A wedding speech is...well, it's not easy. Even seasoned public speakers will know comedy timing is everything but if you're a Best Man don't put yourself under too much pressure. Have a few beers, don't swear and just nail one or 2 lines well rather than a long list of jokes that are not so great.
Wedding Speech Rules
There are no set rules I guess, but stray outside of these guidelines and you might end up with the sound of silence or sharp intakes of breath and tumbleweed rolling through the room.
So, how do you pitch the speech? Play it very safe, short but sweet? Sincere and long-winded? Very risky that the lads' will find hilarious and no one else?! Well, a balance of all those things makes a great speech.
I know times are changing but here's the Top 5,
1. Don't swear.
Stay classy. There are nearly always kids about. It's not the place for F'in and B'in, 'something blue' does not refer to the wedding speech!
2. All over in 20 seconds.
If public speaking is your worst nightmare, keep it short but not so short there wasn't much point in standing up. One paragraph. About 1 or 2 minutes and you can then sit back down having done your bit.
3. Don't get drunk
This is very rare nowadays but getting drunk can easily be done and it's not what the Groom (or Bride) will want you to be doing on their Big Day. A day they have paid a huge amount for money for. Being very drunk risks making a complete mess of the speech.
4. Don't Wing It.
Get the speech typed up and practice it, practice it in a mirror. Unless public speaking is your forte, don't try and memorise it. Just have a rough idea in your head which bits are important and use a highlighter pen to help you spot where these bits are.
5. 10 minutes should be the maximum.
Condense your speech to short punchy sentences. Dont's say 30 words when you can say it in 15.
6. Consider a Double Act.
You have been asked to be Best Man. Just the thought of doing that speech brings you out in a cold sweat. If you really feel it wont work, be honest with him. Ask the Groom if he would mind if there were another friend to help out. It will instantly half the amount of attention that gets focused on you and you will have someone to bounce off.
Without a doubt, the most hilarious and heart felt speeches I've seen are with a projector showing photos of the couple. For the Best Man, the lights get turned down. The focus is turned to the screen and you narrate your way through photos of past holidays, drunken nights out and the odd poignant photo of a grandparent no longer with us will be like a fishing hook pulling on those heart strings. Some people advise against it and reckon you should stand there and take the pressure like a man and deliver a speech like you are doing stand-up Live at the Apollo. I, and I'm sure, you will disagree.