1. Get Their Attention
To avoid putting the guests to sleep, speak clearly, confidently, and with inflection. A really great opening line can help set the tone, too.
2. Keep It Short
Nothing is worse than listening to lengthy back-to-back toasts. Remember that you’re likely not the only one speaking at the reception. So keep it concise, like this groomsmen did. This high-flyer takes a flight attendant's instructions that we all know too well from mundane to amusing in a matter of minutes.
3. Write It Down
Even if you don’t have anything elaborate planned, it’s a good idea to at least outline a few points on notecards. (But please, remember to look up!) This best man enlisted the power of rhyme to both toast and tease the groom, but he jotted it down for reference. (Skip to 1:13 to see for yourself.)
4. Include Everyone
The bride and groom aren’t the only ones you should be addressing. Make your speech fun for the guests, too, by avoiding too many inside jokes and throwing in a little entertainment. Incorporating a performance into your wedding toast, like these groomsmen did, can be hit-or-miss, but at the end of the day, you know the couple best. If the venue is appropriate and you’re confident the couple will enjoy a short song or dance (emphasis on the short), go for it!
5. Get Creative
For this one-of-a-kind toast, this best man gathered material from the bride’s Facebook page and had a little fun guessing what her next post might be.
6. Be Confident
You might not have studied theater, like this best man did, but it doesn’t take acting chops to appear poised and self-assured. Stand up straight, smile, and throw in a little lighthearted humor and sweet sentiments. “I spent all this time around one of the most devoted and beautiful relationships that I’ve ever seen,” he says, “and all that I’ve been doing is trying to find something that can fulfill me the way that I see the two of you fulfill each other.” Sigh!
7. Carry On
Even if you’re armed with notes and have rehearsed like a mad man, mistakes can happen. Handling blunders with tact and a sense of humor will make your speech a memorable one. See how this brother of the bride rolls with his minor slipup and makes everyone laugh.
8. Limit Embarrassing Stories
You might be tempted to use your moment at the mic to give your buddy a healthy dose of humility, but try to rein it in a bit on the big day. Short, appropriate zingers are OK, but ask yourself if your words would offend the couple’s grandparents. This best man peppered in some funny anecdotes about his pal without crossing the line.
9. Don’t Procrastinate
Try not to leave writing your speech to the last minute. Take a weekend, well in advance, to jot down your thoughts and practice out loud. This will help with nerves and give you an idea of the approximate length. But if you’re cutting it close, take cues from this supposedly unrehearsed toast. From reminiscing on childhood memories to admiring the love of the bride and groom—now that’s what we call winging it!
10. Clown Around
Everyone loves a comic! After all, a wedding is a joyous occasion. Delivered by the groom’s jokester younger brother, this speech has a few standout one-liners.
11. Speak from the Heart
And last but not least, no matter what, be sincere. Get the tissues ready before you watch this honor attendant’s emotional four-minute ode to his sister, the bride.