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anyone have experience giving a best man toast?

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    anyone have experience giving a best man toast?

    Hey all, long time lurker here.

    I'm serving as a close friend's best man in 2 weeks and I've been pulling my hair out about giving the best man toast. I do have experience with public speaking, but since this is somewhat much more important than giving a presentation, wanted to see if anyone could share their experience giving their best man toast and what you would or wouldn't do differently. Please save me from screwing this up thanks!

    #2
    Don't curse. Write it down and practice. Really pay attention to how you sound, how it flows, and your delivery. Deliver it to someone that knows the groom.

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      #3
      I did my brother's a couple years ago. As mentioned above write it down and practice. Some other tips:
      1. Don't do inside jokes. It's frustrating to hear those and you want your speech to be universal.
      2. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. No sense in rambling on.
      3. Compliment the bride, the parents for hosting etc.
      4. I usually would follow with a story that you know of the people, tie it together with a little humor and pass it off the maid of honor.
      5. Don't drink until you've toasted. It sucked for my brother's wedding as they for some reason switched it around but the worst is a drunk best man's speech.

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        #4
        I recommend to drink. A special kinda buzz. But your results may vary

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          #5
          Originally posted by hockeysc23 View Post
          Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
          I agree with most of hockey's points, but I'd say this is the #1 rule. Brevity is the soul of wit.

          Take some time to rehearse so you're comfortable going "off book" as best you can. That way you can glance down if you get off course a little, but otherwise engage the crowd.

          My best friends' wedding was about a month ago. I tried to tread the line of being a little sentimental without being schmaltzy, and a little serious without being depressing. Very subjective, but that's where the advice of a friend or two comes in. Mostly, I kept it short. The combined elements were well received.

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            #6
            My experience with public speaking is to keep it short and sweet. Don't write it out first - "compose" it out loud and practice it a few times. I've found that composing speeches out loud rather than in writing makes them feel and sound a lot more natural than if you try to write it and memorize it.

            Once you've composed it you can write out a few keywords or phrases just to remind yourself in case you get lost while you're speaking.
            Ben

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              #7
              I do a lot of wedding photography on the side - a weekend or two each month - and I've found that the best speeches usually have similar contents to any other good story:

              1. Character development (How you met the groom, how you've watched him become the person that he is, how your friendship has grown, the way you've seen him become "better" with the bride)
              2. Humor (Funny stories are great - especially if they're about a VERY well-known personality trait of the groom)
              3. Sentiment (As best man your job is to encourage your friend to be the best husband he can be for the rest of his life, to be there for him when things are hard and to share in his joy when things are good, make sure he knows you've got his back)
              4. A memorable finish (Toast to something important, something everyone will nod their heads to as something they truly wish for the bride and groom)

              It also never hurts to compliment the bride and welcome her into the fold.

              I wouldn't write it out word for word - give yourself an outline and let the words come from your heart. You can still practice this way, but you want to be talking to the groom, not reading to him.

              If you're confident that your speech will keep the attention of the audience and be entertaining for everyone, then you don't need to worry about making it short. If you aren't very confident, then don't be afraid to make it short. All that matters is the couple knows you care about them and you'll be there for them.

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                #8
                whenever i give a man-toast, it is always the best.

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                  #9
                  I concur that writing it out like a script is unlikely to yield good results. Get a good sense of what you want to say, practice it so you have it down, then write out a mini-outline consisting of a series of single words or short phrases. That'll get you back on track if your head starts swimming mid-toast.

                  A few random points:

                  1) You know if you're funny (be honest) and if so, how funny you are. Don't exceed your actual ability on this count.

                  2) Nobody has ever complained that the best man speech was too sincere.

                  3) The degree of difficulty involved with telling an anecdote that features the bride's or groom's former significant other is incredibly high. It's probably best not to try.

                  4) Small amounts of booze turn some people into weepy messes, others into sparkling wits. You know which type of person you are and what different types of booze do to you. Proceed accordingly (and keep it to a nerve-settling minimum).

                  Have fun and good luck!

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by drzenitram View Post
                    I do a lot of wedding photography on the side - a weekend or two each month - and I've found that the best speeches usually have similar contents to any other good story:

                    1. Character development (How you met the groom, how you've watched him become the person that he is, how your friendship has grown, the way you've seen him become "better" with the bride)
                    2. Humor (Funny stories are great - especially if they're about a VERY well-known personality trait of the groom)
                    3. Sentiment (As best man your job is to encourage your friend to be the best husband he can be for the rest of his life, to be there for him when things are hard and to share in his joy when things are good, make sure he knows you've got his back)
                    4. A memorable finish (Toast to something important, something everyone will nod their heads to as something they truly wish for the bride and groom)

                    It also never hurts to compliment the bride and welcome her into the fold.

                    I wouldn't write it out word for word - give yourself an outline and let the words come from your heart. You can still practice this way, but you want to be talking to the groom, not reading to him.

                    If you're confident that your speech will keep the attention of the audience and be entertaining for everyone, then you don't need to worry about making it short. If you aren't very confident, then don't be afraid to make it short. All that matters is the couple knows you care about them and you'll be there for them.
                    All of this. I'll also add a couple more small points.

                    1. Give a quick thank you to both sets of parents (as applicable depending on the family situation) and the families for being with them on their special day.
                    2. If possible, collaborate with the maid of honor to make sure you don't discuss any of the same points.
                    3. Don't bring up any inside jokes, non-grandma friendly stories, or try to upstage anyone. You should never outshine your message.

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                      #11
                      I've done quite a few, and have witnessed more than a few, and can say there's some great advice on here so far.

                      I'd caution about making it too much about the groom, and only the groom - its a wedding, the merger of these two lives, so be sure to include something (preferably complimentary and sentimental!) about the bride and groom together.

                      Definitely:
                      Rehearse
                      Be sincere
                      thank the hosts and attendees

                      Avoid:
                      too much alcohol (as [MENTION=3269]Shomas[/MENTION] suggested, keep to a nerve-settling minimum!)
                      trying too hard to be funny - too many have failed in this realm
                      anything crass or inappropriate: smelly feet = barely acceptable, toilet humor = unacceptable
                      being longwinded
                      reading from a piece of paper - you're better off not even holding a piece of paper as you'll be tempted to look, which is distracting

                      Honestly, the most important thing is to be sincere. When brainstorming, think of the qualities of the groom that makes him someone special in your life and moments where his presence in your life was meaningful and go from there.

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                        #12
                        Thanks for all the feedback guys! Much appreciated.

                        I'm probably going to go with an outline and a little bit of practice, then just let it flow. I originally wrote it all down, but it sounded better in my head than it did out loud.

                        I'll definitely avoid the non-grandma friendly jokes, although I have a feeling most of my jokes will be lost on 50% of the people there since most of the family members don't speak english.

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                          #13
                          Lots of really good advice here. I've done one - had it all planned out well in advance, and when I found a quiet spot to go over it quickly a few minutes prior, it came out so rehearsed sounding that I hated it and scrapped it, and went with a loose framework of a couple stories and an idea of how I wanted to close. Best decision ever. I think for this sort of thing you're better off seeming nervous and authentic than well-rehearsed but stiff.

                          The best one I've ever heard was probably not the most grandma-friendly. The (black and gay) best man started out illustrating how he at first thought the groom was a racist homophobe and then gradually brought it back to them becoming best friends and sharing a good story about the bride and groom together. Those who knew the groom well were all dying laughing, and it ended on a sweet note, which was perfect.

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