Oh boy, do we have a treat for you today on our blog. When guest writer Josh Womack first reached out to me I was excited not only because he is from my hometown of Cleveland but because he understands the importance of a heartfelt yet humorous toast at a weddings. I have seen first hand the anxiety on the best men and maid of honors faces when giving them the two minute warning. I have also heard hundreds of speeches to include the good, the bad, the very bad and the OMG I have goose bumps I am so embarrassed bad. Maid of honors and best men do not have an easy task, after all this is the most important day of their loved one’s life. No pressure!
Josh has some great tips to share today on the do’s and don’t’s of wedding toasts that will not only make you laugh but also prepare you for that important speech!
Congratulations to you! You have been given the ultimate pat on the back and are considered the most bro-worthy of all the groom’s male friends and you have been chosen as Best Man. You are honored, pumped, nervous….and eagerly anticipating the bachelor party with more enthusiasm than a grown man should.
Best Men are like St. Bernard dogs, they’re sloppy, loveable and loyal to a fault. With this power comes great responsibility (Thanks Spider-Man!). Will you be the best man who annoys everyone with an e-mail chain that goes on for five months to plan ONE night? Or will you be the best man who calmly plans, implements and executes his duties with ease?
As an event planner for a non-profit and a stand-up comedian, I know the rallying the troops, giving a good toast and being there for the bride and groom can be a lot of responsibility….and let’s face it, we as men, LOATHE responsibility. When I first met my girlfriend I told her effort and responsibility were my kryptonite….she stayed anyway. I warned her!
Here are three Best Man tips for before, during and after the wedding. If you act on these strategies you might just be a Best Man for hire…even if you’re just dancing in the dark (Springsteen!).
1. Communicate Clearly with Bride AND Groom before the Wedding – Of course you’ll be communicating with the groom in the months prior when you plan the bachelor party, schedule the tuxedo fitting, etc. BUT, if you really want to get on the bride’s good side (and the bride could possibly convey your chivalry to her bridesmaids, hey-ohh!), offer to help the bride in the process too. I know, I know…the bride has a Maid of Honor, I get it. A simple text to the bride offering to pick up a family member at the airport or stopping at the cupcake shop to pick up a tasting sample will go a LONG way….Most guys think picking up flowers, desserts, stationery is feminine or dumb…it’s not at all. It’s smart and thoughtful and shows not only do you care about the groom, but you also care about the bride’s peace of mind…Simple gestures like this go remembered for a LONG time.
2. Smile and Include Others for the Toast – The wedding toast should obviously be prepared and with some thought put into it. Couple quick tips. Do NOT read off a piece of paper. A few notecards are fine but just try to remember the bullet points of your speech. Also practice your speech into a tape recorder for 3-4 days before the wedding. Doing stand-up for seven years I always say my set into a tape recorder and then listen to it at leisure when I am washing dishes, cutting the grass or working on the computer. The comfort you will get from your own voice will go a long way when the speech actually comes.
And…smile dammit! Haha…a smile can diffuse the nervousness of you and those who are nervous FOR YOU in the audience. A lot of best men are under the impression they have to be gut-wrenching hilarious. News Flash, you’re not Chris Rock…and never will be. The key is to come off as likable and comfortable.
And finally, include others in the speech. Or course you will touch on the friendship you and the groom have developed over the years (and leave out the words ex-girlfriends and frat house at all costs), but acknowledge the bride and groom’s parents (if present) for raising great kids who turned out to be outstanding adults. The biggest compliment you can pay a parent is telling them they did a great job raising their children, nothing else compares.
If the parents aren’t in the picture because they have passed or the relationship is shaky, praise a grandparent or aunt who may have helped raise the bride or groom. Maybe the bride’s aunt taught her how to bake or took her to girl scout meetings… Find something to congratulate a family member on and win over the bride, groom and the families!
3. Take Care of the House on the Honeymoon – This step is pathetically easy. Feed and let the dog out, gather the mail…wash, rinse and repeat. Housesitting is a blast anyway; eating other people’s food is always a good time. Want to do your own Tom Cruise Risky Business reenactment? Go for it!
Just have the place tidy and neat for when the bride and groom come home…no crumbs in their bed or couch.
Want to put a cherry on top? Put some fresh flowers on the kitchen table, a nice picture from the wedding next to it, and a note that says ‘Welcome Home’. Your Best Man legacy is forever solidified.
Josh Womack is the founder of Laughstaff, a speech-writing company that uses stand-up comedians as consultants to best men and matrons of honor around the world. Laughstaff has written over 100 speeches and will help you deliver a wedding toast that is heartfelt, hilarious and memorable. Follow them at @Laughstaff on twitter and check them out at www.laughstaff.com.