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Wedding Planner: Top 5 Most Common Best Man Mistakes

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For most people unfamiliar to public speaking, the simple task of actually getting coherent speech out of their mouths is terrifying enough. Add to this the unwritten rule that all best men MUST be hilarious and you have the recipe for a very public, very embarrassing disaster.

Going All Out For Laughs

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Yes people do look forward to laughing with the best man but they’d much rather enjoy a well written, thoughtful speech than a gag a minute, scattergun shambles that fails to live up to expectations.  There’s a reason that a lot of stand up comedians are some of the most anxious, frazzled people you will ever meet. They live on their nerves for years on end, dreading the day the laughter stops. If you have the confidence of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the charm of Robin Williams and the whimsical brilliance of Eddy Izzard, then please ignore everything I just said. If however like me, you are adept at making your friends laugh in the pub but will struggle with nerves on the big day then it’s best not to put too much pressure on yourself. Practice a lot, test out punchlines on friends and make sure you include some nice stuff along with the jokes.

Going Into Detail About The Stag

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Stags are big business these days and whether you went for a quiet meal in the local pub or a six day bender in Malia, it’s likely you would have picked up a lot of funny anecdotes for the speech. Unfortunately though, an audience at a wedding is made up of a very varied group of people. A story about the groom being handcuffed to a Hen from Macclesfield whilst dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog, is likely to appeal to friends of the groom a lot more than it will to the brides Grandmother.

In this age of social media it’s pretty difficult to keep whatever happens on a stag doo as a secret but that still doesn't mean it needs to rear it’s ugly head at the wedding. A few anecdotes about what a good time you had will do the job, a detailed explanation of what actually happened will end in a stunned silence at best and an immediate application for divorce at worst.

Enjoying A Liquid Lunch

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A wedding party should be enjoyed and as the best man you are a big part of that. However a wedding can often be an extremely long day and involve imbibing alcohol from far earlier and at a much faster pace than you normally would. It’s a horrible feeling knowing that everyone else is relaxed and having fun whilst you are counting down the hours until you have to give the speech. A glass or two of prosecco and a couple of beers to steady the nerves can seem like an excellent idea until you realise that you are also far too nervous to eat. Roll on speech time and you are feeling a little more refreshed than you would have liked.

Depending on the timings of the speeches this will be more of a problem at some weddings than others. I was a guest at a wedding last year where there was a free bar and not a morsel of food in sight until about seven in the evening when we finally sat down for the speeches. Amazingly the best man had managed to keep himself very sober and duly delivered an excellent speech..from what I can remember! However if you are feeling nervous, it’s best to stay on the soft drinks until just before you go on. That first beer of the day will taste like the nectar of the gods when you are being handed it by a gushing guest telling you how amazing your speech was. The bride will want everyone to remember how beautiful she looked, not the moment the best man tripped over the microphone stand and collapsed straight through the wedding cake.

Repetition

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Being the best man you will usually be the last person to speak on a day of several speeches. As the ‘headliner’ you will usually have to follow two inevitably emotional speeches from the Father of the bride and the groom. At a wedding everyone is more than happy to clap as often as they are asked to for the bride, the bridesmaids and even the weather on the day. However they are less likely to enjoy the same stories, anecdotes or observations about the bride or groom for the second or even third time in the afternoon. Often this will not be a problem, as the best man your focus will be on your friendship with the groom and shouldn't really have too much of a crossover with the other speeches. These days however, it is not uncommon to have multiple best men speaking one after the other. If I ever find myself in this situation I always make a point of chatting with the other best men to see what there speech is likely to contain and to make sure we aren’t going to be stepping on each other’s toes.

There is no worse feeling than the heart stopping moment you realise you are going to have to cut half of your speech just before you stand up to do it. A quick beer and a chat in the lead up to the wedding can save a lot of stress on the day!

Not Enjoying The Day

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Being asked to be someone’s best man is one of the greatest honours that will ever be bestowed on you. People move around a lot more these days, they make a lot of friends and yet the groom has decided that you are the man for the job. That’s amazing.

The problem with weddings is that they can often feel like two years worth of preparation for a day that seems to pass in a matter of minutes. Watching a bride and groom on their big day can often feel like watching two people attempting to cross a motorway at the same time as eat cake, hug people and remember to keep smiling for the photos. Admittedly it’s a slightly less pressurised day for the best man but it can often feel like the day is racing past as you will away the hours so that you can get the speech done and relax. It’s a very difficult thing to do but you should try to put the speech to one side and take some time to look around and see how happy your friends and family are, how nice the location is and how good it is to be in a room with a lot of people that you know very well and who are all excited to hear you speak.

If you have prepared well then the speech will definitely go well and after it’s finished you will be able to get on with the more important business of tearing up the dance floor.  Oh yeah, try not to lose the rings though? If you do that you’re on your own!


We would like to say a huge thank you to Andy Naylor from www.theweddingspeechguy.com for contributing this outstanding blog for Matchbox Music. Please visit our Wedding Planner Series for more expert advice on planning your wedding!

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