The inevitable has happened. Your best friend has succumbed to the guiles of a woman, will be getting married, and has asked you to be the best man. Your first thought is one of pride. You are the special one, the chosen one, and let’s face it, the best one. And then reality begins to sink in. You have to give a speech in front of hundreds of people. What’s worse, it’s got to be funny, touching, endearing, and you can’t be overly drunk. You shirk in horror.
Well, not to worry. Giving a speech is easy. Just follow these steps, and you will be the star of the show. Mothers will be trying to set you up with their single daughters left and right.
Step 1: Brainstorm.
Sit down at the computer, or with a pen and paper, and just write out everything you can think of to describe your best friend, his new wife-to-be, and the two of them as a couple. If you do not like her very much, but you have given your friend your blessing to marry her, you will have to bite your tongue from here on out. Now is the time to pretend you are talking about someone you just adore. So while you’re brainstorming ideas, pretend in your little fantasy that your friend is marrying Drew Barrymore. Now, write out all the ideas you can think of for your speech, even if you think they are ridiculous and you’ll never use them. The whole point of brainstorming is to get your ideas flowing.
Once you have compiled a list of words and memories that you associate with your friend and his fiancé, go through and circle the ones you will definitely want to put in your speech. This would be a good time to cross off the list your memory of the time the two of you went to Vegas with the Wilson twins. After you have chosen a two or three memories that you think would be appropriate for the speech, you are ready for the next step.
Step 2: Expand your 2 to 3 main ideas.
For each idea, you should start with a fresh piece of paper. Jot down the idea, for example, “the time Don and Marissa helped me move-by bicycle,” or “the moment I realized Don had fallen in love.” Even if it is not your normal personality to speak of love and other sentimental things, it is important to do so for this special occasion. At least one snippet should be a sentimental one, and another should be a funny one. After you have written the idea, think of everything you’d like to say about it, and take notes.
Step 3: Create a general outline.
Now that you have your main ideas, these are the body of your speech. Put the general points you would like to make about these in outline form. You will also need an introduction, and a conclusion to your speech, just as if you were writing an essay. For the introduction, you may wish to talk about how you know the best man, and the length of your friendship. Finally, add to your outline the concluding points you’d like to make. It is imperative in this part of the speech that you say something flattering about the bride. Even if she is the plainest girl your best friend has ever dated, be sure to reference her undying beauty. This will get you points with everyone. Be sure also to wish them a long and happy marriage.
Step 4: Practice the speech.
Some best men feel that since they are not good at speaking in public, they should read their speech from a folded up piece of paper. This is unacceptable-you don’t need to read your speech. It will come across as much more sincere if you speak naturally to the audience. Being inexperienced at public speaking is no excuse. This is why you have to practice your speech. Take some time, well before the wedding day, to begin practicing your speech. With your outline in hand, stand up in your dining room and pretend it is full of people. Speak from the outline. Keep doing this over and over again until you feel comfortable. When it comes time to do the real thing, it is perfectly okay to have your notes on a little piece of paper, so you don’t forget something, but be sure they are just notes, and not a transcript of the speech. You don’t want to tempt yourself at the moment of truth. Practicing the speech is also a great way to time it. The speech should only be a few minutes long, perhaps five or ten at the most. You may want to ask the bride and groom if there is a length they would prefer. When in doubt, err on the side of brevity.
Now, get out there and do a beautiful job of wishing your friend and his bride a lifetime of joy and many children. After all, you are the best man for the job.