So you’ve been asked to be the Best Man at your friend’s wedding and now you’re sweating because you know you have to write a Best Man speech. Don’t worry! As professional wedding officiants, we know a thing or two about writing speeches, wowing the crowd and talking about love.

Our tips below apply to anyone who has been asked to give a speech at a wedding, whether you’re the Best Man, Maid of Honour, Best Person or Best Friend. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to writing your speech or have no ideas for your toast, we have you covered.

Below we’re sharing all of our best Best Man speech ideas, from how long a speech should be to the exact format your speech should follow. We’re also including an example speech and our top tips to ensure your speech doesn’t flop!

Let’s write your wedding speech! 

wedding toast at hycroft manor with young hip & married vancouver wedding, best man speech
by Mattie C Photography

How long should the Best Man speech be?

Aim for your Best Man speech to be three minutes long. No one wants to sit through a 10 minute speech, even if you think it’s the most hilarious or heartfelt writing in the world. On the other hand, only speaking for a minute or two can feel incomplete.

If you’re not sure how long your speech should be, ask the couple. They likely have a detailed reception schedule and will appreciate you sticking to it. You’ll also want to find out from them exactly when during the reception you’re speaking so you’re not at the bar (or in the bathroom!) when it’s speech time.

How should I start writing a Best Man toast?

Before you start writing your Best Man toast, check in with the couple getting married. Besides how long they’d like the speech to be, they may have some other things for you to keep in mind – or some stories they definitely don’t want you to tell.

Remember to be yourself. If you’re naturally funny, include a few jokes. If you’re more serious or poetic, don’t be afraid to get sentimental. Your friends asked you to give a speech – they’re not expecting you to be someone you’re not. The best wedding toasts and speeches happen when the speakers are comfortable, which means not trying to be a comedian if that’s not who you are.

Don’t worry about bringing down the house with a killer joke, don’t worry about making everyone shed a tear and don’t worry about having a unifying theme for your speech. Take a deep breath and remember that you’re just sharing some thoughts and stories about some of your favourite people. As long as you put in a little effort, it’s going to be great.

Ready to start writing? Follow our Best Man speech template below! 

wedding guest giving a wedding toast at reception
by John Bello Photography

Best Man speech template

Follow these steps to write your own incredible Best Man speech!

1) Best Man toast introduction

Start your speech off by introducing yourself and sharing how you know the couple. This can be as simple as, “Hello, my name is Taylor and I’m the Best Man. I first met Cory in 3rd grade gym class.” Easy, right?

Pro tip: A lot of speakers think they need to begin their speech by welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming. This is actually not something you should do as the Best Man. Unless you’re hosting the wedding (aka you’re the couple getting married or you’re paying for the wedding), it’s not your place.

2) Talk about your friend

After you’ve introduced yourself, it’s time to talk about your friend – the person who just got married and who asked you to be their Best Man. This is your time to share a few short stories that highlight who your friend is and what their friendship means to you.

While your speech doesn’t need to have an overarching theme, it’s best if each story you share has a purpose. Answer the question, “Why am I telling this story and what does it say about my friend?” For example, a story about how your friend let you crash at their place when you were between apartments can show how loyal and generous your friend is.

Not sure what stories to tell? Keep reading for our best inspiration ideas and stories you definitely do not want to tell!

best man speech at vancouver wedding reception
by Lumina Weddings

3) Talk about their new spouse

One of the biggest things wedding speakers get wrong is only talking about their friend. Sure, you may know your friend better, but today isn’t just about your friend. It’s about your friend and their brand new spouse. Take some time during your speech to mention this important person too!

You can share stories of your time together, reflect on how the couple first met or talk about how you knew this person was going to be a great match for your friend. Even if you don’t know their spouse as well as you know your friend, you should be able to add a few sentences about them to your Best Man speech.

4) Talk about them together

As you start to wrap up your speech, bring it back to the couple. This is where you can talk about how great they are together, share your well wishes for their marriage ahead and thank them for including you in their special day.

Pro tip: Be careful about including marriage advice in your wedding toast. It can be nice to include some advice for the newlyweds in your speech, but only if that feels appropriate to you.

If you’ve been married for 10 years, go ahead and share a secret to your success! But if you’re single or newly divorced, skip the advice and offer well wishes instead.

5) Wedding toast closing line

Every good wedding speech ends with a toast! Include a sentence or two to congratulate the newlyweds and then lead everyone in a cheers to their union.

Make sure to bring a glass with you when you go to give your speech so you’re not scrambling to find one. And make sure to invite everyone to toast with you by asking them to raise their glasses. Many speakers forget to give guests a warning that the toast is coming, leading to a pretty lacklustre cheers. Ensure everyone is ready by saying something like, “And now, if you will all join me in raising your glasses…”

wedding toast and wedding speech, wedding guests clinking glasses
by John Bello Photography

Best Man speech example

Here’s an example of our Best Man speech template in action:

“Hello! For those who don’t know me, I’m Dave, Brad’s Best Man and I’ve known Brad for what feels like forever.

Brad and I go way back, to the days when our biggest concern was getting into movies we were probably too young to watch and deciding what haircuts would make us look like rock stars.

One of my favourite memories with Brad was when we were driving to Florida. Picture this: we’re eight hours into our road trip and get stuck in the middle of the night with a flat tire. Most folks would be cursing their luck, but not Brad. He turns to me and says, “Well, unexpected pit stop. Let’s check out this town!” That’s just how Brad rolls; he always finds the silver lining and keeps everyone around him smiling.

We’ve been through some crazy stuff together, Brad and me, but today’s not about that – it’s about two awesome people, Brad and Jane.

I knew Jane was the one for Brad when I first saw them together at karaoke night. Brad was rocking out to ‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’ missing every single note and there was Jane, cheering him on like he was the only guy in the room. I knew then that it had to be true love because only someone who really loved Brad could put up with his terrible singing.

Karaoke nights aside, Brad and Jane just fit, you know? She brings out the best in him, and he gets her laughing like nobody else can. It’s like they’re each other’s missing puzzle piece; life feels more complete when they’re together.

So if you can all join me in raising a glass to Brad and Jane. Here’s to a lifetime of laughs, love, and whatever adventures come your way. Cheers!”

Toast and cheers at wedding reception
above & feature image by Pursell Photography Inc

Fun ideas to inspire your Best Man toast

If you’re struggling to think of what stories to share in your Best Man toast, here are a few questions to inspire you:

  • What are some of your best memories with your friend? Think of trips you’ve been on, events you’ve attended, traditions you’ve kept up over the years, etc.
  • How did you first meet your friend? What was the moment you knew that you were going to be great friends for life?
  • What challenges have you or your friend gone through? How have you seen each other through those times?
  • When did you first meet your friend’s partner? How did you know the two of them were right for each other?
  • How has your friend changed for the better since meeting their partner? How have they grown?
  • How would you describe their relationship? Is there a story or moment that perfectly explains why you describe it that way?

And here are a few ideas you may want to incorporate into your speech. Remember, these ideas aren’t for everyone and you shouldn’t incorporate all of them. Only choose ideas that feel authentic to you!

  • Rhyming: It can be sweet to include a few rhyming lines in your speech, especially if you’re known as a good poet or rapper.
  • Dictionary definition: While it’s a little tired, you could include a dictionary definition in your speech in a new way. You could even poke fun at this speech convention and turn it on its head by saying something like, “Webster’s dictionary defines love as an intense feeling of deep connection but I say love is Patrick bringing David a blueberry scone every Sunday.”
  • Props: Sometimes a story is more engaging for guests if you’re able to bring out a prop. But don’t go overboard! Only include props if they are relevant to your speech, such as a note your friend passed you in math class about the cute guy who is now their husband!
  • Quote: If you can’t find the right words, you can always include a quote that sums up how you’re feeling. Check out these quotes on marriage or our favourite wedding quotes for inspiration!
  • Messages from people who couldn’t be there: If some people in your friend group couldn’t attend the wedding, this is a nice way to include them in your speech. You could also expand on this idea and include messages from people your friend isn’t expecting to hear from, like their third grade teacher who first sat you two together in class!
wedding reception speech at Queen Elizabeth Park
by The Eunice & Co

7 Best Man speech tips to ensure your speech is incredible (and doesn’t flop!)

So you know how to write your Best Man speech and you’ve got lots of ideas to inspire the content. Before you get writing, we want to leave you with seven important tips to make sure your speech is as awesome as possible.

1) Keep the focus on the couple, not you

Remember, this wedding day and your speech are about the couple getting married. It’s not just about your friend and it’s certainly not about you. Please don’t spend your whole Best Man speech telling stories about yourself or only trying to make yourself look good.

2) Don’t force the joke

This is a speech, not a roast. While you can make a non traditional wedding toast and tease your buddy, this is not the time to make him feel bad, uncomfortable or embarrassed. If you’re not sure if your jokes are going too far, they probably are.

3) Don’t be afraid to get sentimental

Best Man speeches are known for being light and funny. Most people expect the Best Man to keeps things casual and tell a few jokes. But the best Best Man speeches are the ones that come from the heart. Because no one is expecting it, you can make a huge impact by being heartfelt and sentimental.

4) Don’t get drunk

We hate that this has to be said but please, don’t get drunk before your speech. This is a special moment that your friends are counting on you to deliver. You don’t want to be shouting, slurring and stumbling your way through. Save any heavy drinking until after your speech is over.

5) Keep it G rated

Unless told otherwise by your friend who is getting married, assume that both grandparents and young children will be in the room listening to your speech. That means you need to keep things G-rated! Your speech should avoid:

  • past relationships or exes of the couple
  • shitting on marriage or bad marriage jokes
  • sexist jokes (go ahead and avoid these anytime you talk, not just for this speech!)
  • anything sex related
  • any stories that involve illegal activities

Use your best judgment. If you wouldn’t want a story like that about you told to your grandma or five year old cousin, cut it from your Best Man speech.

6) Practice

Please don’t get up there and try to wing it. You may think you’ll come off sounding more naturally and conversational but you won’t. You’ll look forgetful, unprepared and like you didn’t care enough to put any effort into your speech.

Take the time to thoughtfully write a speech and practice delivering it beforehand. If you’re nervous, get feedback from a friend.

7) Don’t read off your phone

In this day and age, it’s not unusual to see wedding speeches (and even vows!) being read off of phones. But this is one of our biggest pet peeves! By reading your speech off of a phone, you risk technology letting your down – what happens if you don’t have WiFi or your phone dies? You also look like you’re just scrolling on social media in all of the wedding photos.

Take the time to write or print out your speech. You’ll feel more confident and the photos will look so much better.

We hope we’ve covered everything you need to know to write an incredible Best Man speech. But we’re not going to leave the rest of the wedding speakers hanging! Check out our other wedding speech and toast resources: