How can I do a good job as best man at a friend's upcoming wedding?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Write a funny speech.
The best wedding speeches I've heard are funny, pulling together key stories of a person's life that provide insight into who they are, while also being amusing.
If you happen to know things someone did as a toddler or a young child that are supposedly indicative of their current personality it helps to throw some of that in there.
Stumbles the person has had that can be framed in an endearing light are also excellent fodder for this sort of thing.
You need to quiz everyone who knows this person to help put together a solid stream of embarrassing stories - with a compliment or two thrown in for the appearance of balance.
You want to a paint a picture of this person as infant, such that it becomes obvious what they are like, and carry that narrative forward, perhaps accentuating a few flaws and positive traits, really painting more of a caricature of them more than anything else.
Emphasize how they are infinitely better now that their significant other is around and able to compensate for their many flaws. Emphasize that they are lucky to have found this person, without whom they would likely be relatively helpless - and mention they would have trouble adequately fending for themselves without their spouse.
Emphasize that they have struggled and stumbled numerous times in their life, and they finally have gotten it all together quite recently and that this is symbolized and best epitomized by their spousal selection.
Make sure to spotlight the spouse's positive traits, and thank her profusely for putting up with whatever she might encounter.
On the other hand, you can also play it straight and give a comprehensive tour de force on just how awesome both people are who are getting married and throw in only a modicum of teasing just for good measure and to show you care.
Some great examples here, let me add a few pointers:
- Funny speeches are good, but keep the humor directed at the groom, and, depending on the size of he wedding, the humor needs to be PG-level in terms of family friendliness. You're probably being taped and they'll be watching this for years to come... have to keep it classy.
- Anecdotal stories from the past are always pleasing to relate. Most of the folks at larger weddings may not know the groom at all, or not know him well. You want to be funny but also show that person's positive qualities. People want to know that the bride has made a good decision and is marrying a good guy.
- Do NOT forget the bride. It is a best man speech, but it is her wedding. If you know the bride (and as you're the best man you probably do) tell some funny stories about when they first met. Do not embarrass her. Easy stories to tell is how beautiful/enchanting she is and some of the goofy stuff the groom did as he was falling in love with her.
- Honor the parents and/or hosts of the wedding. They more than likely shelling out a lot of cash and spent a lot of time helping the couple prepare, they should be noticed.
- (If applicable) Honor a deceased parent. When my best friend got married, his mother had passed away about 4 years before. I was able to mention her and how proud she would've been to see him getting married. It went over very well and many people thanked me for speaking of her as that sort of thing is hard to introduce into casual conversation.
- Practice a bit. I'm not the type to memorize my speech beforehand, but I will keep cards will bullet points at the ready to make sure you don't miss a certain anecdote.
- Be sincere and warm. It is a wedding and it is OK to let down your "man-guard" and express affection for the groom.
- Make sure the groom doesn't get too drunk the night BEFORE the wedding, as well as while getting ready.