Criticize my Best Man Speech

Parameters: I really don’t want to do the typical funny anecdote speech. I really can’t do the typical “they’re so great together” speech; I missed out on most of the courtship. Also I’m not actually delivering a toast; through various forms of chicanery the toast is being delivered after my speech by the Maid of Honor. Yes that’s bullshit, but the bride is running this show so like so be it.

Anyway the general theme I want to hit should be pretty obvious. Let me know what you think! Also I’m redacting the actual names, just for like privacy sake.

First of all, you have a typo in there that will confuse you if you’re reading it: “Two words. But I a lot of ways, I am is much simpler than I do.”

Otherwise, I get what you’re doing, and I think it’s good. Maybe trim the first couple of sentences from the last paragraph – it repeats what you opened with and hurts your pacing. Just say, “They promised to love, not just to be in love. … So let me just ask you to do one thing for me.”

Too much I. Most of this can be reworked or edited to remove the I, I, I… It’s not about you. It’s about Them.

I’m getting the impression you don’t think the marriage will last? The speech doesn’t sound like a celebration to me.

This, this, this.

No one gives a shit about you and all the “this is serious business” stuff makes you that asshole preacher who we’ve all seen officiating weddings. You know, the guy who doesn’t understand that he’s not the center of the attention and hijacks the wedding to give a sermon to people.

There are ways to be original without having to “make a point” to/at people. This isn’t a forum post you’re writing. Weddings are a celebration of the two people getting married. While I too chafe at tradition, the tradition of weddings is something you have to respect if you’re going to take part. If you want an honest opinion then run this speech by the bride and see what reaction you get.

P.S. On a more positive note: don’t worry about who’s giving the official toast. My sister-in-law got married last weekend. My wife was the maid of honor and she gave an awesome speech that totally upstaged the “official” toast made by the best man. :-)

P.P.S. I know that’s harsh but you did ask for it.

You’ve also got three paragraphs about the speech and what it’s not. That’s a lot for such a small speech.

The reason anecdote speeches are so common is because they’re usually pretty good (or, at least, they tend to avoid a lot of pitfalls). Even if you weren’t there for most of the courtship, you can say [x] about your friend, then how in such a small time as you’ve seen them together, it’s clear that [x] is something they share. That’s the tack my brother took at my first wedding, when he’d met the bride for all of a few hours in total, and it was a good speech.

Much depends on delivery, of course. But it sounds like a speech that afterwards, people will say “That was a nice wedding. What was up with the weird lecture-y best man speech, though? That dude needed a few more drinks.”

I cringed thinking about the people who aren’t sitting next to a loved one. You’re just rubbing in the madness and frustration of wedding reception seating assignments. :)

Even if you cut it way down and include people who don’t have someone’s hand to squeeze, you need to make it in honor of the bride and groom. I’m not sure how to do that without a toast at the end.

Just call off the wedding at this point.

Good call guys! I thought it might be too preachy… I’ve got some reworking ahead of me.

If someone gave that speech at my wedding, it is likely that it would be months before we talked again. It’s a nice sentiment, and it is the kind of thing you might say in a talk to the groom before the wedding to make sure he’s really ready to do this, to enter marriage, but after the wedding as a speech or toast… ugh.

It’s a great thought, and well written, so don’t take the criticism too hard. It does come off as preachy though, so maybe tone it down just a bit and replace some of the “I am vs. I do” stuff with something more lighthearted. You can still end with the holding hands and do that every day bit, but maybe aim it more at the bride and groom and less at everyone in the room so that people with no loved one nearby don’t feel singled out.

Or you could just go with:
“Marriage. Hey, when the fuck did women get the OK to take that ‘obey’ part out of the vows? I don’t remember signing off on that! Guys, amiright?!”
End with a fist bump (with explosion) to a random guy near you.

Remember, there’s no shame in self-bumping if everybody leaves you hanging. It’s the only graceful way out.

I think what I want to go for here is something that’s genuine and heartfelt. You guys are spot on though - now that I’ve slept & I read that again it seems more like something the priest should be saying.

Yeah jeff, just want to echo what others are saying…that speech is going to sound very odd in mixed company.

Now personally I do think what you’re saying is absolutely correct and really well thought out, but I have a feeling it’s gonna fall way flat.

Reminds me of the time that I was at a wedding for a coworker and his best man made some speech in which he said that growing up, he (the best man) was always like Captain Kirk and my coworker was always like Spock.

On the one hand, the coworker absolutely was like Spock. I mean, he was totally emotionless most of the time and very analytical. On the other hand the best man seemed much more like a red shirted douchebag that was about to be killed when the wedding party beamed down to the buffet line.

Memorable though!

OK, here is kind of a sketch of draft 0.5. Like I maybe said, I really want to keep this genuine and heartfelt. Obviously it’s incomplete, I need some material for the body.

Are you married, jeffd?

I ask, because my marriage day was one of the most stressful days in my entire life. So when my friend Katrina stood up (she was my “best man”, a service she performed (awesomely) in drag) and gave a funny, anecdote-laden speech, I was relieved. Because your job isn’t to go all Hallmark Movie Of The Week on them; your job is to release some tension.

So tell a few jokes, tell a couple of slightly dirty stories, whatever. Release some tension. Believe me, the couple will appreciate it. God knows I did.

No, I’m not married. I appreciate the insight though. Relieve tension, got it!

One last thing: both of these read like they’ve been written instead of spoken (parts of them, anyway). After you’ve figured out what you want to say, I strongly recommend scrapping it and using a few phrases on a notecard. That way you’ll get less squirming in the audience for what you’re trying to do. You might have to practice though.

Oh totally that’s the plan. I’m writing this stuff out more as an exercise / practice / etc to get the phrases I want. Once I arrive at something I’m happy with I’m just going to jot stuff down on a notecard.

I think pretty much every best-man speech is genuine and heart-felt, even the anecdote ones. It’s hard work to write a speech, and the bride and the groom know that.

I have seen some good “lesson” speeches, but they’re definitely tricky, because they work best when they’re funny. Something along the lines of “as an unmarried guy, I’m in a perfect position to give advice, since there’s nobody around to contradict me.” (Although that line itself isn’t funny, which is why I’d never give a speech like that; I know I can’t pull it off).

The other thing is, you don’t have to have been present at an event to use it in an anecdote. “I remember when I first talked to Bob about Alice, and he told me that when they met blah blah blah.”