with the groom.
So it probably has you stuck staring at the blank piece of paper, wondering if your life-long friendship is worth the humiliation of standing up to make a speech and ending up… speechless.
In my 11 years in the wedding industry, I have seen some heart-wrenching speeches, some hilarious ones, some that have made me want to disappear into thin air out of embarrassment and some that sounded much like a template off the first search page of Google.
So to help ease the torture of speech writing, I have rounded up the five biggest mistakes to avoid if you want to keep yours and the groom’s dignity intact.
Remember the last time you attended a family event with the groom, and you got stuck talking to Great Aunt Glenys? You almost fell asleep at the table as her motor-mouth and never-ending stories lulled you into a state of inescapable hypnosis. Well, you will be Aunt Glenys if you can’t stop yourself from rambling. How can you avoid this? KEEP IT SHORT. Five minutes is more than enough time to tell the groom he’s the brother you never had.
#2 Embarrassing The Bride & Groom
If you wouldn’t want your own mother to hear it ─ don’t tell the story. Yes, it can be a tough gig finding the balance between humour and humiliation, but you must try your absolute best to keep your speech entertaining without upsetting the bride and groom. It’s just not worth it. Include some light-hearted jokes but balance it with your well-wishes – and remember, never mention the ex.
#3 Upstaging The Celebration
The worst thing you can do during a wedding speech is to upstage the Bride and Groom. One wedding I went to the best man crafted a whole speech about how HE set up the couple, how HE helped them prepare for the wedding and how HE was the bride’s first boyfriend in high school. The guests are there to celebrate the loved-up couple, not the best man. Avoid making the speech about yourself. It happens more than you’d believe.
#4 Too Much Alcohol Before Delivery
The most obvious mistake made by best men the world over is drinking the nerves away with booze, booze and more booze. A little bit of liquid courage never goes astray, but critical errors are generally most often made by drunk people. The worst slip up I ever witnessed was a best man referring to the bride as Lauren. Yep, you guessed it. That was the groom’s ex-girlfriend. No matter how well-rehearsed you are, save yourself the embarrassment and make sure you’re sober enough to give the speech without slurring your words or mortifying the happy couple.
#5 ‘Winging It’
Never speak from the heart. Well, do, but write it down two weeks prior and then practice until you never want to hear your own voice again. Trust me, ‘winging it’ never works. The more prepared you are the more confident you will be, and this greatly reduces the risk of crashing and burning. Beyond memorising your speech, don’t forget to practice projecting your voice and making eye contact with the crowd.