The Best Man Handbook is a free guidebook for Best Man to help with tips and advice on certain Best Man responsibilities. It's brought to you by the folks at BestManSpeechWriter.com and is a free download. #TheBestManHandbookRead More
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Last, but certainly not least, in our interviews with wedding professionals is the wedding photographer. Photography has been, is and will always be a staple in every wedding. Brides and grooms rely on their wedding photographer to capture the emotions, laughter and sentimental gestures exchanged during their special day. Wedding photographers always keep a keen eye - and ear - out for picture-worthy moments between the couple and their guests. They also know how a best man fits into the big wedding day picture.
To talk us through the best man’s role in wedding photography is none other than Jill Person, co-owner of Person + Killian Photography. Person + Killian is one of the hottest, most-beloved and -sought after wedding photography teams in Boston. Their photographs have been featured in many major publications and TV shows, and their work has received more than a handful of accolades. (So many, in fact, that we'll just let P+K tell you about them in their own words.) Here is our conversation with Ms. Person, filled with tips and advice for best men-to-be:
BESTMANSPEECHWRITER.com: Are there certain times during the wedding day that the best man is heavily photographed?
Jill: Most photos of the best man would be during a few portions of the day – helping out the groom get ready (bowties, etc), maybe a formal shot of just the groom and his best man (but not always), and then, of course, the toast. Also, we rely on the best man to help keep the groom on schedule when getting ready.
During the best man’s speech, are there specific moments or reactions you look out for? Also, who do you mostly point your lens at during the best man speech - the best man, groom, groom and best man, groom and bride, guests, or a combination of all?
Definitely a combo of all – a few of the best man himself, and the couple, close family members and friends’ reactions to the speech. And, usually, we look for a good reaction to a joke in the speech or to the toast itself at the end of it as well as a hug from the couple when it is over.
Besides happiness and a smile, are there other emotions or gestures that photograph well?
Joking around and reactions to gifts the groom gives to his groomsmen (which, oftentimes, is a personalized item).
What is your #1 pose pet peeve?
Our shots are not so much posed, as they are kind of natural and relaxed. We don’t mind if the groom and his groomsmen want to be a little silly in some shots (sometimes this happens) but we just ask that they also let us get a few more “formal” shots as well. An example of a “formal” and natural shot is the groom and groomsmen walking and talking.
Is there a flattering pose and/or angle for men to take photos?
Men tend to look better when they’re being photographed more straight on or at just a slight angle.
Is there a color, pattern, and/or material that doesn’t photograph well?
We see everything from black to navy, royal blue to tan, various shades of gray and all look great when the colors match and compliment one another. Also, we occasionally get asked about which shade of white will look best under a man’s shirt. White comes in many shades and we think bright white looks and photographs best.
Can the best man help you and your team in any way during the wedding?
Absolutely – especially if the best man is a family member or long-time friend who knows who the various aunts, uncles, etc. are. We usually ask either the best man or the maid-of-honor to help with searching for the family members or guests needed for certain pictures versus asking the bride and groom. We like to keep the couple, as well as their parents, close by during the formal shots to keep conversations with guests at a minimum and the “formal” time going more smoothly.
What is your all-time favorite photograph of a best man?
I love the moment when the bride is about to walk down the aisle and the groom and best man are waiting for her to walk through the door. With the excitement and natural nerves of the day, it always helps the groom to have the best man by his side.
By now you have probably "sat" through a lifetime's worth of best man speeches. From your experience and perspective as a wedding photographer, can you share with us:
Your #1 best man speech pet peeve?
Too much digressing on college parties, etc. Maybe the most uncomfortable I ever saw the couple and guests were when the best man talked about the groom’s ex-wife during his toast. Also, the best man should really know the crowd who will be at the wedding and keep that in mind while writing his speech.
The key ingredients to a great toast by the best man?
May sound obvious but short, sweet, and to the point (not so short but maybe a minute or 2 tops). It’s okay to put a couple of funny things in the speech so long as they are not going to make people uncomfortable, and saying something sweet about the person the groom is marrying is generally, if not always, a good idea.
How a best man is treated after giving a good speech versus a bad one?
If it’s a heartfelt speech, there are lots of laughter, hugs from both the couple as well as the groom’s parents; and it is always nice to see these reactions and be able to capture them in photos.
Again, a big thanks to Jill of Person + Killian Photography for graciously taking time out of her jam-packed schedule to share with us her expertise and advice. For more information on Jill , read this or visit their website, www.personkillian.com. And, keep in mind Jill’s tips on “posing” (stand flush to the camera or at an angle), how you can help photographers during the wedding day (locate certain individuals during the “formal” shots), and speech writing (keep your audience in mind while writing).
A "wedding film" has become a must-have item for more and more couples that wedding cinematographers have become Big Day staples. Wedding videographers, like photographers, capture a wedding's special moments. However, wedding cinematographers not only encapsulate the sights of a wedding but also its sounds. In other words, you and your best man speech may forever be recorded in your mate's wedding film. And it's imperative that you not only have but also deliver a heartfelt best man speech because wedding filmmakers, more often than not, incorporate the best man's speech into the film - either as sound bites or as the film's soundtrack.
To fill us in on wedding films and the role best men play in them is Gusttavo Matteucci, owner and director of Silver Tie Films. Silver Tie Films is an award-winning wedding videography company recording Bay Area weddings. They have worked with over 200 couples and their work have been featured in major wedding resources such as Martha Stewart Weddings and Style Me Pretty. Here's our conversation with Mr. Matteucci:
BESTMANSPEECHWRITER.com: How does cinematography fit into the big Big Day picture?
Gusttavo: A wedding video is definitely the best way to relive a wedding day. All the special moments and special details that are sometimes missed by the bride and groom are captured by our cameras. How else can you again listen to what the father of the bride said during his speech if your wedding is not captured in video? And how else will a couple be able to watch their first dance as husband and wife? So cinematography is huge if a couple wants to remember everything that happened on their Big Day.
Please explain to us the role the best man and his speech play in the overall film.
The best wedding videos are the ones that tell real love stories. The best way to do that is to incorporate the personalities of each character into the film. So, in his speech, it is very important that the best man describes the groom in the best way possible. Real stories and real facts about the groom and the groom’s personality definitely help us to create a video that is real, and into a story that people can connect with.
The best man is typically a wedding VIP - can the same be said about the best man and his speech when it comes to the wedding film?
The importance of the best man’s speech for our films is huge! If the best man’s speech is full of details about the groom and his personality, how the groom felt about the first date, how the relationship became more and more real after a while and how his perspective and relationship changed, etc. - all that really helps us to create a video full of emotions. (Here's a wedding film by Silver Tie Films that "displays" best man's speech front-and-center.)
How does a bad best man speech affect your job?
A bad speech usually leads us to use different parts of the wedding day to show the bride and groom’s personalities and stories, and wedding day itself. If none of the speeches are personable, we tend to use more of the ceremony and vows. The only problem with vows is that sometimes they cannot give a full picture of the couple’s relationship and personalities like a good speech would do. This especially becomes an issue when the couple decides not to exchange custom vows. So a great best man speech is definitely a plus and helps us tell the story of the bride and groom and their wedding day.
Do you ask your clients, the couple, anything specific relating to the best man's speech? Like maybe a copy of the speech beforehand?
I currently don’t ask anything from the best man, but after talking to you and your company, I feel very compelled to do that moving forward. It will help us tremendously.
Do you prep the best man in any way for the film or offer him any advice regarding the delivery of his speech?
I usually don’t have communication with the best man prior to the wedding. But on the wedding day we give him little tips on where to stand and how to hold the mic so that we can capture the best possible imagery/audio.
Does the best man “guest star” in the film at any other time(s) besides during the delivery of his speech?
The wedding party is definitely an important group in every wedding. The best man and maid of honor have even more important parts in our films because of their relationship with the couple; so their interactions with the bride and groom during the prep time are always captured by our cinematographers. We also try to capture their expressions during the vows, during the first dance, etc.
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:
Your 3 best man speech pet peeves?
That’s a tough one, but I will give you one that always drives me crazy. I never like when the best man talks about the groom’s past relationships and go on in full detail about them. Some comments are best not made at a wedding.
The key ingredients to a great toast by the best man?
It’s always important to show real love to the bride and groom. Sincere feelings and words that come from the heart can never go wrong in a best man’s speech.
The worst thing a best man has ever done during his speech?
I think the worst one was actually not too long ago when the best man was basically embarrassing the groom during the entire speech saying how much he was a weight to carry through the years and that the weight was now being passed on to the bride. Certain things should never be mentioned in a wedding speech.
How often the best man is ill-prepared for his speech?
For the most part, all best men are at least a little prepared for their speech, but we understand that not everybody is a good public speaker. So the delivery sometimes is tough even for the most prepared ones.
How the best man is treated after giving a good speech versus a bad one?
On a good speech the entire crowd is emotional at the end. But during a bad speech everybody is just distracted and probably ready to get to the dessert as fast as possible.
Any advice you’d like to share with soon-to-be and future best men?
Be yourself and show that you care for the groom, his bride and their families. Get ready for your speech and practice the delivery a couple of times before the Big Day. I think those are very important tips for any best man who would like to give a good speech.
"Boutonniere" is French for buttonhole; but, nowadays, it is more commonly used to refer to the floral decoration worn by men. Boutonnieres are placed on the left lapel of one's suit jacket and are reserved for special events like proms and weddings. You, most likely, won't have a say on the boutonniere you'll rock at your mate's wedding so we'll talk about other things boutonniere related. Like how to properly pin the thing onto your jacket without pricking your finger in the process.
And here to enlighten us on the process and all things boutonniere is Stacy K. Ercan, owner of Stacy K Floral a wedding and event floral design studio in Rochester, New York. Here's our conversation with Ms. Ercan and her boutonniere advice:
BESTMANSPEECHWRITER.com: What's the proper way to pin a boutonniere?
Stacy: We prefer to hold the boutonniere at the left lapel and pin behind the lapel either down through the stem or across grabbing only a small section of the lapel as to not let it pucker.
How about the bigger, heavier boutonnieres - is there a trick to pinning these so they stay in place and don't tug on the lapel?
The from-the-back option (as described in the previous answer) doesn't allow for this to occur and should be sufficient in preventing a bigger and/or heavier boutonniere from tugging at the lapel. However, sometimes if it's a really heavy boutonniere, you may need two pins. But, for most cases, one pin should be enough to hold the boutonniere in place and lay nicely, keep the lapel from puckering, hide the pin, and, of course, maintain the focus on the flowers.
About when during the wedding day should the best man expect boutonnieres to be given/distributed?
Usually, the boutonnieres will be available to the groom and groomsmen about an hour prior to the ceremony. The florist will either drop off the boutonnieres or provide a pin service. If the florist is dropping off the boutonnieres, each will be labeled and are usually located at the entrance of the ceremony location. Also, the best man and groomsmen will have to pin the boutonniere themselves. Now, if the florist is servicing, then s/he will do all the pinning for the gentlemen.
Are there any flowers and/or fauna a best man should be careful handling?
Not really. The florist should have chosen flowers that hold up well to the abuse a boutonniere traditionally takes. On any boutonniere and or flower, it is best to handle it from the stem as the salts on our hands can brown all types of petals. Also, those big burly hugs that men tend to give - I'd suggest for the boutonniere-wearing best man to lighten them up a bit to help keep the flowers from getting smushed.
Boutonnieres are generally worn on the left lapel of a man’s suit jacket. But how about if, as chosen by the couple, the best man’s wedding day outfit is without a suit jacket - where would the boutonniere be worn in this scenario?
Proper boutonniere etiquette is that if the gentleman does not have a jacket he should not wear a boutonniere. Personally, I do not prefer how a boutonniere looks on a vest or a shirt; as usually these items are not made out of materials that support a boutonniere well and it kind of just floats around strangely. But IF our client insists on having them, we will usually suggest a suspender or the vest and would still put it on the left side.
What’s the most popular flower(s) used for boutonnieres? Any upcoming boutonniere trends you’d like to share?
Callas, roses, and orchids are the more popular flowers for a boutonniere. As for what's new, we really enjoy when a client switches to the floral pocket squares. It's a unique take on a traditional element. We use a lot of textures and elements that are non-floral in our studio, like pods, berries, wires, ribbons, feathers - things that are light but add dimension to the boutonniere.
A maid-of-honor often holds the bouquet for the bride. Is there a wedding floral/boutonniere tradition/etiquette that relates to the groom that a best man should know?
Nope. The best man is usually holding the rings and there isn't any floral-specific thing they should do - just hug lightly!
Any other advice you’d like to share with soon-to-be and future best men?
If the gentlemen have to pin on the boutonnieres themselves, make sure to use the pinning techniques I mentioned and double check that all the boutonnieres are at the same heights and facing the same way - it will really help the photographs to look crisp and sharp. If, for any reason, a flower should break in someone's boutonniere, there should always be extra pins so take one and pin that flower back in. Just make sure the pin is hidden.
Many thanks to Stacy for imparting her boutonniere wisdom and tips! Visit Stacy online via her website, Facebook, and, for the creatives, Pinterest. And, of course, contact Stacy K Floral when you want to spoil your loved ones with an unique and beautiful arrangement of flowers.
The next wedding professional who will be sharing with us their wedding know-how and real-life best man speech stories is a wedding planner. Wedding planners know a lot about weddings because, besides coordinating them, they attend more weddings in a year than most would in five. Moreover, they know of every single thing that happens at a wedding. Whether big or small, backstage or in front of everyone, they know. Therefore, and it is safe to say that, wedding planners are a great source of information regarding your role.
Danielle Aspromatis of d'Luxe Events, a New Jersey-based event planning company whose consultation and coordination services have been repeatedly awarded "Best of Weddings" by The Knot, sat down and talked shop with us. She shared some great tips for best men that you may be interested in considering. Here's our chat with Ms. Aspromatis:
BESTMANSPEECHWRITER.com: What, in your opinion, is the best man’s overall role in a wedding? Have you noticed it change over the years?
Danielle: Being a best man to me means that you are not only honored as a special person in the groom's life, but that you get to be one of the select few who spends time with the groom right before the ceremony. I love being able to watch those one-to-one moments between a groom and his best man - having a drink, last words of wisdom, helping the groom put the finishing touches on like a pocket square or cufflinks. Not everyone gets to spend a whole lot of time with the groom on his wedding day besides the bride and the best man, and that time is special and unique.
Another advantage to being the best man is giving a speech and your speech is more than just a responsibility. It sets the tone for the evening and serves to welcome the guests and kick off the night. Your best man speech is very important but at the same time should be a relaxed moment filled with joy and love.
One thing that has not changed over the years are the jitters I see during the moments leading up to the best man giving his speech! However, one thing that has changed is the bachelor party. In the past, it used to be totally up to the best man to throw a bachelor party. But, nowadays, I am seeing more and more bridal parties and groomsmen come together to throw a bachelor party together so the pressure is not just on one person.
What are the top 3 most important duties of a best man before the wedding?
Speech writing, bachelor party and listening to the groom complain about wedding planning duties!
What are the top 3 most important duties of a best man on the wedding day?
Holding on to the rings is his most important job! Also keeping the groom calm and, of course, delivering that speech and toast!
We've heard from a number of former best men that they prefer to be in the thick of wedding planning with the groom rather than stand on the sidelines. From your experience, is this advisable?
I would say leave the planning to the couple. Too many cooks in the kitchen often leads to arguments. The only place that I see a best man's input as being valuable is perhaps in the renting/purchasing of the groomsmen's tuxes or suits (as well as spearheading this entire task). It would be great to have a point person - other than the groom - who can gently remind everyone of their attire deadlines.
By now you have probably "sat" through a lifetime's worth of best man speeches. From your experience and perspective as a wedding planner, can you share with us:
Your #1 best man speech pet peeve?
Contrived humor that comes off as trying a little too hard.
The key ingredients to a great toast by the best man?
Honest well-wishing, enunciation, and keep it simple.
The best/unique/most memorable thing a best man has ever done during his speech?
I have seen some very funny PowerPoint presentations that involved old pictures, video and a lot of very well-planned humor.
The worst thing a best man has ever done during his speech?
Embarrass the groom to an inappropriate tasteless level. Humor is welcome but it should be light and not overboard.
How a best man is treated after giving a good speech versus a bad one?
Generally, no one is going to be treated poorly after a bad speech but, of course, every best man that I have seen execute a phenomenal speech seems to have a much better time for the rest of the reception!
Any best man speech advice?
Speak from your heart and do not have too many drinks before your speech! Also remember this is the day and age of video and social media. You will be captured for all of time so speak clearly, stand up straight and don't forget to smile - it is a wedding, not a funeral!
If a best man needs to coordinate something for the wedding day - whether for his speech or something else - he should contact the wedding planner, yes? About how far in advance should he do so?
Yes, of course! Wedding planning packages are often customized to each couple, so it would be proper etiquette to ask the couple first if their package allows for time spent helping the best man or any other member of the wedding party. After clearing that with the couple, it is encouraged for the best man to contact the planner at any time that they need assistance.
Any advice you’d like to share with present and future best men?
Being a best man is truly an honor and the experience should not be taken lightly. This is one of the biggest days in the groom's life, and he has carefully chosen you to be by his side through it all. Also, brush on your pocket square folding skills so you're able to assist the groom and groomsmen with a proper and neat fold. (YouTube is a great source for this.)
A big thank you to Danielle of d'Luxe Events for taking time out of her busy calendar to share with us her knowledge, stories and advice. For more information, visit d'Luxe Events' Facebook page and website, www.dluxeevents.com. And remember to brush up on your pocket square folding skills.
If you immerse yourself in the best man speech world like we do, you'll notice certain things - like which lines are being used by practically every best man. These over-used lines admittedly incite laughter but they are so played out that they've become very annoying and boring to hear.
We mentioned this growing best man speech epidemic to you last year (here) and we're bringing it up again because your best man speech deserves better than a slew of played out jokes and lines. We've put together a list of the over-used phrases you should NOT include in your best man speech. And, if you respect the groom at all and/or value your role as best man, we suggest you read and heed our list carefully:
"Fornication. Excuse me. For an occasion such as this..."
"A wise man once told me that a best man's speech should be as long as the groom makes love. So, thank you everyone."
"Knowing that I had to write this speech, I turned to the Internet. I spent hours online and found really great stuff, but then I realized I was researching for a best man speech." (Here's another version: "I did what any good best man does and I went online. I found some pretty good stuff. Then I realized I was looking for speech ideas.")
"The two of you decided to get married for better or for worse. Which is quite appropriate because John, you couldn't have done any better; and Jane, you couldn't have done any worse."
"I was a bit bothered about having the title 'Best Man'. If I'm the 'Best Man' then why's the bride marrying the groom?"
"I'd like to thank the groom for picking me as his best man. It only took him 10 years to admit that I am the better man."
John recently called and asked me, "So Joe, what do you think about marriage?" I told him, "John, you're a great man and I'm flattered but I'm not that kind of guy." (Here's another version: "A while back John asked me what I thought about marriage. I told him that I was flattered but what happened between us was in the past.")
"Today is a really sad day for all the single guys out there because today a beautiful girl is off the market. And I think I can speak for all the single ladies out there when I say that today is just another day."
"John is smart, funny, good looking... Wait, John, what's that say? I can't read your handwriting."
"John was born on Tuesday, June 1st, 1980. I tried to link that day to some momentous and positive event in history but it seems that nothing really happened that day."
"Let's pick up our glasses and toast to the folks who mean the most to us tonight - the bartenders."
"I'm going to wind down now as I see there's only 3 minutes left for my speech and I'd like to leave time for applause."
"To laugh, to love, to laughter, and to happily every after." (Here's another version: "Here's to love, laughter, and happily ever after.")
Don't believe us? Just watch the two videos below and take note of the "similarities" between their speeches.
The Best Man Handbook, to date, has covered a wide range of topics related to the best man's role including your responsibilities as best man, the cost of being the best man, advice on how to plan a bachelor party, a breakdown of wedding dress codes, custom suit tips, a guide on wedding gift giving and, most recently, a very unique wedding gift idea, The Best Man Handbook is your personal roadmap to help you navigate through your role as best man. To shed even more light on the “do’s,” “don’ts” and overall importance of the best man we've now opened the Handbook to a select group of highly-respected wedding professionals who share their wedding know-how as it relates to the best man role. These pros have a lot of wedding wisdom and their stories and advice will make you a better, well-informed and very prepared best man. So here it goes.
First up is us, Best Man Speech Writer; professional wedding speechwriters to be exact. The importance of a best man's speech to a wedding has increased over the years with the increasing use of social media and websites such as YouTube. Today, a terrible best man speech will spread like wildfire beyond the confines of the wedding reception, bringing embarrassment to the bride, the groom, their families and the best man himself. If one bad actor/actress can ruin a movie, you better believe that one bad wedding speech can break the spirit and tone of an otherwise incredible wedding. In other words, they the bride and groom expect a lot out of you and your speech. And that's a lot of pressure.
"We take the burden and stress of writing a speech off your shoulders..."
Which is where the job of professional wedding speechwriters begins. We take the burden and stress of writing a speech off your shoulders to give you the opportunity to fully enjoying your other best man responsibilities and ensure you deliver a best man speech you will be proud of for years to come. So, if you are or are going to be a best man, this post is critically important for you since your best man speech is when the wedding spotlight will be shining its brightest on you - and you alone.
Though the final product from each speechwriter is a speech, how each speechwriter goes about creating his/her work varies and we'll let you in on how we, at Best Man Speech Writer, work with our clients so you know what to expect from us once you draft us into your best man dream team.
"We all take on the roles of public speaking coach, speech editor, "interpreter", and, sometimes, nagging assistant to ensure you're on track for your speech."
We always start by letting you choose the service(s) you want, or need, from us. We offer packaged and a la carte services, and the type of help and how much help we provide is dictated by the service(s) you select. And, even though we're really speechwriters by trade, when needed we also take on the roles of public speaking coach, speech editor, "interpreter", and, sometimes, nagging assistant to ensure you're on track for your speech.
Next, we collect the pieces of information necessary to put your speech together. We'll admit, this step can get VERY personal and for good reason. Having a more in-depth idea of who you are and your bromantic history with the groom gives us a fuller picture and, therefore, enables us to write a more meaningful speech tailored specifically to you and the groom and the couple.
Then, after we work our best man speech writing magic and send you the finished product, we practice your speech with you*. Practicing your speech with you, in our opinion, is one of the most important parts of our job; and past clients have said that the practice session helped them prepare as well as be more confident with the delivery of their speech. In addition, we always include presentation cues within all of the speeches we write to help you deliver and "sell" the speech. So, no matter which of our services or package you book, we will always offer you speech delivery advice.
There are a lot of average and uncomfortably horrible best man speeches out there and we're here to save you and your best man speech from either fate. (Here and here are examples of bad best man speeches that could've easily been avoided.) We live and breathe wedding speeches and know how to toe the thin line of sentimentality and humor without crossing over into the vulgar and overly embarrassing. We are very good at what we do and are here to make your life as best man easier.
So, let's recap. Here are the 5 benefits of hiring us (or any professional wedding speechwriter for that matter):
- We take on all the responsibility and stress of writing your best man speech;
- We know how to put together a great best man speech filled with humor, sentiment, and personal stories that won't embarrass anyone;
- We provide you with speech delivery tips and advice;
- We can fill you in on your role because we have worked with past best men and know what's expected from you; and
- Most importantly, you get to concentrate on other best man tasks that are way more fun.
In short, we are here to make sure you have a speech you can be proud of and a speech that will further prove why you, above every other man in the groom's life, were chosen to be THE best man. If you have any questions about our services, want advice on your upcoming speech, or need to vet us through our past clients, please feel free to contact us anytime. We'll be here for you whenever you're ready.
* Depending on booked service and/or package.