Not many of us will get the opportunity to be Bestman in our lifetime and not many of us will get the opportunity to be Bestman for a famous person. Talking about the latter, how does a Bestman prepare his Bestman duties and what does he say in his speech for a person who is a public figure, who is in the public eye or has achieved success in their area of interest, expertise or skill in their career, profession or life? To be a Bestman for anyone isn’t an easy task, but to be Bestman for someone who is famous is a different proposition, or is it?

Do carry out your normal duties normally i.e.:

  • Welcome everyone through a mini-opening speech
  • Call in the Bride & Groom
  • Carry out the pre-meal duties
  • Carry out the cake cutting ceremony
  • Act as Master of Ceremonies (MC)
  • Deliver your speech when your time comes (see below)
  • Carry out the post-meal duties

You will obviously be thinking about and preparing your speech long before the wedding and trying to put what is in your mind and heart on paper. Whether it is a family member, relation or friend, the same general layout, narrative and structure prevails with the following considerations:

  • Treat the Bride & Groom like ordinary, yet special people like any couple on their wedding day
  • Demonstrate your delight and honour to be their Bestman
  • Talk about both of them in equal measure (if possible)
  • Which ever one of them is famous;
    • Remind the audience why they are famous
    • Share their achievements
    • Talk about their traits, qualities, skills that has brought them to the pinnacle of their famous-tivity
    • Develop stories around their journey to success-hood with punch-lines towards the end
    • Mention recent and / or current activities that are in the media
    • Consider introducing appropriate props as part of your speech that can add humour
    • Don’t overdo the plaudits on them, we don’t want to embarrass them or turn the audience off your speech

Give your Bestman duty the respect, time and effort it needs and be the ultimate Bestman…

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Most Irish wedding speeches are delivered in the English language as most of the audience expect it to be and most of them anyway will probably speak or understand it.
For people who are fluent Irish speakers, it would be suggested that you do deliver part of your speech in Irish. This can be done at the start of the speech, at the end of the speech or throughout the speech. It is important that what you say is said in English too either word for word or in a different way, as your guests can feel left out if they do not understand what you are saying / have said.

For people not born in Ireland and who are getting married in Ireland where English is not their first language, it is expected that most of the speech could be delivered in their native tongue, though not all of it. One would have to make an attempt at delivering part of the speech or saying a few words in the English language.

If you are wondering what to say in the Irish language or in your native tongue, consider wedding blessings, wedding poems and opening and closing your speech in Irish.

Your wedding guests always appreciate people speaking in their native tongue, once they know what they are saying or that it is translated for them.

Finally, if some of your main wedding party and guests are from a particular part of the world, welcoming them in their native language or saying a few words during your speech would make them feel really at home.

Whatever language(s) you use during your wedding speech, cover everything that your specific speech is supposed to cover, prepare well, practice, look forward to it and don’t forget to smile!

cheers

When should we give the speeches at our wedding, before, during or after the meal? Let’s investigate the best option!

Before the meal

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Advantages:

  • All speakers can enjoy the meal
  • The speeches will be over and done with
  • They maybe shorter than normal
  • The Bestman will be have their speech out of the way
  • The Bride and the Mother of the Bride worries will be over

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Disadvantages:

  • The management of the hotel may have to pay staff, waitresses and waiters more money
  • The Chef and his kitchen staff will be under pressure to manage the food quality as they will not know the duration of the speeches
  • Wedding guests will be hungry and may not give the speeches the attention they deserve with empty stomachs
  • What will the guests do to allow their meal digest?
  • What ‘transitions’ from the meal to the post-reception celebrations?

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During the meal

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Advantages:

  • Can deliver one to two speeches between each meal course
  • Wedding guests will give more attention to the speeches as they will have been served food
  • Will add variety to the meal
  • As waitresses and waiters clear the table and guests are waiting for their next course to be served, a speech or two could be delivered
  • Some speakers will have their speech completed and can enjoy the rest of their meal

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Disadvantages:

  • The management of the hotel may have to pay staff, waitresses and waiters more money
  • The Chef and his kitchen staff will be under pressure to manage the food quality as they will not know the duration of each speech between meal courses
  • Will make for a longer meal duration
  • Speakers may not enjoy the complete meal as they wait to be called to speak
  • Guests may not be able to hear the speeches clearly as waitresses and waiters clear tables after each course and serve the next course

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After the meal

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Advantages:

  • It is the norm that any speeches that need to be delivered are delivered after a meal at any celebratory event
  • Wedding guests will be fully attentive to the speeches as they will have had their full meal
  • The hotel can better management their staff as when the meal has been completely served, most of the waitresses waiters can finish
  • The Chef and their staff can better manage the food as they will have a more accurate time when to serve the food and can plan accordingly
  • Better quality could possibly be delivered

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Disadvantages:

  • Speakers may not have enjoyed the meal as much as they should have in the knowledge that they have yet to deliver their speech
  • Nerves for the speakers have more time to develop
  • Wedding guests may want to leave immediately after the meal, but can’t as the speeches are an important part of the wedding occasion
  • Too many speeches at the one time if they are long speeches could become difficult to listen to
  • Wedding may be anxious to get to the bar…!

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Best option, probably After!

Whenever you decide to deliver your wedding speeches, prepare and deliver them well…it is a once-off, it will never happen again.

The Bestman sets the tone for a wedding. All eyes are on the Bestman from the Church ceremony to the end of the speeches. Of course the Bride and Groom get all the attention from everyone there, but the Bestman is the person who keeps the show on the road, keeps everyone on toe and makes sure that the day goes according to plan. His job is much more than delivering his speech, which a lot of Bestmen forget. So how can a Bestman set the tone for the wedding, so that everyone has a great time, especially the Bride & Groom and of course the guests? Read more

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…!