Speech! Speech! Speech!

One part of the wedding experience that is considered almost essential is the point during the reception at which, after the meal has been eaten and a reasonable amount of wine has been drunk, the best man gets to his feet and speaks from the heart (and usually from a sheaf of notes filled with juicy stories) about his friend the groom. There is some argument about the tone this speech should take. As they will often have been friends since childhood, there will be at least one story which makes the groom cringe and his new wife momentarily angry.

Often a best man will feel that it is his duty to make this speech as uncomfortable for the groom as possible, but this is somewhat misleading. Certainly, there is room for amusing stories, but the tone of a best man’s speech should be more encouraging than embarrassing. A few funny stories should be interwoven with tales of friendship, and the speech should end with warm congratulations and wishes for all the best of luck to be bestowed upon bride and groom.

For this reason, it is advisable in the case of a reception where alcohol is served that the best man should hold back a little on the consumption of such drinks until his speech is over. No-one will thank you if as a best man you drink your own body weight in wine and reel off a series of stories about past indiscretions which, seen through the filter of the day, make him appear to be a substance-abusing philanderer.

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