We’ve decided it’s time to show a little love for the guys. Each month, we’ll share tips and stories from real-life groomsmen about what it’s like to be part of a friend’s wedding. So listen up groomsmen-to-be, this is for you!
So you’re the best man. You’ve planned a bacchanalia of a bachelor party that was just short of an appearance by Dionysus himself. You’ve allowed nary a minute go by without double-checking (and triple-checking) your pocket to ensure that ring is still present. You’ve posed in so many photographs that the old adage about your facial expressions getting “stuck” is starting to hold some water.
But you have one last responsibility before you can let loose and do something that would make a viable attempt at public office a distant memory: the best man’s toast.
Prepare. More than an hour before the reception.
Start writing your speech in the week leading up to the wedding—a good idea would be to keep it as a draft email and make little edits as they come to mind.
Keep it simple. If you are not routinely compared to Oscar Wilde leave the wit and humor out—it will be unnatural and contrived. Bawdy remarks are best suited for the bachelor party and any overly esoteric inside jokes should remain limited.
Once you’ve written your remarks, practice them! More than once. Out loud. Find an audience if you can. You’ll want to ensure it flows well and does not go much longer than one to two minutes.
Print out a copy of your speech and put it in your pocket—however, do not take it out when it’s time to toast the bride and groom. Deliver it from memory—your oration will be infinitely more natural and you shouldn’t stumble over your words if you’ve practiced enough.
And finally, don’t forget to drink from your own glass after the toast!