#1  
Old 04-12-2004, 03:56 PM
charade charade is offline
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Best Man Speech:

Some general tips would be grand.
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Old 04-12-2004, 04:09 PM
muttrox muttrox is offline
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If you google around, you'll find many sites that provide you with speeches. Most want money, but will provide a couple samples for free. There are an abundance of good lines, often broken out by introductions, toasts, jokes at grooms expense, jokes at brides expense, etc.

My recent one went over very well (caterer said it was the best he had ever heard), so I feel I have a bit of expertise here. My rough outline was:

Opening joke (explaining who I am for those who don't know me in a funny way)
Whipping off a few jokes at grooms expense, all centered around a common theme (he's really a girl)
How I know the bride
How they met
How great the are together
Some advice (another joke)
Closing Toast

I found it very effective to switch between jokes and sincerity. Jokes should be digs at groom, but in my opinion, should be fairly light good-natured ones. No retellings of druken escapades or truly demaining insults.

FWIW.
  #3  
Old 04-12-2004, 04:15 PM
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Speech Rule #327 - Jokes you think are funny....the bride thinks are not.

Do not, do not, do not make a joke and pass it off as advice. Never, never, never. Odds are you will insult/infuriate some member of the families, somehow. In fact, kill the jokes altogether. You are not a comedian, and this occasion isn't about you. Say some sincere things about how great the couple are together, and how their future looks rosy (if you can't say this with a straight face/don't believe it with all your heart, you shouldn't be the best man!), then offer a toast to the happy couple and sit down and shut up. Be brief, be upbeat, then be quiet!
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Old 04-12-2004, 06:37 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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Since you're looking for advice rather than facts, I'll move this thread to the IMHO forum.

bibliophage
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2004, 08:46 AM
Jervoise Jervoise is offline
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Remain sober.

Rehearse and plan. This is a big occasion for your friends. You may think you're able to speak entirely off the cuff, but it will mean more to them if you carefully plan and rehearse what you're going to say.

If you're not naturally funny, don't bother with the jokes. Go for sincere and touching instead. This is an ideal opportunity to say something from the heart to your friends, so make the most of it. Say something soppy--on this one day, you won't be laughed at for telling a male friend how happy you are for him.

Don't play in-jokes or embarassing anecdotes. It may be funny to you and the rest of the wedding party, but there will be parents and distant relatives present who won't follow. Always keep your audience in mind.

Remain sober.
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Old 04-13-2004, 09:10 AM
Scuba_Ben Scuba_Ben is offline
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Congratulations on being honored as best man!

Labor Day weekend of last year, I was best man at my best friend's wedding. I recycled a classic opening line:

"When I researched what the best man's toast should be about, my research showed that the toast should be about the bride's beauty, about the groom's excellent choice -- and about two minutes."

Accordingly, my advice is:

* Be focused on what will make the bride & groom happy.
* Be positive. Only good stories.
* Be brief. Two minutes is plenty of time. One minute, well organized, is plenty; five minutes is about the max for a toast.
* Practice, practice, practice until you don't need notes.
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Old 04-13-2004, 09:16 AM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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Be dignified. Be gracious. Be brief. But most importantly, forget the Maxim Magazine crap. The purpose of the Best Man's speech is not to embarrass the Groom, the Bride, or himself. When you stand up and say your piece, you are doing two things: vouching for your friend's character, and wishing the new couple well on behalf of all of his friends. You don't have to make the whole crowd shed a tear, but you don't want to make them laugh at some joke at your friends expense. Or his Bride's. It's your chance to be a real Gentleman.

Good luck!
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Old 04-13-2004, 12:14 PM
constantine constantine is offline
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I'm a fan of gentle, low key humor for a toast, but remember, a little goes a long way.

Don't be nervous if you're not the standup comic type. First, the crowd is going to be in a happy mood, second, nobody is expecting Jerry Seinfeld, and third, this isn't a celebrity roast.

Stuck for topics? The basic idea is: gentle, funny stories about what a goofball the groom used to be, and gentle, funny stories about how being with the bride has greatly improved his character, cleanliness, manners, etc. and how he is getting the better end of the deal.

Obviously you need to use some judgment about this: these stories are only ok if there is no danger of hitting a nerve. If in fact her parents disapprove of him and think he's beneath her, a joke about how he's getting the better end of the deal will be more awkward then funny. On the other hand, if her parents adore him, then it's probably ok.

Two standards are

(1) I've known [the groom] since the third grade when we played on the same soccer team and we were probably the worst players ever [insert funny story about kicking the ball in the wrong goal]

(2) He used to be a slob, etc., but he has really changed for the better, etc., or Right after he introduced her to me he asked me what I thought, and I told him that he better marry her before she wised up.

Agree with everyone above who said the key thing is to be brief.
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Old 04-13-2004, 12:21 PM
Oy! Oy! is offline
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If you really wish to be brief, here's one I got from the great Robert Heinlein:

May you love as long as you live, and live as long as you love.

FWIW.
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Old 04-13-2004, 12:46 PM
flight flight is offline
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I am a big believer that it should contain at least a little humor (despite the objections in this thread). Touching is good, and you can include something on how the bride has become your friend as well now.

Two main points to make it good:

1) Stay relatively sober. I recently went to one where he was a drunken embarrasment.

2) Run it by the Maid of Honor. She is just as likely to be insulted by any off color as the bride and will be looking out for her best interests. She makes an excellent test audience.

The speach I gave a couple years had everyone from the the drunk groomsmen to the bride to the 80 year old grandmother laugh, and a good number of them cry. That was one of proudest moments to be able to stand up for my best friend on his wedding day.
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Old 04-13-2004, 01:14 PM
Scuba_Ben Scuba_Ben is offline
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I used one of constantine's standard lines. In my case, I said, "I've known (the groom) for SOOO long, we were at each other's bar mitzvah." I wasn't aware that this is a standard line. Still, it's a good line to use.

A one-line toast is just too short. Build up to your key line.

BTW, nobody ever goes wrong telling a bride on her wedding day that she is most beautiful.
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The Diver's Toast:
If you lie, LIE to save the honor of a friend.
If you cheat, CHEAT death on a daily basis.
If you steal, STEAL time to get out and dive!
  #12  
Old 04-13-2004, 01:27 PM
SSgtBaloo SSgtBaloo is offline
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I was best man at my nephew's wedding. The closing line to my speech was:
Quote:
And may all your problems be little ones -- around six or eight pounds.
I was best man at another friend's wedding but I don't remember my speech. Interesting side note about that wedding: the maid of honor was a nun!

--SSgtBaloo
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Old 04-13-2004, 02:19 PM
Zebra Zebra is offline
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I recited a poem by Garrison Keillor that can be found here.

Scroll down to the bottom, it's called the Finn who would not take a Sauna.


I finished the toast by saying how the groom was my brother. (he was in fact an only child) and how the bride was now my most beautiful sister. Then I told them to jump in a lake.
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  #14  
Old 04-13-2004, 03:49 PM
fortytwo fortytwo is offline
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I think a little non-offensive or non embarrassing humour is fine. Sincerity and humour went down very well with my speech. I spoke for about 5 minutes which is long enough for an amateur.
It's all in the preparation, start researching early and try it out with someone for their reaction to it.
If you're new to speech making write reminders on post cards. You may not need them but if you are a bit nervous, the mind can go blank.
Wait until after the speech before tucking into that bottle of whisky. , although a couple of glasses of wine helped me relax.
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