February 27th 2013 |
The Best Man’s Speech – quite possibly the most terrifying ordeal that the young gentleman may face in his lifetime. Thrown into an arena of hostile glares, the gentleman must produce something sharp, witty, and above all, inoffensive lest he find himself ostracised for the rest of his adult life.
No pressure, then.
The big mistake that the prospective best man always makes is getting his audience wrong. It’s not a speech aimed at the bride, or the groom, or the parents, or even the groom’s mates who found the drunken rehearsal down the pub oh-so-funny. The one person in the room to whom you are delivering this speech, and on whose judgement your entire future life rests is this:
The bride’s grandmother.
If you offend the bride’s grandmother, you might as well volunteer to be a toilet cleaner on the British Antarctic Survey, because (and I am going to make this perfectly clear) She Will Hunt You Down To The Ends Of The Earth.
This means, of course, that you’re going to have to take out all those hilarious stories about sexual encounters with farmyard animals, not to mention the line “Well, what can I say about the lovely bride? She’s got everything, and after last night, I think I have too.” This was a joke first performed by Jim Davidson in the early eighties and comes with a free Jim’ll Fix It badge.
So, here are a few pointers:
1. Unaccustomed as you are to public speaking, don’t start your speech with the lines “Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking”. I will hunt you down like the cur that you are.
2. Remember that time you went on holiday to Spain and found the groom naked, face down and being used as a bike rack? Don’t include that
3. Remember that time when you were kids, and he rescued a kitten? Include that
4. No detailed lists of sexual conquests. That goes for both groom AND bride. AND the bridesmaids, come to think of it. AND the vicar.
5. For the love of all that is holy, keep it simple. We went to a wedding where the best man had a table full of props, and the lack of rehearsal coupled with the dullness of the subject matter had half the hall outside in the smoking shelter within minutes. And we don’t even smoke.
6. There are plenty of books of best man’s speeches. Bin the lot, we say, and tell it from the heart because it’s got to be personal and fun. He’s your best mate, so say how much you love him. People like that.
7. Rehearse it. Not in front of the groom – with your mum. If she likes it, then bride’s granny might even crack a smile. Miracles do happen.
8. Please please please please don’t spent half an hour reading out the cards. Yes, it’s “traditional”, but it is also “the most boring 30 minutes of anybody’s life”. Nobody – repeat – NOBODY wants to hear what Uncle Peter and Auntie Joanne wrote, not even Uncle Peter and Auntie Joanne.
9. “I’d like to propose a toast – to go with the pate!!!” – see point 1 above.
10. Keep it short, to the point, polite, and remember to raise a glass at the end. You’ll be a hero.