After the Bride and Groom, all eyes are on the Bestman. This person is seen as the Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the day, who the Bride and Groom put a lot of trust in to make sure that the day goes smoothly. In fact the Bride’s and Groom’s parents put a lot of trust in them too hoping he is competent and able to do the job without embarrassing anybody  through what they do or say. Of all the duties on a wedding day, the Bestman duty is arguably the hardest, most stressful and most demanding. It demands careful planning in consultation with the Bride and Groom and indeed all of the wedding party. There job starts long before the wedding day and officially ends when the music ends. The most challenging duty for any Bestman is the writing and delivery of their main speech, actually preparing everything they have to say as they are MC for the day. Everybody (even the most experienced of speakers) prepare and practice before every speaking occasion and the Bestman is no different. So what does he need to consider and do as he prepares to write and deliver his speech(es) (both originally and authentically)? Below are some thoughts to consider (some you will do and some you will not).

  • Address dignitaries i.e. , Priests, ladies and gentlemen and any special guests (they should know people at the top table and in audience that require special mention)
  • Introduce yourself (name and relationship to Bride & Groom)
  • Ask people to turn off or turn down mobile telephones
  • Are there any speeches before the meal that need to be delivered
  • Grace before meals
  • Cake cutting ceremony
  • Cards, faxes, e-mails, special messages (collect from reception), only read out from people who are not in attendance
  • The order of speeches is, but is open to change:
  1. Priest 1
  2. Father of the Bride
  3. Father of the Groom
  4. Groomsman / men (optional)
  5. Bridesmaid / maids (optional)
  6. Bride
  7. Groom
  8. Bestman
  9. Priest 2

(Ask every Wedding Hotel Manager / Co-ordinator and they will tell you that the only people that should speak at a wedding is the Father of the Bride and the Groom!)

  • Gifts to parents / grandparents
  • Thank you’s (shared between top table – can be discussed between the Bestman, Bride and Groom) some necessary/some optional (preferably people who are in the audience) including:
  • Hotel, Manager, Wedding Co-ordinator, Chef and staff (mention main contact in hotel by name)
  • Parents / Guardians
  • Cake maker
  • Priests in church
  • Servers
  • Sacristan
  • Church singer
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Dressmakers
  • Invitation card makers
  • Page boy/flower girl and their parents
  • Wedding cars, suit hire etc.
  • Any other people involved

Bestman’s Speech

  1. Address dignitaries i.e. , Rev. Fathers, ladies and gentlemen and any special guests
  2. Welcome in Bride and Groom into the function room to respective families
  3. Say how delighted you are to be the Bestman
  4. Compliment Bride and Groom on how well they look
  5. How do you know Bride & Groom
  6. Talk about positive personality traits, skills, talents, what you like and what others like about them
  7. Talk about them in equal measure (many Bestmen don’t)
  8. Gather information about them (in confidence) through their parents, family, friends, relations including bridesmaids/ groomsmen
  9. Develop true stories (slightly exaggerate) about them, but do not embarrass them or the audience
  10. Talk about both parents
  11. Toast the Bride and Groom
  12. Consider closing the speech (without Bride/groom knowing) and after priest has said grace after meals by saying;
  • ”Finally, before I finish, I have one wish and one request.  My wish is that on behalf of the Bride and Groom that you all have a wonderful evening and night ahead.  My request is that you all be here to join us for the Bride and Groom’s first dance as the newly married couple”

Note: Confirm that all the other speakers have said all the ‘Thank You’s’ / Toasts that they are supposed to say / do and try not to repeat Other miscellaneous duties ‘considered-to-be’ Bestman duties / responsibilities:

  1. Rings
  2. Ribbons on cars
  3. Priest’s, sacristan, servers payment
  4. Church singer and band payment
  5. Collect all e-mails, cards, messages, presents, gifts from Hotel Reception and people throughout day and store safely…consider having key to Bride and Groom’s hotel bedroom
  6. Bonfires (or any traditional celebratory events to mark the occasion)
  7. Give band list of singers/musician’s to call on to do their party piece
  8. Have your hotel contact beside you at all times or close by
  9. Finally and most importantly your main duty is to take care of the happy couple, always checking are they OK for everything throughout the whole day.

It is a privilege to be asked to be Bestman at a wedding. Plan, Prepare and Practice and be the Bestman ever…show them how it is done…!

Whether your wedding celebrations are held in a hotel, restaurant or outdoor venue, there usually is one person in charge of proceedings i.e. a person who takes charge of the celebrations from start to finish – The Wedding Coordinator. This is a person that the Bride & Groom trust as it has probably been the first person they met when they first entered their proposed venue for their wedding. The Wedding Coordinator also must trust the Bride & Groom with respect to what they want on the day and their plans for the day i.e. a schedule of events. They say that the only thing that the Wedding Coordinator is not in control of at a wedding is the speeches. They can control everything else as usually they call the shots, but when it comes to the wedding speeches they have no control, they usually know when they are going to take place and that’s it. Duration and content is out of their hands.  The speeches can place at anytime during a wedding:

  • When the guests arrive in the main foyer of the wedding venue
  • Just before the guests enter the eatery
  • Before the meal starts
  • After the starter
  • After the main course
  • After dessert
  • The speeches can be delivered during the meal courses where one or two speakers would deliver their speech

Wedding Coordinators usually prefer to have the speeches delivered after the dessert is served.  There are many reasons for this with respect to the Wedding Coordinator and indeed the guests. The guest would prefer the speeches to take place after the meal because:

  • From the time the wedding service (the nuptials) are over to the time they get to the venue can be usually a  long period of time and hunger sets in
  • When people are hungry, all they are thinking about is their stomach
  • They need to know when the meal is officially over, the speeches does this
  • They want to allow the food that they have enjoyed ‘settle’ by they sitting down and not moving for at least 30-40 minutes, the speeches fills this time period
  • They want to experience various emotions as they think about the Bride & Groom through other people’s thoughts and stories and they cannot best do this on an empty stomach

The Wedding Coordinator would prefer the speeches to take place after the meal because:

  • They can plan their day better for the Bride & Groom
  • They can work with the Chef and his or her kitchen staff around when to start cooking the food and what time to serve the food
  • The Chef can plan when he needs to have his team ready to serve the food
  • The Chef would prefer to serve the food immediately when it is cooked as we all know food that has been kept warm for a period of time after its cooked does not taste the same
  • When the food has all been served their main worry and challenge of the wedding is done and complete

So whether you are a Bride, Groom or indeed the Bestman (the person who is in control of the speeches, their content and especially their duration), let the Wedding Coordinator know about your plan for the speeches, when they are taking place, how long they will take and then inform each speaker of this giving them a maximum time to speak. They should then have the courtesy to plan their speech around this and everyone will be happy with everything.  

Speaking in front of family, friends and relations can for some people be the most difficult when it comes to delivering a speech or saying a few words. They all know you, they all know how you speak and they all know how you ‘go about yourself’. They have been a witness; with you all the way through your life to date, watching you develop and grow into the wonderful person you are today, some more than others. Whether it is speaking to them on a one to one or in a large group or indeed formally at a social occasion, they want to see and hear the real you speaking i.e. they want you to be authentic. If you are not, they may not believe what you are saying. Will the real Ger please stand up…! You need to remember that when speaking formally to family friends and relations, you are speaking to ‘old friends’, people who know you. With this mentality of ‘speaking to old friends’ you become more of yourself, the person your audience know. You will speak from the heart (like the way all speeches should be delivered) and become a speaker that they immediately take to, accept and believe. OK, you still need to have the good, appropriate, structured content for the occasion, but it can be delivered brilliantly and confidently with the above mindset. Like in all speeches, the audience want you to succeed and do well, they are behind you all the way, especially people that know you; speak to them from your heart to their heart. A little anxiousness and a little stress is a key requirement, as long as it is controlled and you are controlling it…it shows that you care! Try to look forward to speaking to family, friends and relations in a formal speech setting; believe in yourself and they will believe in you and you know the 3 P’s Plan, Prepare, Practice…! ENDS…  

If you are one of the people who have to make a wedding speech, then having a guide map can be very useful.  Although, it is an honour to give a wedding speech, it is not an easy event.  A wedding speech will require careful preparation and flawless execution, in order to be deemed successful. Consider the following general tips;

  1. Start by preparing yourself fully.  Remember that only careful preparation will save the day.
  2. Do research on what you are going to say in the wedding speech.
  3. Include appropriate comments about the bride and the groom in your speech.  Make sure that you express your best wishes to them.
  4. Thanking the guests and people who helped in anyway is customary, so make sure that you don’t forget anybody.
  5. Rehearse your speech as much as possible.
  6. Add humorous comments to lighten the tone of your speech.
  7. Avoid talking about the groom’s/bride’s past experiences with other woman/men.
  8. Use a joyous tone of voice in your speech, don’t fidget with your hands and always make eye contact with your audience to establish rapport with them.

Great Speech provides a specialized service in coaching people to improve and enhance in public speaking and communications skills whatever the occasion. Our tailored approach to the needs of the people we work with, delivers on their specific speaking challenges, requirements and budget. Contact us for a confidential 1 : 1 session and let us help you say what you want to say (content) and say what you have to say (structure). Let us take the stress out of your day so you can look forward to pleasing your audience…