A best man's speech can make or break a wedding but by using common sense you can make sure your toast is remembered for all the right reasons.
A wedding is certainly a nerve racking day for the couple of the day, but the nerves also extend to the best man who has the difficult job of coming up with a memorable speech at the reception.
The main problem people have with their speech is that they overcomplicate things and make things harder for themselves. A good best man's speech should be short and snappy - more than five minutes and people's thought start to wander, longer than seven and people start to get bored. While brevity is important, it's good to use two minutes as your minimum marker.
Confidence is key to delivering a good speech so try to get it written and ready a good while before the day and practice as much as you can. The better you know the key points of your speech, the more relaxed you will be and, remember, the groom chose you to be best man so be yourself.
A good best man's speech includes jokes (good jokes, not dirty ones), a story or two about the couple (how they met, how happy they are together - stories that are appropriate for all ages), a thank you to all who made the wedding possible (such as whoever paid for the event) and, finally, a toast to a successful future.
You should try to make your stories balanced between the bride and the groom, but as you are the groom's best man you may not know the bride as well. In this case, it's always good to talk about the groom's feeling for the bride. This is generally the time to act as a salesman, talking up your friend to the bride's family who may not know the groom - what you tell them may help to form their first impression.
It is always best to err on the side of caution with your speech - being boring or soppy is a lot better than being offensive. Telling dirty jokes or speaking about the groom's ex-girlfriend may get a few laughs from your friends, but the bride's parents and elderly relatives may not be amused and if it's you that's blamed for ruining the wedding with your inappropriate speech it's more likely to be you than the wedding insurance providers who ends up shelling out compensation.
Submitted by Reagan Blackpool, www.marksandspencer.com