• 1. Stay sober

    Movies and TV might lead you to believe that the drunken best man is a staple of weddings — but reality is something different. You’re going to need you wits about you to make your speech work, so watch your intake.

  • 2. Start by thanking everyone for coming

    They say you should open with a joke, but in the setting of a wedding, it’s a gracious move to thank everyone who helped organize the day, and the guests who’ve traveled so far to be there.

  • 3. Build your speech around personal stories connected to the couple

    You’ve probably got a lot of material to be drawing on, but you’ve got to share stories that involve both bride and groom. Avoid inside jokes and embarassing stories, and focus instead on a memory that exemplifies why you think they’re such a good match for each other.

  • 4. Keep it short

    No need to go on and on — a few good minutes will leave a more lasting impression than twenty minutes of blather. Do your thank yous, share your stories, do your toast (see below) and head back to your seat.

  • 5. End with a toast to the couple

    This is the classic Best Man speech ending. Ask everyone to raise a glass.

  • 6. Be yourself

    This is the key to making your speech really work. Remember, you were asked to give the speech — which means your friend or brother picked you for the job. No need to suddenly try to become someone you’re not just because you’re on stage.