How to Write a Best Man Speech in 9 Simple Steps

Been tasked to write a best man speech and not sure where to start? Follow these easy rules for how to write a best man speech—and how to deliver it like a total pro.

Nora Shepard

Valorie Darling Photography

Being enlisted as someone's best man is a big deal, and there are plenty of  best man duties  involved—including figuring out how to write a best man speech. Yes, it’s tradition for the best man to give a wedding speech during the reception, so it’s time to prep for that responsibility. If you’re feeling a little nervous about giving a toast in front of a crowd, that’s totally normal, especially if public speaking isn’t your forte. But with a little forethought, planning, and a lot of practice, you’ll be wowing everyone with your best man speech in no time. Here are nine steps to writing a short best man speech that's sweet and to the point—and how you can ace the delivery. 

How to Write a Great Best Man Speech

Follow this best man speech template to easily get started when it's time to write your own wedding toast. 

1. Plan out your best man speech ahead of time.

Presuming you’re not reading this the night before the wedding, you should give yourself plenty of time—at least one month—to write your best man speech. The weeks leading up to the wedding day, especially participating as such a crucial part of the wedding party, can become hectic. With all of the events you’ll be encouraged or required to attend (on top of keeping up with your own personal life), you may very well lose sight of time. It’s better to plan ahead so you relieve some of the pressure when it's time to write an awesome best man speech.

2. Start your best man speech by expressing gratitude.

If you’re wondering how to write a best man speech, we recommend beginning the speech by stepping onto the dance floor and saying good evening to the crowd (you can write this as a note at the top of your speech as a reminder in case you get nervous). The opening line of your speech should introduce yourself as the best man and then express gratitude to those you think deserve a special shout out. Thank the couple’s parents for raising such great people, thank your friend for having you here, thank the guests for coming, and maybe throw in a one-liner thanking the bartender for a few laughs. It’s a low-key way to break the ice, ease yourself into the best man speech, and make sure those who deserve thanks feel appreciated.

3. Then, talk about your relationship with the groom.

Beyond introducing your name, a big part of how to write a best man speech is talking about your relationship with the groom. Talk about how you met him, how long you've known each other, and what kind of great friend he is. If you can think of an anecdote or funny story that really sums up the kind of person he is, whether that’s charming, warm-hearted, or thoughtful, use it. A funny best man speech is always memorable, but if you’re going to use an anecdote, linking that story to his partner when possible will make it even more meaningful. For example, maybe he’s incredibly outgoing but forgetful, while his new spouse is more thoughtful and organized. If you start with an anecdote of his forgetfulness and later follow up with a time you saw his partner’s organizational skills help him out big time—and that’s a moment you knew they were the real deal—that’s a perfect icebreaker.

4. Focus on the couple's relationship, and not just your own.

Presuming you’ve known the groom for longer than he’s know his partner, you can definitely start your best man toast by sharing an inside joke and recalling the earlier times in your friendship, but then you should skip ahead to when he met his partner. Think of a story that epitomizes their relationship. If you can talk about the exact moment when you realized his partner was “The One” for him, include that. Maybe your buddy told you one week after meeting his partner that they were going to get married, and you thought he was absolutely bonkers, but here you are. Maybe you’ve known the groom for a long, long time—for example, if you’re his brother or you've been best friends since elementary school. You’ve probably always had an idea of what his perfect partner would look like, but the one sitting in front of you exceeds all expectations. Emphasize that he's a great guy and how happy you are for your pal that he’s found someone so perfect for him.

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5. Keep your best man speech short and sweet.

In terms of  wedding speech order , the best man speech is typically first, followed by the  maid of honor's toast  and parent speeches or  father-of-the-bride-speech . Even though you'll go first, a good best man speech is short and sweet, since you want to avoid people growing restless during the later speeches (guests are ready to eat, drink, and dance at this point of the wedding reception). Aim for a short best man speech between three and five minutes max. Keep in mind that it will feel much shorter to you when you’re actually giving the speech, and you will likely rush through it a little bit in the spotlight. That’s why you must…

7. Practice, practice, practice.

One of the most crucial best man speech tips is that you have to—and we mean  have to— practice your speech  before the wedding. You should read it to yourself out loud at least three or four times ahead of the actual reception. It might feel awkward at first, but would you rather fumble your words alone in private with the chance to make improvements, or give your speech for the first time while being watched by dozens of people with camera phones? Record yourself giving the speech, then replay it for mistakes and things to change. Not only is practice critical to giving the best performance, but it will give you a confidence boost when the big moment arrives. Consider sending the video to a friend, other groomsmen, or relative to give you honest feedback.

7. Write it down.

You should try to memorize your best man toast as best you can, but you’ll feel less anxious if you have it written down. Practice your speech enough so you won’t need to stare at the piece of paper the entire time, but jot down the main talking points to easily transition from one part to the next. Consider using notecards or a small notepad—remember that there's going to be professional photography and videography of your best man speech. Reading from a haphazardly torn piece of scrap paper or worse, your hand, will look sloppy and indicate that you didn’t prepare for the speech.

8. Don’t drink beforehand.

Keep your alcohol intake to a minimum until after you’re finished delivering the best man speech. It's normal to want to calm your nerves, but anything more than one drink during cocktail hour could backfire—alcohol paired with intense nerves and emotions will only amplify them (and you run the risk of slurring your speech!). The more you drink, the less likely you'll be able to remember what you've planned and form cohesive thoughts in the spotlight. Once your speech is over, you'll have time to celebrate all you want. 

9. Finish your best man speech with congratulations and a toast.

This is a foolproof way to end your best man speech. Conclude by congratulating the happy couple on their big day and offer a toast to their lifetime of happiness. The toast can be personal, witty, or a quote. Perhaps there’s a line about love and relationships from one of the groom’s favorite comedians or movies that you can share, or you can simply wish the newlyweds the best and ask your fellow guests to raise their glasses in celebration. 

Things to Avoid In a Best Man Speech

In order to write a good speech, you want to keep the focus off yourself and instead on the happy couple and their future. In general, it's best to steer clear of these things:

1. Inappropriate anecdotes. 

Your pal's grandmother definitely does not need to hear about that one infamous night in college, no matter how relevant or funny it might seem to your buddies. Leave those drunken tales and embarrassing stories for the bachelor party and keep your best man speech PG.

2. Any talk of exes.

Your friend's wedding is absolutely not the time to bring up ex-girlfriends or previous relationships. No matter a how good a story you think it is, or even if it leads directly to the moment you're all in now, just leave it out completely—trust us.

3. Foul language.

Sensing a theme here? You want to make sure your best man speech is well received by everyone, from the 80-year-old guests to the 8-year-old guests. Remember: A wedding is a family event, so it's best to leave out any profanity or other PG-13 talk. 

4. Long-winded stories.

As mentioned previously, you want to keep your best man speech short and sweet. As great as your speech is going to be, the last thing you want is for the wedding guests to tune out halfway through your time in the spotlight. If a story needs more than a few sentences to explain, either pare it down or consider a different approach for writing your best man speech.

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How to Write the Best Father of the Groom Speech

Father of the groom giving speech during wedding reception.

  • Christin specializes in writing gift guides and shoppable articles for The Knot.
  • Christin is a freelance writer, also covering lifestyle, health, and parenting.
  • She has written for such publications as The Bump, Parents, VeryWell, Parade and LittleThings.

If you're the father of the groom, you've likely been there for everything from your son's first diaper change and scraped knee to the blossoming relationship he's built with his partner. Now, they've decided to tie the knot, and he's asked you to give a father of the groom speech.

This is a great honor, and a good opportunity for you to share your innermost feelings with the couple about their future together. You're a big part of their wedding day, so guests will want to hear what's on your mind.

If the wedding will follow a traditional format , you'll probably give your speech at the rehearsal dinner, since the groom's family traditionally hosts that event . You might also give your speech at the wedding reception, likely before the best man speech .

How Long Should a Father of the Groom Speech Be?

In order to keep guests engaged during your wedding speech, brevity is key. Aim to speak for no more than 4 to 6 minutes, or less if possible. Expect that there will be some overlap between speeches (like thanking guests for coming). Use funny or touching stories about your son's childhood in order to make your speech stand out.

How to Write a Father of the Groom Speech

Your son's wedding day is a very personal day for your family—you'll share lots of tender moments together as you look back over your son's life before he met and chose to marry his partner. So the best advice when it comes to how to write a father of the groom speech is simply to write from your heart. You know your son better than just about anyone, so there's no need to worry about saying the wrong thing. Even if you and your son have had a rocky relationship in the past, remember that he's still asked you to share in his big day, so he wants to hear what you have to say.

A Father of the Groom Speech Template

Looking for some father of the groom speech examples? We've got a few that just might give you the inspiration you need in order to finish writing your wedding toast for the happy couple .

Traditional: Welcome! My name is [name] and I'm [son's name]'s father. I'd like to start by welcoming each and every one of you, and to say thank you for sharing in this most special day. From the first time I saw my son with [partner's name], I knew they shared something very special.

I know that because [reason]. I'm reminded of all the times my son [did this or that] as a child, and how much I hoped he would grow up to find the perfect partner. And in [partner's name], I see that perfect partner.

So today, I'm welcoming [partner] into our family with open arms. I'm truly excited for what the future holds for you, son, and for your [lovely wife/handsome husband/wonderful spouse]. I know you two will share a happy life together.

Brief: Thank you everyone for coming today. [Son], I love you with all of my heart, and always will. You've turned into a fine young man, and seeing you so happy with [partner's name] makes this day perfect. I wish you many happy days ahead, no matter where life takes you. Sentimental: Hello, and thank you for coming. It means so much that each and every one of you has come to share in [son's] special day today, and I only wish that [relative who died] could be here as well. [Son], seeing you with your [new wife/husband/spouse] is nothing short of heartwarming. I wish you both the best of everything in your new life together.

Who Does the Father of the Groom Thank in His Speech?

When it comes to doling out your appreciation to different people in your father of the groom toast, it's customary to thank your son's new spouse's parents and family members, especially if they've traveled a long way to attend the celebration. Then, thank your new daughter or son for making your child so very happy. After that, it's really up to you who you'd like to thank.

How to Give a Father of the Groom Speech

Public speaking isn't typically a favorite pastime, so don't feel like you're alone if it isn't yours. But it's an honor to be part of this special moment, so if you're asked to share some words of wisdom for your son and your future son-in-law or daughter-in-law, of course you want to crush it.

Below, we've included some guidance in the form of some father of the groom speech examples, as well as some clever jokes you can incorporate into your toast.

Father of the Groom Speech Examples

It's finally time for your important speech. Just relax, take a deep breath and talk about some of the memorable moments you've shared with your son. Then, welcome your new daughter or son and close your speech with some meaningful words of wisdom or advice for the new couple.

Bride being walked down the aisle by woman

[Couple's names], while you have loved and cared for one another for a long time, today makes it official: You are now a married couple. I give you all of my congratulations and I hope you feel the outpouring of love and support for the both of you that is in this room today.

[Couple's names], separately you are two wonderful people, but together, you are even better. You finish each other's sentences and can communicate without saying a word. You know how to make each other laugh and smile, and you know how to comfort each other as well. You are two peas in a pod—there is no question at all that you were always meant to be together. I have so much love and respect for the two of you, for the lengths that you would go to in order to make each other happy. Never lose what you two have, because it's priceless. Let us all raise a glass to the wonderful couple, my son [groom] and his spouse [spouse's name].

It's official, [couple's names] are now newlyweds. What does this mean, exactly? Well for starters, you are family now. You have your parents, siblings and friends, but at the end of the day, you must come first for each other. From this point forward, you will be inseparable. You are not just living side by side—now you will be living as one team, a unit that will make important decisions and meaningful memories together. Remember to be kind to each other. Be patient and understanding. Don't forget to communicate, to laugh and to love each other. Do these things and you will have a great recipe for a happy, long and successful marriage .

As [groom's] father, I have always made it a point to let him know how loved and appreciated he is. He knows how much he means to me and how important he is in my life. So I thought that I would take this opportunity to instead sing my praises for my newly coined [daughter-in-law or son-in-law]. [Son's spouse's name], you are such a wonderful person, and I'm so glad my son found a partner in you. As of today, you are officially my [daughter or son].

Father of the Groom Speech Jokes

"The couple has requested that I don't share any embarrassing stories... so that's it from me. Thanks for listening!"

"[Son's name], I love you so much, and I really hope you'll feel the same about me after you hear my speech."

"I was trying to figure out the perfect wedding gift for you, and it's this speech."

"Gosh, what an emotional day it's been. Even the cake is in tiers."

"The couple actually had a bit of trouble finding someone to make a speech today. They started by asking their funniest friend, and they said no. Then they asked their most charming friend, and they said no. After that, they asked their best-looking friend and, again, they said no. Then they asked me, and after already turning them down three times, I decided I couldn't refuse again."

"I think we can all agree that it's been a fantastic day. But unfortunately that ends right here with my speech."

"Loyal. Kind. Honest. Generous... That's enough about me, I'm here to talk about [son's name]."

What NOT to Say in a Father of the Groom Speech

Although you can craft your father of the groom speech any way you'd like, there are some things you should avoid saying: Don't tell embarrassing or hurtful stories about your son.

Don't make negative or cynical comments about your new daughter or son; Focus only on the positive.

Don't over-imbibe before delivering your toast. This could derail your speech and cause you to say things you didn't intend to say.

Don't make inappropriate or off-color jokes. You don't want to offend anyone during your speech.

How to End the Father of the Groom Speech

It's up to you how you'd like to end your speech. You can share advice, speak loving words or end with a joke. As you wrap up your speech in front of the microphone, a brief and meaningful introduction to the next speaker in line (if there is one) is always appropriate.

Good luck, pops! You got this.

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