Are there any hard-and-fast Best Man speech rules to keep you from dropping too many clangers on the big day? Well, every event is different, but to help you on your way we’ve come up with a list of universal topics based on a three-tiered scale – all the way from the tamest possible chat to the subjects you’d better approach with caution…
Safe as Houses
This is Best Man Speech 101. Unless you’re a spectacular doink, you shouldn’t get into any trouble with these magnolia topics.
The glorious wedding etc
Always a great place to start. Compliment some stuff, ideally the bridesmaids, the hosts, the flower arrangements etc. Ingratiate yourself with the crowd. Be magnanimous. Pave the way. Lull them into a false sense of security.
How they met
A classic Best Man speech ingredient, and in fact one without which your address wouldn’t really be complete. It probably goes without saying but, if there’s anything murky in the couple’s past (an overlap with a previous relationship, for example, or a propensity for dogging), keep it under your hat. It won’t be as funny on the day as it is inside your mad head.
The Groom’s Schooldays
Jumpers for goalposts, artwork made from pasta, pulling little girls’ pig-tails. There’s relatively little danger in warm, fuzzy anecdotes from the groom’s schooldays, particularly the primary era. This one should definitely keep you out of trouble.
Living on the Edge
We’re ramping it up now, which means this is the point at which you really need to turn on your inner critic – you know, the little voice in your head that warns you against jumping off buildings when you’re pissed. Yep, he’ll be coming in handy round about now…
If the Groom went to university, it would be churlish not to include some laugh-out-loud anecdotes from his halcyon student days… but beware. Student humour may not be the ultimate wedding bedfellow, and you need to pick wisely. The time he turned up to a lecture in his pyjamas, great. The time he took a dump on top of a bus stop – not so great.
Skeletons in the Closet
You have to embarrass the guy a little bit, otherwise your adoring public will be disappointed. The key here, however, is not to embarrass yourself by picking too risqué a story. If, for example, the skeleton in his closet is that he has an actual human skeleton in his closet, you might want to consider keeping it quiet.
Danger! High Voltage!
These topics aren’t necessarily off-limits entirely, but they need to be treated with the same combination of reverence and fear that you might bestow upon a hunk of radioactive plutonium. You know, when they stick it inside a quarantined box and you can only touch it through thick, galvanised-rubber gloves. That sort of thing.
Tread carefully, my friends. Obviously you’ll be showering the bride with compliments at some point (preferably on numerous occasions), but you might also be tempted to poke a little gentle fun at her. If you do, stay clean. And start praying.
They’ve paid for the whole shebang, they’re giving away their daughter, they’re probably feeling quite emotional. If you’re planning to go there, treat them with kid gloves, ‘cos it just ain’t worth the risk.
The Stag Do
The Stag Weekend obviously warrants a mention, but you need to be VERY selective. More than that, you need to pay respects to the global brotherhood of what-goes-on-tour-stays-on-tour. So while Gary puking in his own vindaloo and then eating it anyway was tremendous at the time, it has no place at the wedding breakfast.
………Whilst you’re on this topic, why not check out my post on the 5 Jokes NOT To Make (ever) in your best man speech? It could save your bacon one day (and by bacon, I really mean testicles).