How To Deliver A Funny Best Man Speech That Won’t Cause Offense

The following is a guest post from David Doran , an expert on best man speeches and is the co-founder of BestManApp.com the web app for best men. Enjoy!

Everyone expects a best man to be funny, the humor in his speech may be the yardstick with which the success of his speech is measured.  However as best man you need to ensure that the humor does not come at a cost.  If you make jokes about the past love lives of the bride and groom for example, you will not only lose the support of the wedding guests but you will almost certainly lose the friendship of your best friend (or brother), the groom.

Topics that the wedding guests will find offensive include jokes/stories that humiliate the bride, stories told using vulgar language, inappropriate stories about the bachelor party and any reference to former girlfriends/ former wives.

There are a lot of ways to deliver a humorous best man speech by using tasteful humor, as opposed to resorting to adult humor that will almost certainly offend some of the guests at the wedding.  In this article I have highlighted 6 areas of your speech where you can add humor and have the wedding guests in fits of laughter if done correctly.

  1. Jokes
  2. Props
  3. Wedding advice
  4. Quotes   
  5. One liners
  6. The toast

Jokes

Funny jokes are a fundamental aspect of a best man speech and as such you need to have 3 or 4 short jokes included in your speech.  Remember to provide jokes that everyone will get, as opposed to “in jokes” that only you and your buddies will find amusement with.  Choose funny wedding-related jokes that are short, long jokes won’t have the same impact.  Make sure the jokes you select are funny, as nothing will dampen your confidence quicker than the sound of silence as you reel off the punch line to a lame joke.

Props for a best man speech

Props can turn ordinary best man speeches into sensational speeches if chosen correctly, that is how important they can be to a funny best man speech.  The great thing about props is that you can create the illusion that you have in your possession something that you don’t, for example a letter taken from an envelope in your pocket can become the groom’s college report, or his Facebook profile. 

 Another great prop is to have a funny photo of the groom blown up to a lifesize image (many photography shops will do this).  The laughter your speech will receive as you unveil this prop will be a memory to treasure for a long time.

 Marital advice for the groom

Another very funny section of the best man speech is when the best man provides his own unique insight on marriage for the groom.  This should be good-natured humor implying that as the groom is now married he will be under the thumb and his wife very much the decision-maker in the relationship.

 Best man stories

As the groom’s best friend / brother, the best man should have some embarrassing stories about the groom that the wedding guests will find funny.  Begin your story with a teasing beginning, such as “I am going to tell you a story about the groom that I have never told anyone before”, or “Want to hear an embarrassing story about the groom?” before going on to share your funny story with the guests.

 Witty wedding one liners

One liners are very effective in a best man speech and allow the best man to maintain his theme of humor in the speech.  These quips and puns can provoke laughter in great measures so make sure that you include a couple in your best man speech.

 The Best Man toast

When ending your best man speech you can choose to finish with a humorous best man toast or a sincere one.  A humorous toast should be lighthearted yet still get the message of love and hope across as the bride and groom begin a new life together as bride and groom.

If your funny best man speech is a hit then you will have memories to last a lifetime and you will have people congratulating you for the entire day.  The feeling of exhilaration after giving a best man speech that people enjoyed will stay with you for some time so practice and rehearse your speech, all the effort will be worth it.

About David Doran: Dave lives in Dublin, Ireland, is a cancer survivor and is the co-founder of Best Man App the web app for best men.

Why Bridesmaids & Groomsmen?

So last week I wrote blog post about why brides wear white wedding dresses and it’s led to a lot of other questions about the wedding planning process. In light of that, I decided that I should investigate more of these “traditions” to see where they came from. Now – why do we have bridesmaids and groomsmen?

Turns out that unlike the white wedding dress, the bridemaids and groomsmen is truly a “tradition” that stands the test of time.  There are several different version of the history out there, so I’ll just try to compile it the best way I can….

happy groomsmen at a modern day wedding! photo from The Wedding Lens!

Best Man & Groomsmen

So the long & the short of it is that the best man and the groomsmen have always been the guys who would say to the groom “dude, I got your back.”

Somewhere in the early A.D. era, there were when a dude couldn’t find a wife, he and his buddies would go to the next village over and steal a future wife. Yes, steal. The buddies not only helped with the stealing but they’d “get the groom’s back” during the wedding ceremony — you know, just in case the bride’s family wanted her back or something.

Other stories say that the groomsmen helped escort the bride to the wedding (even when she was a willing participant). 

bridesmaids at a modern day wedding, photo from The Wedding Lens

Maid of Honor & Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids were involved in the wedding ceremony for two reasons: to be a witness to the wedding and to confuse the evil spirits. Roman law required witnesses be present at the wedding — so that’s why the bridesmaids were there! Even today, many bridesmaids (or perhaps just the maid of honor) can serve as a witness to a wedding ceremony.

The evil spirit thing has to do with…. attire!

Attire

In the case of both the brides and the grooms, the groups would dress very similar to the bride & groom. Why? To ward off evil spirits of course! The idea was that the evil spirits would get confused by the similarity in dress. Which seems (to me) that maaybe those evil spirits weren’t so bright.

Anyway, “we’ve” kept the tradition of the bridesmaids dressing the same as each other, but not so much as the bride. Perhaps this is because the brides have recently adopted the tradition of wearing white instead of any old color. Obviously the groomsmen still dress very similarly to the groom.

So that’s the story of the bridesmaids & groomsmen. IS there anything you want to know the history of? Email me! natasha@theweddinglens.com.

~ Natasha

Round-Up: All Things Gift Related

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Because I’ve written so much about gifts and gift-related things, I thought it might be nice to put it all in one nice little blog post for easy access! AND if you, dear readers, have questions I didn’t cover, ask me! editor@theweddinglens.com and I’ll cover it ASAP!

How to Ask for Gift Cards or Money (instead of gifts!)

Tips on the Gift Registry

What To Do About Wedding Gifts (for both the couple & the guests)

Green Wedding Gift Ideas

Gift-Giving Etiquette

Etiquette on Giving Bridal Shower, Wedding Shower, AND Wedding Gifts

Gifts for the Best Man

Maid of Honor Gift Ideas

Out of Town Gift Bags

How To Deal with Anonymous or Unlabeled Gifts

Writing to Say Thanks!

Did I miss anything? Wanna give the gift of an online wedding photo album?

~ Natasha

Best Man Gifts

What’s the scoop with best man gifts, any way? Do best men get more gifts than the other groomsmen? How do you pick out a gift for these guys, anyway?

First things first: best men should be given something either nicer (however slight) or different than the other groomsmen. This means it could be either an embellished version of the groomsmen gift or just the same gift in a different color — just ensuring that it stands out. After all, your best man is helping out with the wedding in ways that your groomsmen are not. This does NOT mean that you have to spend more; it only means you should ensure that your best man is recognized as being a best man (ie not just one of the groomsmen). 

If you decide to give your best man somethign exceptionally nicer than the other gifts, be sensitive to the others and give the gift when the other groomsmen are not around.

Now that you know, how on earth do you pick out gifts?? Here are some ideas:

  • picture frame
  • something related to the best man’s hobbies (think baseball or golf)
  • cuff links (perhaps personalized)
  • money clip (again, perhaps personalized)
  • an item he’s mentioned wanting but hasn’t purchased himself
  • a nice tie (to wear at the wedding or just to have)

The key is to make sure it’s something that your best man will use — and not just collect dust.  If you’re having trouble picking out a gift, why not ask? You would ask for any other occasion, why make this different?  

How did you pick your best man gift? Was it different from the other groomsmen gifts?

~ Natasha

How to Be a Best Man

speech

After being a Maid of Honor, I was a little surprised to learn how much easier it is to be a Best Man.  Being a best man is MUCH more simple.  The three key things are:

  • Wear what the groom tells you to wear. This means that you rent whatever the groom tells you to rent! And if you can wear something you already own, that’s fabulous.
  • Plan a bachelor party. Planning a bachelor party is by far the most difficult part, especially if you don’t know the groom’s friends very well. It’s much more difficult to get in touch and plan something that everyone will enjoy. That said, you just want them to attend; the party is for the groom!
  • Write and deliver a speech. Best Man speeches are traditionally more funny and amusing than their sentimental counterparts – MOH speeches. One tip: make sure it’s personal and about the groom (and bride), and not a generic speech that could apply to anyone.
  • During the ceremony, hold onto the ring. Usually you will be given the ring about 5 minutes before the ceremony. Just don’t lose them for that 15 minutes. Please.
  • Offer to help, do whatever you’re told, but stay out the way. This might be the groom asking you to go shopping with him or asking you to do tasks that the bride has asked you (or the groom) to complete. Don’t complain, just do it. But don’t get too involved or get in the way. A fine line.
  • Keep the groom calm. That’s the best, most important thing you can do!

If you’re selecting a best man, make sure it’s someone who is reliable and responsible! You want your best man to do all of the above tasks without complaint and while making you feel calm and confident that everything will get done. And while you’re pondering how else to be a good best man, check out real photos of calm, cool, and collected groomsmen.

Good luck!

~ Natasha

How to Write a Maid of Honor Speech

One of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do is write a Maid of Honor speech.  I was flattered to be chosen as one of the MOHs and I was excited that I would be able to tell all the guests what a great friend the bride is, how much I adore her, and how fabulous the bride and groom are as a couple.  But once I opened up the blank Word document to start writing, I couldn’t think of anything.  I came up with a lot of stories, but I wanted to be cautious about what I said — after all, there was going to be family there!

I reflected on some of the speeches I had heard at other weddings and tried to draw from them.  In the end, I came up with some great stories and the speech went well!  Both the groom and I cried during the speech and I received many compliments afterwards.

Here are some tips for the MOH speech:

  • Make the speech family friendly! I kept picturing myself telling the speech to the bride’s parents. It ensured I stuck to appropriate stories and didn’t have too many inside jokes. 
  • Don’t forget to thank the families. Regardless of who’s paying for the wedding (and sometimes it is the bride and groom), the families should be mentioned. After all, they’re responsible for bringing both the bride and groom into the world and/or raising them!
  • Tell stories about the bride, the groom, or the bride and groom.  Sound obvious, right?  But once you start telling a story, it’s very easy to end up speaking more about yourself than the couple.  One of the worst speeches I ever heard was a Best Man who told stories about how he and the groom used to compete in high school sports and how he (the Best Man) was a much better athlete than the groom.  Remember: it is THEIR day, not yours! 
  • Make it personal.  I know I just said to make sure the stories are about the bride and groom, but you should be sure it has to do with you! After all, you were selected because you are a good friend and vice versa.  Share stories of times when you were with them.  That’s much more meaningful than a list of reasons why marriage is sacred.
  • Keep it relatively short! It doesn’t need to be a minute, but it shouldn’t drone on either. A few quick stories, maybe a how you met the bride or groom, and a toast should suffice!
  • Try not to read.  Obviously you’re nervous and you’re afraid you’re going to forget something, but do your best not to read.  Some people like to take a few notes up to the microphone, while others feel more comfortable with the full speech written out.  I did not bring anything with me because I didn’t want it to sound too rehearsed.  I was talking about my friend, not doing a closing argument!  In retrospect, sure, I forgot some things — but no one knows but me!  
  • Try not to be nervous! The Wedding Maid of Honor Speech Blog suggests introducing yourself, talking about how you met, and introducing humor to make the speech more relaxed.  

If you happen to start crying in the middle of the speech, like I did,  or if you forget what you were going to say, then just take a minute, breathe, and move on.  It felt like ages when I paused to wipe the tears, but when I saw the video afterwards, I realized it wasn’t nearly as long as I thought it was.  Good luck!

~Natasha