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Best Man Speech: The Funny Side of Wedding Speech Making

Yes, you’ve proudly accepted the role of Best Man and now it s up to you to deliver a speech.

The problem is the very thought of having to make a speech brings back nasty recollections of school days and horrific experiences stumbling to deliver ill prepared speeches on any manner of topics suggested by a well meaning English teacher. Add to your inexperience, the seemly compulsory expectation placed on the Best Man to make wedding guests laugh and – no wonder you’re nervous.

Chances are you’re not a stand-up comedian so you probably don’t have that innate sense of timing that seems to come naturally to the professionals.

Liz Paine, perhaps Australia’s foremost coach on wedding speech making, shares some thoughts to help your Best Man speech “pack a punch”!

1. Don’t get jokes off the internet

As much as you may feel the pressure to have the guests rolling in the isles, resist the urge to pull generic jokes directly from the internet. Your job as Best Man is simple: make sure that the bride and groom enjoy their special day. Everything in your speech should be about them, and not at their expense.

Share real life stories and experiences.

2. Be audience appropriate with humour

Ask yourself if everyone will find your speech funny and enjoy the joke – that includes grandparents right through to the youngest guests.

3. No inappropriate jokes about exes, drunken orgies or adventures the bride or groom would rather forget

No nasty surprises! What more is there to say – just don’t go there.

4. Tell funny stories

Audiences love true stories – especially those which highlight interesting character traits. Recall personal experiences.

5. Start well

Start your speech with an attention grabber. Often this means using your best material first. You’ll get the audience engaged immediately so it’s smooth sailing from there on in.

6. Show and tell

Props can act as memory joggers. They take the focus away you so they’re also an excellent anxiety stopper.

Consider: reading from the Groom’s childhood school report; pull out a trophy awarded to the Groom years before for some odd or interesting achievement; display a musical instrument the groom failed to master – perhaps you can locate an old recording demonstrating his musical prowess (or lack of it).

7. Deliver your feedlines and punchlines clearly

Avoid long winded, rambling stories leading to a punchline. The longer the lead up, the more likely it is you’ll stuff up before the punchline. Keep stories simple.

8. Practice

Once you’ve planned your speech, practice it aloud. The more times the better. (Reading it silently is no substitute).

Practice! practice! practice!

9. Pace yourself

Aim for a speech of no longer than 4 to 5 minutes (including the final toast). We have a tendency to pick up speed when the nerves set in so take it slowly.

When it’s your term to speak, stand up, make eye contact with the guests two or three seconds before you begin to speech. Then, with a sense of purpose and composure, begin. Don’t rush – allow your audience time to enjoy the moment.

10. Wedding audiences are really supportive

Again, the day belongs to the bride and groom. Guests aren’t there to critique you and there is no mark out of ten going towards your school exam here. Just like you, your fellow guests want your speech to go well. You don’t have to be the funniest, standup comic. Simply chose stories that make a connection with the bride or groom (or both). Sincerity overrides humour any day.

Good luck and have a great time!

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