Now a word from the best man

Your ability to entertain an audience for ten to fifteen minutes may be limited. Luckily no one expects you to be perfect but they do expect you to be prepared, entertaining, tasteful and heartfelt. You are the best man for a reason so now is the time to rise up to that challenge.

Step one to delivering a memorable speech is to start early … three months early in fact.
This time frame allows you to ask parents, friends and siblings for anecdotes about the groom and his bride as well as adding your own. Little known character traits can help keep things fresh.

Grooms Suit

Step two is to actually write down your speech. Yes, it is better if you can memorize it but that is an unnecessary stress.

Step three is to drink after your speech to avoid the common slurred alcohol induced deliveries found in most weddings. A new trend is to give speeches before the actual meal which makes for more sober speeches. Also the speakers can better enjoy their dinner.

“The ‘X’ Files”: Things to avoid
Bringing up ex-spouses or ex partners even in jest tends not to go over well. Also verboten is stag party shenanigans or graphic stories. Best to keep this adult friendly fare.

What to include.
Start with a great opening and you’ll have an attentive crowd throughout. Humor is encouraged as are moments of thoughtful sentiment on this occasion. Remember to thank the speakers who have gone ahead of you (father of the bride, groom) for their kind words. Be mindful to make mention of the wedding party, congratulate the newlyweds, and compliment the beautiful bride as well. Also include a story or two about your personal history with the groom. The audience will appreciate an amusing story that reddens the grooms cheeks.

As you near the end, take a serious moment to include why you were chosen the best man. Commend his good features and praise how they will be a positive to his bride and his new wedded life. Add a touching quote and propose a toast. Finally sit down and commence enjoying the celebration!

A few final tips on delivering the speech would include: practice, practice, practice. Practice alone or in front of an honest audience, preferably someone not going to the wedding. Stand comfortably, speak slowly and enunciate. Record yourself to see where you can improve your delivery. Run through your speech ten minutes prior to the other speeches starting. Establish eye contact with people in the room and if you’re a little parched, have a glass of water available.

Remember to be the “best” best man you can be confident, striking in stature, and poised for any assignment!

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How to Build Your Wedding Party

So many choices to make it to the wedding day finish line in one piece. Who will you choose to help you and cheer you on? The wedding party should be composed of reliable, responsible supportive friends who will make it a stress free celebration to remember.

USA Today calculates the average cost for a bridesmaid is $1,500.00 or higher for an out of town or destination wedding. So prior to asking or accepting here are a few tips to help the decision process.

Wedding Registry

Bride and groom:
- Check to insure there are no size restrictions from the wedding venue. Some smaller places may ask you limit the number in the sanctuary. Also check if there are religious guidelines that prohibit non religious members from being in the sanctuary or being an official witness.
- Remember for every person chosen to be in the wedding party, that is another expense to consider: meals, transportation, accommodation for them and significant other and ‘thank you’ gifts to name a few.
- Family and ‘family to be’ trumps friends if the number is growing. But as nice as it is to include future in laws the rule of thumb should be to chose those that will be loyal, caring and helpful throughout .
- Traditionally it is between 4 to 6 bridesmaids/ushers (1 usher for every 55 guest to expedite seating). However a modern approach allows for odd numbered bridesmaids to ushers, more than one maid/matron of honor or best man or even a male maid of honor or female best man. If it is a thoughtful, comfortable decision, go for it.

Bridesmaids/ushers:
-Aside from supporting your friend on their special day, the hope is that you will help and support them throughout the process with all the necessary details: dress/tux fittings, engagement parties, showers, addressing/assembling invitations, assembling favors and programs, speaking at events, church set up and clean up, airport shuttling of out of town guests and being a supportive shoulder and uncritical ear for them during this stressful time.
- Monetary costs may include: dress/tux, shoes, hair, hotel, rehearsal dinner, chipping in toward bachelor/bachelorette parties and gifts for bride and groom
-Maid/matron of honor and best man duties go above and beyond the normal expectation to include: planning and executing special parties, first toasts, making sure the bride and groom are always picture ready, official witnesses, holder of the rings, payer of last deposits to various hired help, and the go to person for any minor emergencies.

For both groups:
-Know your budget and time constraints
-Know your dates and costs
-Do not ask or answer right away
-Know it’s ok to include friends in other ways (guest book, readings, small jobs etc.)

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