Archive for the ‘speeches’ Category

Writing a Best Man’s Speech Like the Best Man

September 21, 2015

I have had a number of guys approach me about Best Man speeches. Mostly it was, “how do I write one?”
So I decided to offer some insights, as well as post the one I composed for my best friend and his wife.

The Basics.
Know the couple. Chances are, if you’ve been asked to make a speech at the wedding (or be the Best Man), your knowledge of one or both celebrants transcends the casual. If you do not know one or the other well enough do some research. Take notes. Jot them down. You’ll need them later.

No off the cuff or extemporaneous speeches unless your improv skills are superior. Remarkably, the more people drink, the more talented they perceive themselves to be. Don’t fall victim to this painful mindset. I am not good at improv, and chose the careful, deliberate path of well-crafted syntax.

Make basic composition and order your friend. I recommend referring first to the person you are closest to, and then their partner. Finally, speak of both together, as one, since this is the secondary point of the speech: Acknowledging the two individuals as a couple. (note – avoid the temptation to refer to anything scandalous, offensive, or coarse. It may seem funny at the time but will make you memorable for all the wrong reasons. Besides, this is supposed to be a happy occasion, so resist any action that might otherwise sully the event.)

Write the speech, and rewrite it. And then practice it.

Memorize it. You will be the rock in the room as you speak, apparently from your heart (which is nonetheless true), with care and cadence. Take the time to make eye contact with your subjects as you speak to the room.

What follows, then, is the speech I wrote:

I’d like to start by thanking everyone for being here. Tonight’s celebration is as much for you as it is ABOUT Deane and Anna.

I got to thinking: what is the origin of the best man? Isn’t the groom supposed to be the best man?
A little history then, for those of you who might not know.
Once upon a time the best man assisted the groom in kidnapping the bride. (not an issue tonight).
This role evolved over time. The groom’s best man was so named for his ability with a sword, to protect the celebrants, and stave off possible attack. (again, probably not an issue tonight).

I met Deane when he was my director for a production of Hamlet, renaissance festival style. He was a giving and insightful director. Turns out he’s more giving as a friend. Where I consider myself a detail person Deane is a person of detail.

Anna? You are every sort of detail perfectly suited to the man. Deane was cautious when feelings developed, and held on to the word Like more than most would.
But you knew. There came a time when the word *Like* really meant *Love.*
I’d like to think Shakepeare’s Sonnet 83 captures Deane’s feelings for you every time he looks at you.
The thing about the bard: every time you hear the same verse, see the same action, or read the same stanza a new layer appears.

So it is with Deane and Anna.
May you continue to grow in your experiences, even as your Love expands, embraces and envelops each other. hold on to your plural voice, even as you learn to speak in the singular.
Allow your layers to blend and influence your world.
Those layers so perfectly intertwine that your love for each other speaks its own language.
You are well on the way, not just with your love, but with the love of everyone here.
Because that is part of your journey. To make your world a better place, doing so with love. Never believe you can say “I love you” too much.
We cement those layers every time we hold our true love’s hand. Don’t be afraid to hold her hand often.
People remark on how I always hold my wife’s hand. They believe it is a display of our love. Well it’s that, and a little more. I hold her hand as often as I can, because if I let go, she goes shopping.

It is said marriage is not about finding the person you can live with…It’s about finding the person you can’t live without. You have found your fair maiden. Embrace your role as the knight in shining armour…or at least, shimmering tights.
I relinquish my sword to you, Deane. For you are now, for your wife, The Best Man.
Everyone? Please raise your glass and join me as we wish Mr. and Mrs. Laseter a lifetime of love and happiness.