This weekend I am lucky enough to be a Best Man for the second time.
But I have decided that as communications projects go, the Best Man’s speech is the toughest assignment going. I can cope with writing a blog post, newspaper article, recording a film or leaving a comment in a forum. They all have pretty defined audiences and subject matter. As a contributor, you have a rough idea of the mood and tone of the readers.
Imagine having to stand up in front of a room of 100 or more people, who are worse than strangers. They’re strangers who your best friend is related to, or respects. You, however, don’t know anything about them.
On top of this there is a huge weight of expectation. The Best Man’s speech may come second to the ‘I do’ part of the day, but it is still way up there with the first dance, cutting the cake and the bit where the priest asks if anyone has any objections to the marriage. The disadvantage with the speech is that it is usually timed at the peak of the bell curve that is wedding drinking.
Yes, if you were a politician talking about climate change, you might have the world’s media watching. But most of them will be sober and will have already made up their minds about what you are going to say. And what you have to say is usually pretty sincere, decisive and clear.
As Best Man your speech has to be sincere as well. But at once it must also be funny, practical (informing everyone that Auntie Doris can’t be here today, thanks to Dr Beeching, but she sends her love), and, most importantly, embarrassing for the Groom.
Like a good recipe, this mix of ingredients has to be just right. Go too far with the jokes and you end up looking like one of those sad old Uncles who thinks it’s his duty to perform for everyone. Too sincere and the Bride may wonder why you are so upset to ‘lose’ your best friend.
And what of the most crucial ingredient: embarrassment? What if you don’t have any funny stories involving livestock, past girlfriends, or police cells?
Simple. Make it up.*you can find out how the Big Day goes by following the Groom’s blog