A scene from The Hangover

The Vow

The best man's speech: Five things to avoid at all costs

Dodge the wedding speech faux pas with these top five tips

Writing a best man's wedding speech might feel like one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do, but avoiding these five faux pas will at least ensure you don't make an absolute hames of it

Everyone's heard of a best man's speech that was completely and utterly off the mark; the one that made a bride cry, the one that offended every elderly family member within earshot, the one that ended a marriage before it began and, worst of all, the one that got absolutely zero laughs.

Writing a wedding speech isn't easy and even the most seasoned speaker will find standing on front of friends and family in a wedding setting nerve-wracking.


So to make sure you slay at that top table instead of falling completely flat, we've put together five simple tips on what to avoid during your moment in the spotlight.

1. Don't talk past relationships

This is number one on everyone's list for a reason. It antagonises people, it usually makes someone look bad and generally speaking it's completely unnecessary and avoidable too. It doesn't matter how you think people look in your story, or how well the couple comes out of it, just don't mention the ex. Ever. No exceptions.

2. Don't divulge raucous stag party antics

Even if your stag party shenanigans weren't to The Hangover or indeed The Stag levels, it's best to leave all talk of any raucous behaviour at the pub. Remember that although your friends are in attendance and the couple have pushed the whole 'informal gathering rather than a wedding' aspect, this is still quite a formal, family-based affair. Keep it clean. Swearing should be avoided AT ALL COSTS, and toilet humour has no place at white linen tables. By all means be cheeky - some stories about the groom getting into trouble with his parents when he was a youngster will usually go down well, or a time when you maybe got away with murder when you were teens but remember this is strictly NSFW territory.

3. Don't act anti-marriage

No matter what your own relationship status, it's important to be positive and supportive when it comes to the wedding and to marriage itself. Even if you're not a huge fan of the idea yourself, your friends have invested in the idea and taken a serious step together. Don't make light of this, and even if you're feeling bitter about romance, keep your words positive and upbeat.

4. Don't forget the bride/groom

Depending on your relationship with the couple, you might well be closer to one than the other - but that doesn't mean you make your speech all about your BFF! By all means tell some jokes and anecdotes about your mate, but make sure the theme of your speech is the couple, and how great they are together. If it's appropriate, explain how you met the bride/groom, how you have become friends and how much you're looking forward to having them as a friend for life.

5. Don't leave out the dad jokes

This one's a little controversial and most other wedding speech guides will tell you to avoid naff 'dad' jokes but actually, when correctly executed, these quips can often endear the speaker to the crowd and get the older members of the audience on board. You may be tempted to litter your speech with various in-jokes that nobody but yourself and the groom and perhaps one or two others might 'get' but don't do it. It's boring and it makes everyone feel left out no matter how much you might laugh. Know your audience and be inclusive.