Best Man Wedding Speech
I had the great honour recently of being one of the three best men at a friends excellent wedding.
After the initial panic about having to speak in public, I decided to embrace my fears and treat it like my own performance. Like being in a band again, and going out on stage to own the place and entertain everyone.
At first I did intend to just lift chunks of speeches from other ones online, but after reading a few I decided I had enough to say about my mate in my own words, and so why not have something totally original?
I wasn’t even that nervous about it – until I heard the corks being popped on the Champagne before they poured it into the toasting flutes!
I then had a flap that the speech was far too long, and almost tried to lop huge chunks out, but then stood up and just went for it.
I stumbled a few times, but managed to engage with the 90-odd people in the room, making sure I looked around the room as much as I could (my copy of the speech had key words and lines printed in bold so I could latch onto something when I looked back at the paper), projecting my voice as if I were speaking to the person at the far end of the room, desperately trying to talk as slowly as I could (you’ll speak at a million mph when all eyes turn on you!), and put the paper down as much as I dared to chat away unscripted.
It wasn’t perfect for me, but it did go pretty well, and I enjoyed doing it!
I thought some of you might want to see my basic speech (without my ad-libbed bits, unfortunately), and hope you’ll join me in wishing Lee and Anita a long and happy marriage!
Best Man Speech
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
It’s been a wonderful day already, so I figure I probably can’t ruin it too much with my speech!
Anita, you look wonderful, and it’s been great seeing so many happy faces here today to share this celebration with you both.
For those of you who don’t know me – I’m James, one of Lee’s chosen best men here today, and the one given the task of the Big Speech.
I’m normally very laid back – but Lee… well let’s just say that you can see the soles of his shoes when he walks!
I doubted that for a moment last Friday, when I got a text from Lee asking if I’d got a shirt yet? He sounded like it was a bit of a telling off for leaving it so late to sort it out, so I sent a sheepish text back asking a few questions about shirts, half-expecting a bit of anger. When he replied it was to tell me that he was, in fact, just out looking for a shirt for himself!
And as anyone who knows Lee will attest to, this is the pace of life you need to adjust to in order to avoid murdering him. Anita has either found this, or seen his life insurance policy.
Our bond was formed during the many years we shared in our band Black Church. Some of you may have had the pleasure of hearing our very technical and streamlined thrash metal, and it won’t be any surprise to see how Lee’s skill as a guitarist, singer and songwriter has flourished into the excellence it is today.
What most of you won’t have heard about is how we formed our very first band.
I first met Lee at when we both started at Bridley Moore High school in Redditch in 1990. That’s 25 years ago.
TWENTY FIVE. That’s a hell of a lot of time to be left unsupervised, so it’s a good job Anita came back on the scene!
From when we first met, we were both the coolest kids in the school. Probably not to anyone else, but to US, we were the coolest.
We hit it off straight away, and our horrible little minds were in the process of being corrupted by heavy metal, and the obvious step for anyone so cool was to start a band.
So we did, writing lyrics in lesson time, and planning how we’d take over the world with our band – Death and Eternal Destruction – DED. We’d write those three letters on our arms so often with biro I’m amazed it ever washed off. Every underpass in Redditch saw the letters DED scrawled on them – err, not from us – from fans. Ahem.
It was about 6 months later that we decided it was time to actually buy guitars, and shortly after we even learnt how to play them.
Lee picked up lead guitar very quickly and was always a natural – probably because we’d already imagined playing thousands of stadium gigs in our heads before we got instruments.
The band name changed to Black Church, and that was an absolutely massive part of both of our lives for the next 8 or 9 years. Many of you will have been tortured with this obsession, had to sit downstairs with earplugs in as we practised, or been banging on the door in rage trying to get us to shut up.
Lee was the first person I drank cider with in a bus stop. Being truthful, that’s not totally accurate – what we actually used to do was buy huge bottles of ‘Mild’ because it was cheap, and then wander around the streets, bloated, wondering why we weren’t feeling drunk on out 5 litre bottle of 2 percent alcohol, which we both thought tasted of watered down vomit.
**check Champagne glass**
Looks like he’s done better this time!
Highlights from school that I won’t go into included taking it in turns to skive off French lessons because Mrs Jones HATED us.
Taking it in turns to sleep in English lessons and making sure we told each other the answer when the teachers noticed.
Aceing Spanish and Italian lessons whilst constructing technically perfect sentences that used to make the teachers go mental.
I still remember our one from Spanish:
Tome la primera calle a la izquierda, la Ciudad de la Muerte esta aqui.
Sounds good. Sounds bueno! What it actually MEANS, is:
“Take the first street on the left – the City of The Dead is nearby”
I don’t think Lee has really changed since we were back in school, so it’s not really that surprising that he’s chosen to marry a teacher.
And, of course, for those of you who don’t know, it was back in those days at Bridley Moore High that Lee first met Anita.
At school, Anita was actually in the year above us – so untouchable and totally unapproachable in terms of school hierarchy.
Despite what Redditch teenage pregnancy figures might indicate, we were pretty much terrified of girls.
Still, as always, Lee doesn’t so much rise to the challenge, as totally ignore the fact it’s a challenge, and does it anyway!
This was no exception, and Lee was soon stalking – err, I mean TALKING to Anita.
I think it’s fair to say that I liked Anita instantly, too. My outstanding memory of her is the most fantastic parody of the scene in ‘Aliens’ where Hicks is showing Ripley how to use a pulse rifle. Only she made it sound like something out of a very dodgy soft core porn film!
Despite our teenage awkwardness around girls, I still remember Lee saying to me in the school corridor one day: “I’m going to marry that girl.”
Sadly, Anita then left Lee unsupervised for over 20 years…
One of the main things women look for in a husband (according to a desperate Google search for wedding speeches and stuff) is responsibility.
Lee is very responsible.
He’s very responsible for causing all kinds of mischief that nobody should ever talk about in front of a large crowd at an important event.
Like the time I bought a new air pistol – a Crossman Sportsmaster. Serious power. I showed it to Lee in my living room, while my Mom was upstairs. After pumping the pressure up to maximum, Lee proceeded to wave the pistol right at me for a while, before luckily settling on the light shade on the ceiling.
Pulling the trigger, we were surprised to find it was, in fact, loaded, and the Prometheus tipped pellet went straight through the light shade, through the light bulb, and disappeared deep into a hole through the ceiling!
“Yes, Mom – the light bulb just EXPLODED entirely on it’s own without Lee touching anything at all! It was a terrible thing!”
The small patch of Tippex we covered the hole with is actually still there today – and my Mom STILL doesn’t know anything about this!
Years later Lee turned up already somewhat inebriated at a quiet local pub on his birthday with a cake in the shape of a rather ample pair of breasts.
He was very subtle as he harassed the mostly elderly drinkers with a cheery:
“Go on! Have a bit of tit!”
Despite this, he then somehow managed to convince the landlord to give him a huge chefs knife to go stumbling around the pub with as he shared his bosom with everyone.
I’m not saying it got us banned – we just haven’t chosen to go back there since.
I know some of you would be expecting much more embarrassing or criminal stories about Lee’s past – and I’d like to say that other than what I’ve said here, Lee is squeaky clean. The truth however, is that I’m involved in most of them, and don’t want to incriminate myself.
You’re one of my oldest friends that still has hair, and it’s been an honour and a privilege to be best man today – so thank you.
Something that you used to say has always stuck with me: “Keep trying until preparation meets opportunity” – today is more proof that this isn’t just some esoteric yet inspirational line and can actually work. The opportunity to take Anita’s hand in marriage only took just over 20 years!
Seriously, though, it’s awesome to see you end up with your childhood sweetheart Anita. You’re great together, and I’m sure that both of you will be extremely happy for years to come.
And on that note, ladies and gentlemen, could I ask you to stand with me, and raise your glasses in a toast to the new Mr & Mrs Britton.
We all wish you well for the future.
To Lee and Anita!