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Spotlight Series: Q&A with Generations Cinemastories

"...a toast is not a roast"

For this month's Spotlight Series, we sat down with Naomi Raiselle of Generations Cinemastories. Naomi and her husband, Jack Brotman make up the unstoppable Generations Cinemastories team and have been in the wedding cinematography business since 2004. Therefore, we think it's safe to say that they've listened to a lot of best man speeches and have a healthy collection of real life best man speech stories to choose from and share with us. Here's our chat with Mrs. Raiselle: 

By now you have probably "sat" through a lifetime's worth of best man speeches. From your experience and perspective as a wedding cinematographer, can you share with us:

Q: Your #1 best man speech pet peeve?

A: The most serious offense I've observed in Best Man speeches occurs when the Best Man feels the need to bore the guests and embarrass the couple with detailed stories from the groom's childhood.

Q: The key ingredients to a great toast by the best man?

A: There only a few ingredients necessary for a good, Best Man speech:

  1. Keep the speech short, ideally under 3 minutes. 
  2. Come from the heart. Tell the guests what a great guy the groom is, and how delightful his new spouse is.
  3. Be gracious. Remember that this is an honor.

Q: The best/unique/most memorable thing a best man has ever done during his speech?

A: While filming one, very special rehearsal dinner, we were duly impressed when the Best Man, a serious poet, stood up to read what turned out to be a 15 minute poem. The Best Man had taken Homer's Odyssey, and keeping the rhythm and meter, turned the poem into an account of the groom, and later the couple's adventures. His reading was eloquent and riveting.

Q: How a best man is treated after giving a good speech versus a bad one?

A: It's easy to tell a good Best Man's speech from a bad one by the response of those listening. A good speech evokes big hugs and enthusiastic response. A bad speech is met with tepid clapping and a palpable sense of relief from everyone.

Q: What advice you'd share with soon-to-be and future best men? 

A: I would advise all future Best Men to keep in mind that a toast is not a roast. Since many guest have been drinking since the cocktail hour, it is likely that they will have limited attention spans, so keep the speech short. It is a good idea to make eye contact with the guests and the couple as you speak. Be aware of your body language and gestures as you speak, and please don't pace!

A big thank you to Naomi for her advice and for sharing with us her real life best man speech experiences! For more about Naomi and Generations Cinemastories, visit them at