best man giving speech at wedding

6 Best Man Speech Ideas, Examples, and Tips

Jan 5, 2021
By Wedding Spot

Need some help writing your best man speech? Thousands and thousands of distressed forum threads, alarmed Quora posts, and social media cries for help are dedicated to this very request every year. Whether you’ve got a few weeks or a few hours, we’ve got you covered with this guide on how to come up with a best man speech you and the happy couple will love. Keep reading to discover some important best man speech ideas, examples, and tips that will make the process simple and virtually painless. 

Do’s and don’ts every best man should know before drafting their speech:

  • Length: The most important thing to keep in mind is the length. Shorter is better, so shoot for less than five minutes. The most ideal time would be three minutes: 30-second introduction, two minutes on the main story, and 30 seconds to wrap up and give well wishes. 

  • Tone: Keep it classy for the older relatives and leave out expletives, raunchy jokes, and stories that you can’t un-tell. Professional storytellers for the Moth, a famous storytelling podcast and prestigious competition, say that a mix of funny and sentimental usually packs a punch as long as you do it in that order. Also, be sincere. Corny jokes get boring really quickly. 

  • Content: Stories will always be more entertaining than random jokes. Include a one-liner at the beginning of the speech, then bring it back to something that actually happened. The focus should be on the couple or your relationship with them, but not just you and your accomplishments. 

Explore 6 foolproof best man speech ideas, examples, and tips:

1. Take inspiration from those who have gone before you.

Copy or get inspired by these real-world examples of best man speeches you can use to make people laugh, cry, or both.

Long best man speech example: Here’s a best man speech example from an older brother to his younger brother, which we edited for clarity and brevity.

“Good afternoon everyone, I’m the best man.

Before I start, I’d just like to say there is no flash photography during this event. The bride and groom are a very shy pair and we don’t want to startle them. If you look really closely at them, you’ll see they’re already starting to feel quite uncomfortable. Maybe they’d like me to just get on with my speech, but I really think it’s all the phones pointed at them right now. 

Oh, it’s the speech? Okay, I’ll continue. 

Ever since (he was born, he started at Boston University, etc.), (groom) and I have been (brothers, friends, etc.). Now, he’s not the best-looking guy, so it does make sense that he’d ask the older, fatter, and balder (friend, version of himself, etc.) to be his best man. And we’ve genuinely been told throughout our lives that we (look incredibly alike, are attached at the hip, etc.). I honestly don’t see it, but as I know, some people here still can’t tell the difference: (Groom’s mom or bride), I’m (best man), and that one’s (groom).

The bride and groom have asked that I don’t talk about any of (groom)’s mishaps, mistakes, or embarrassing moments, and instead do talk about the positive things in his life. I mean, you’ve made this incredibly difficult for me, but I’ll do my best.

*Get out a scrap of paper* (Groom)’s an amazing person. He’s funny, he’s kind, he’s incredibly clever. He’s even (studying to be an engineer, learning how to rollerblade, etc.)! Not only that, but he’s … wait … (groom), I can’t say that, man!

(Bride), you look lovely today; and (groom), you look sharper than ever in that suit! Cheers to a long, happy marriage for you both! But more so for (bride), because she’s really got her hands full now. Cheers!”

  • Key takeaway: Making fun of yourself more than you make fun of the groom will always be a hit. Also, don’t shy away from the roast-style “set ‘em up to punch ‘em down” jokes like the ones featured here. 

  • Make it your own: This speech runs less than two minutes. Make it longer and personalize it by adding a story about you and the groom growing up that you think says something about who he is today, either by contrast or extreme similarity. 

Short best man speech example: Get some quick laughs and an “aww” with a little something like this. 

“I really should have given my speech first since (maid of honor)’s speech was way better than mine, but this is all your fault (groom), so enjoy! Thank you all for coming and for those who helped make this wedding so beautiful. (Bride), you look absolutely stunning tonight. (Groom), well, you’re here tonight. All jokes aside, I’m really happy for you both. I always wanted (a sister, someone to help me wrangle the groom, etc.), and now I finally have one. So here’s a toast to the bride and groom!”

  • Key takeaway: A quick icebreaker, thank you, and joke followed by a sentimental thought is really all you need. 

  • Make it your own: Personalize the items in brackets to fit your sense of humor and situation. Reference real stories and moments at the wedding. 

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2. Use a template.

If memorizing a script feels like too much pressure, outline your main points, and improvise from there. Here’s a foolproof structure for any best man speech.

  • Introduce yourself and how you know the happy couple.

  • Thank the hosts or parents if they paid for the wedding.

  • Say something nice about their partner and something funny about them.

  • Tell a short, funny story about your relationship to the groom that ties into what makes the newlyweds’ relationship special too.

  • End on a sentimental note with your well wishes.

Pro tip: Brainstorm 3-5 anecdotes you like, sleep on it, then narrow down your options to your Top 2. 

3. Nail the opening line.

The most memorable opening line for a best man speech is funny, grabs the audience’s attention, and offers a twist at the end. For example: 

“(Groom) didn't have an easy decision in choosing his best man. First, he called his most successful friend, who said no. Then, he called his smartest friend, who said no. Then, he asked his most attractive friend, and he also said no. Then, he called me, and I said, ‘(groom), I can't say no to you four times.’” 

4. Tell great jokes.

Keep the slander to a minimum. Instead, focus on making fun of yourself or telling a story of which you’re both equally embarrassed. You can also take this opportunity to be comedically competitive, regardless of who comes out on top in your speech. 

For example, acknowledging how you’ve done better at something can be funny just as long as you then mention how they ended up being the winner anyway because they found their partner. 

You can also take this opportunity to let others know about an inside joke or a story of something you two did together that no one has heard before (as long as it won’t get you in trouble with their partner, of course). 

5. Sprinkle in one-liners.

Funny one-liners are a great way to get the audience’s energy up and keep them engaged before you end with a sentimental punch. Here are some examples that even grandma will appreciate.

  • (Bride), you look stunning. (Groom), you look stunned.

  • (Bride), you're so beautiful you make (groom) look ... (successful, famous, rich)?

  • (Bride), you’re the luckiest person in the world to lock down someone like my (friend, brother, etc.). (Groom) is so good looking, so considerate, so humble, so… (groom), I’m sorry, I can't read your handwriting here.

6. Consider your relationship.

The most impactful best man speeches take the relationship you have with the groom into account. Here are some tips for each major type.

Older brother getting married:

  • Limit yourself to one or two icebreaker insults. Any more and your speech turns into a roast. 

  • Highlight how much of an example the groom has set for you, for better or worse. 

Younger brother getting married:

  • Mention at least one meaningful way you’ve seen the groom grow over the years. 

  • Make a joke to their partner’s benefit about how the groom has “finally won” your sibling rivalry by finding them.

Dad getting married:

  • Incorporate an important life lesson your dad taught you and weave it into both your main story and your perspective on the wedding today. 

  • Express gratitude for all he has done for you. He’ll really appreciate it. 

Best friend getting married:

  • Mention a good quality you remember from the early days of your friendship such as their talent at field hockey or their love of knitting. 

  • Talk about what makes them special compared to the rest of your friend group in your eyes through the lens of a flattering story. 

If you don’t have a close relationship with the groom: Lean into their interests and use them as a metaphor for how you feel about their marriage. For example, a Star Wars buff might really appreciate a Luke and Leia comparison. Personalizing it like this will show how much you care by putting in more effort to get to know their interests and give you another thing to bond over long after the wedding is over. 

Hint: if it’s the groom’s second marriage, make sure you know who is in attendance before you start jokingly ripping into their ex. In fact, let them be the ones to make jokes about the situation.

Now you know how to give an amazing best man speech! 

Using the advice above, you now know everything about how to write and give a best man speech everyone will enjoy. Don’t be afraid to use borrowed examples, templates, or one-liners. As long as you personalize it and speak from the heart, your speech will be memorable. 

Up next, find other ways to leave your mark on the big day with some super fun and unique bridal party entrance ideas.

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Wedding Spot

Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.