So it happened, your best friend in the whole wide world has just asked you to be the best man at his wedding. You're overwhelmed, you're beaming with pride... and then it dawns on you, "I've got to give a speech at the wedding."
Your anxiety is completely justified. How do I know? I've been the 'Best Man' twice and despite the pre-speech jitters, I've survived both speeches. But I know from first hand that it's not something that you can take lightly. Here are the main reasons that you need to get your head around your speech as soon as possible.
1. It's your best mate's big day
This is scary enough in itself. Although you've been lumbered with the hardest speech, the day isn't about you at all. Your best friend and his bride-to-be are the ones who everyone's focused on and concerned with. You're effectively just a sideshow at the main event. But if you make a mess of the speech, and there's tumbleweed all over the dance floor when you're done, it'll reflect badly on the whole wedding. You're there to justify his decision to give you the job in the first place.
2. The nerves will get to you
All of those witty little puns and cheeky digs that went down so well in your own head while you were practising in the mirror aren't going to come out the same. The combination of adrenaline, nerves and two hundred sets of eyeballs on you will make you fluff your lines. There are certain jokes that require specific timing, and forgetting a punchline is public speaking suicide.
3. It's public speaking!
Even if you're related to the groom, then that only means you'll know a maximum of 50% of the crowd. More than likely, when every person that remotely shares some DNA with the happy couple has RSVP'd, you'll be staring out into a crowd of strangers and their plus ones who're anticipating a funny speech. You can't possibly let this bunch of new faces down, can you?
4. It's harder than stand-up comedy
If you've got 'do a stand-up comedy set' on your bucket list and you've been asked be be a best man, then at least you can tick that thing off. It's got all of the heart racing negatives of stand-up, without any of the pluses. Just heard an amazingly funny joke? Well, you can't include it because it's not relevant, rude and or offensive. You've got to turn your PG experiences with this dull groom into a hilarious five minute one-man act.
At least with stand-up comedy you're allowed to swear a little and tell inappropriate jokes. During the best man's speech you've got impressionable children and easily offended grand parents wondering why you're talking about strippers twerking. That's not to mention his and her parents sat right next to you, judging your choice of content.
5. If it's your first time you won't enjoy it
Trust me, I've been there, if it's your first time as a best man, it's terrifying. Most of the day prior to the speeches was a blur in my mind. I don't remember how the meal tasted, I don't remember what was said in the other speeches, all I remember was the mental countdown ticking towards my turn to talk.
The great news is that the second you've finished the toast, and it's officially over, the warm waves of relief are immense. The high of getting congratulatory handshakes after the speeches is impossible to replicate and nearly makes the whole experience worth it.