8 Tips for How to Give the Best Best Man Speech… and a Best Man Speech Outline!
The moment has arrived. Your palms are sweaty. The microphone is ready to slip from your hand. You feel flustered, anxious, and nearly panicked in your rented tuxedo.
You open your mouth and realize you can’t remember your speech. Not a word of it. It’s one of the biggest days of your best friend’s life and you can’t remember all the nice stuff you had planned to say about him.
Or, even worse, you open your mouth and give the worst speech imaginable. The bride weeps, the groom clenches his fists, and you get booed off the stage.
Worst case scenario, right? But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re here to help you avoid the unmitigated disaster that your best man speech could be. Now, let’s cover the many Don’ts and several Do’s of giving the best Best Man speech you can.
Don’t Wing Your Best Man Speech
You might be the most charming man alive. The funniest, handsomest, most confident guy on the planet.
But for a best man speech, that’s not good enough. You’re not charming enough to carry this thing without writing it down ahead of time. You’re not Matthew McConaughey in a Lincoln commercial. (Unless you are. In which case, thanks for reading, Matthew!)
Don’t Make it About Yourself
Yes, you should be sure to introduce yourself, but this speech is about the relationship between the happy couple. Not about the relationship between you and the groom. Remember that speech Mitch gave in Old School? The one about his girlfriend cheating on him? Yeah, don’t give that speech.
Don’t Tell Mean-Spirited Jokes
This isn’t a roast of the groom. Even if he has thick skin, the rest of the room could still get offended if you go after him too hard. Go easy on the guy.
And please, don’t make ANY jokes at the expense of the bride, her bridesmaids, or any family members. You should compliment the bride and gently rib the groom.
Don’t Write Your Best Man Speech on Your Phone
C’mon. Don’t be that guy. No one wants to look through their wedding photos and see that one of you squinting at your iPhone, trying to scan through it without dropping the mic. We’ve all been to that wedding. Either write it by hand ahead of time or even type it out and print it.
Don’t Be Inappropriate
Don’t drink too much. Don’t use profanity. Don’t tell an off-color joke.
If there’s one guarantee about weddings, it’s that both grandparents and young children will be in the room. Don’t say anything that will offend the masses.
Don’t Exclude Anyone in the Room
Don’t play to your base. You’re going to need to get the whole room laughing and crying. Cast a wide net with your stories. You get one inside joke, tops.
Don’t Talk About Ex-Girlfriends, Ex-Boyfriends, or Ex-Spouses
This one should not need to be said. But wow, people make this mistake a lot.
Don’t Forget to Practice
Practice in the mirror. Practice in the car on the way there. Run it past some friends. Share it with the other groomsmen. You only get one shot at this speech. Don’t blow it.
Still Stumped? Welp, Here’s a Best Man Speech Outline
We covered what not to do above. Now, here’s the most basic outline possible for your best man speech:
Introduce yourself: By now, they know you’re the best man. But why? Are you a brother? A college roommate? A best friend from childhood? What earned you this status?
- Make them laugh: Crack a gentle joke, early in the speech, that hurts zero feelings.
- Deliver the origin stories: You’ve already established how you know the groom. But you can dig a little deeper into your storied friendship, before launching into the tale of how he met his future wife. Recall how he first told you about her. How he introduced you. And how happy you could see they both were.
- Tell how their relationship has changed them both for the better: Because it has, or you wouldn’t be here.
- Get inspirational: Close with something big. A heavy-hitting quote. (Note that we have an article on our sister blog about inspiring marriage quotes, ready to help you out in a pinch.) Get those tears going.
Remember: open with a joke and close with a tear.
Was the above helpful? Did you get that speech written already? Reward yourself by buying a set of two engraved bullet whiskey glasses — one for you, one for the groom. You earned it, bud.
Guide To Groomsmen Gift Etiquette
Gift giving is usually stressful: what to get, how to give the gift, how much to spend, when to give the gift, or even whether you should get a gift at all. This can get even more complicated when it revolves around your wedding. But, thankfully, for weddings, there is a tried-and-true etiquette you can follow to make things simpler.
First of all, as the groom, you are responsible for getting gifts for the best man, the groomsmen, and any other male members of the wedding party, which might include the ring-bearer and the ushers, though that really depends.
There are a few reasons to give your wedding entourage gifts, not least of them being that you want to thank them for their help and support. But it’s also a memorable occasion - so giving them personalized gifts that remind them of your friendship during this big milestone in your life is your main goal.
There’s a little bit of hierarchy to gift giving: the gift you get for your best man should be something a little more special than what you get for the groomsmen, and the groomsmen’s gifts should be a little more special than what you get the ushers.
According to groomsmen gift etiquette best practices, you should give your groomsmen their gifts during your bachelor dinner or your rehearsal dinner. You can put them on the dinner table, in front of each recipient’s seat, or give them personally to each one. And, finally, what you get the groomsmen really depends on who they are and what you can afford. If you need a rough guideline for how much to spend on gifts, read this.
Make sure that the gifts are appropriate. For example, don’t get your vegetarian best man a fishing set, or your sober groomsmen a whiskey flask. Though these kinds of gifts can be really great for the right people, there are other types of gifts that are suitable for everyone, such as key chains, money clips, or pocketknives. For more inspiration, check out How To Shop For Every Type Of Groomsman.
Here are some suggestions for groomsmen gifts, according to price range.
Jump To Your Price Range
Groomsmen Gifts Under $25:
A Personalized Stainless Steel Bottle Opener in the size and shape of a credit card can fit in your groomsman’s wallet so he always has it handy when he needs it. You can personalize it with two lines so he will remember you whenever he uses it.
These Silver Round Beaded Personalized Cufflinks that you can personalize with a three initial monogram are another fail-safe gift you can get your groomsmen, or your best man.
And finally, this Personalized Stainless Steel Lock-Back Knife, packaged in a sleek tin box lined with custom foam, is always a favorite.
Groomsmen Gifts Under $50:
This Personalized Leather Wallet is also a money clip, making it one of the most practical groomsmen gifts you can get, but one that is also classy and valuable.
A Monogrammed Whiskey Glass Decanter can make for a very special and elegant memento, so long as the recipient of the gift is into whiskey in the first place. So, if you know your best man or groomsmen would love it, it could be the biggest hit yet.
A contemporary twist on a turn-of-the-century beauty: this Engraved Gunmetal Pocket Watch is the ultimate in men’s fashion swag, and it can also offer your groomsmen an alternative to constantly checking the time on their phones, which is not the most aesthetically-pleasing behavior during special moments, meetings, or other such events.
Groomsmen Gifts Under $100:
Though you can find gift sets for this price range, we want to give you some ideas for individual gifts for under $100. This Personalized Borello Leather and Canvas Tool Bag, for one, is perfect for any “handy” best man or groomsman. It has side pockets with a place for three initials, and ample storage inside the different pockets and compartments.
Another example is this DrinkTanks® 64 oz Insulated Growler made of stainless steel and with double wall vacuum insulation. The BPA free poly cap is secured by a sturdy dual-bail cap system that is leak-proof and keeps contents cold for 24+ hours and hot for 12+ hours. It’s perfect for groomsmen that are into going fishing or camping for a day.
This NFL Locker Room Canvas is a probably one of the most personalized gifts you can get for sports-enthusiasts, because you can choose the NFL teams you know they love, and you can add their names on the #1 Jerseys.
Groomsmen Gifts Over $100:
Now, just remember, on average, most grooms get groomsmen gifts between $20 and $50, so the only reason to buy expensive gifts is if a) you have the budget for it, and b) you really want to rather than feeling obliged to. And, again, you can find really cool sets for this price range that can cover gifts for all your buddies. But, here are a few individual gift ideas for over $100 a piece.
A Badger Hair Brush and Razor Shaving set, that can, of course, be personalized. Though reminiscent of a time long ago, the quality and technology of this set is state of the art, giving your groomsmen the closest shaves they can get.
This Personalized Waxed Canvas Duffle Bag is made in the USA. The materials used are high quality 20oz. waxed cotton canvas and solid brass and stainless-steel hardware. This is perfect for your friends that love to travel on the fly and need a bag that can look good while handling the strain. It comes in several different colors, such as charcoal, field tan, and blue.
Read our new 21 Best Groomsmen Gifts of 2019
Groomsmen Style Guide
Though wedding themes and moods vary widely, and the wedding crew should dress accordingly, there are a few guidelines that can help make decisions about style and accessories for you and your groomsmen simpler. And even if your wedding is more alternative, it’s still good to know some of the basic do’s and don’ts of groomsmen style and then take it from there.
Although we do encourage you to let your personal taste be your guide, the first and most important rule of thumb you should follow is to coordinate with your bride. If you’re going for a traditional tux and bowtie, and she’s doing the bohemian look with flowers in her hair, the look won’t make sense. This doesn’t mean that you should dictate how the other dresses or accessories, as both of you should feel comfortable and excited about your attire, but, still, a little harmony goes a long way.
Now, let’s start with the most important accessory.
Tie, Bowtie, Or No Tie?
Bowties are not just suitable for super formal tuxedos; they go beautifully with formal suits and more casual styles too.
Ties can go with tuxedos or suits, and they can be very formal, like a black tie, or more casual, like a colorful or print tie.
You can also opt-out of wearing any kind of tie at all if your wedding is not a formal affair. For example, if you’re going to have it outdoors in the daytime, like in your backyard, at the beach, or in the woods.
Generally, it is better to have the groomsmen style as close to your style as possible, without looking like your clones. You don’t want to be wearing a casual linen suit with a bright bowtie and have them wear black suits with black ties.
Less noticeable, but just as important as the tie, are the shoes.
The Right Shoes
Shoes, like ties, depend on the overall look you’re going for. A formal suit calls for a sophisticated black leather shoe. Try to get ones with leather soles as well, as that makes them look even classier. But if they’re brand new, make sure you break them in a little at home so you don’t get sore feet before your first dance.
If you’re wearing a suit that has some color to it, you can opt for brown leather shoes. Although black shoes go well with dark navy suits, brown leather shoes compliment blue suits very well, and can give you an earthier yet still polished look.
Some grooms decide to make a statement with their shoes, by going for an Oxford style shoe, or even sneakers, like the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, or by wearing colorful socks. Again, this will really depend on your personal style as well as the time and location of your wedding. And, as always, your groomsmen should go for a similar look.
Now that you’ve got the three most important decisions already made (the suit, the tie, and the shoes) you can start playing around with some fun groom and groomsmen accessories like pocket watches, gloves, handkerchiefs, cufflinks, and hats.
How To Mix And Match Groom and Groomsmen Style
Right off the bat, here are two big “don’ts” that you really shouldn’t mess with, no matter what. The first is to never wear a belt and suspenders at the same time. Thankfully, we haven’t yet met a man that made that mistake. The second no-no is to wear a belt with a tuxedo - you either don’t wear anything, or you wear suspenders if you need them.
With tuxedos, some men choose to wear cummerbunds - sashes worn around the waist in order to keep the tuck of the shirt and waistband neat - instead of vests. They’re not a necessity, but they can elevate the look even more.
For suits, it’s really up to you whether you want to go with suspenders or a belt. Suspenders are eye-catching if you intend on taking off your jacket at some point, while belts give the spotlight to other groom and groomsmen accessories.
And you can do one thing and have your groomsmen do the opposite.
If your groomsmen are wearing belts, you can get them personalized belt accessories as gifts that also add to their style. For example, personalized leather key fobs with space for initials.
This comes in black or brown leather, and the all-metal swivel hook and D-ring can be dressed in gold, rose gold, or silver foil. If you’re really brave, you can also gift them with personalized belt buckle groomsmen flask, like this one.
Don’t skimp out on cufflinks, even if you go for a more casual look. Many grooms have cufflinks handed down to them from their fathers or grandfathers, and those can make for very special touches to your style. Cufflinks are also one of the groomsmen accessories that make for simple yet meaningful personalized gifts.
Metal cufflinks need to match the metal on belts and watches. And, you and your groomsmen definitely need to wear watches in order to stay on top of the wedding schedule. You don’t want to be pulling out your phones to look at the time (and quickly checking emails) on this special occasion.
One way to dress up your “watch wearing” is to opt for pocket watches. They can also be a very interesting option for groomsmen gifts. For example, this gunmetal pocket watch has exposed gears, roman numerals, and space on the back to add a personalized message of up to three lines.
Hats and gloves are much less common these days, in general and for weddings. It’s really up to you if you feel like they’d add an extra flare and if you’d feel comfortable with them. You can also choose to wear them for a specific purpose, such as for photos, and then go without the rest of the time.
Finally, small details can really help you coordinate your look with your bride’s look, and your groomsmen style with the bridesmaids’ style. The color of the pocket squares is one of those little details. For a formal look, like with a tuxedo, it’s better to go with classic white squares, while for less formal looks, you can add a splash of color that matches the bridal party’s dresses or accessories.
You can also add a buttonhole that matches your bride’s bouquet.
So, don’t be shy, and experiment with different styles and details here and there. Let your personality come through.