Best Man Speech Writer

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Best Man Speech #77

WATCH how not to move around during your best man speech.

OUR TIP: Many, if not all, of our wedding cinematographer friends have told us that pacing does not make for great wedding film and have even requested us to pass along this fact to our clients. Well, this short video is further proof that moving around too much during your speech isn't the best idea for not just the wedding film but for you too.

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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 www.generationscinemastories.com.

Spotlight Series: Charles Lauren Films

"A best man has an amazing job: They get to introduce a couple to the world."

Today,  we launch a new monthly blog series that highlights the best man speech experiences of seasoned wedding professionals. The goal of the Spotlight Series is to help you prepare for your 15 minutes of wedding fame by providing you with real-world best man speech success stories, what not to do, as well as tried-and-true advice from the best in the wedding industry.

To help us kick off the Spotlight Series is Kelsey Lauren Pluskat of Charles Lauren Films. Charles Lauren Films is a Southern California-based wedding cinematography company that has captured hundreds of love stories since 2004. Their work has not only been featured in many go-to wedding resources but has also been awarded repeatedly. (Check out their long list of awards here.)

We are thrilled to have Ms. Pluskat and Charles Lauren Films be a part of the inaugural Spotlight Series post; and her best man speech experiences are sure to entertain as well as enlighten. So, without further adieu, here's our chat with Ms. Pluskat:

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: 

BESTMANSPEECHWRITER.com: What is your number 1 best man speech pet peeve?

Kelsey: One of the big ones is placement. A lot of times a best man, because he’s so excited, just wants to talk to the bride and groom. This means that he turns away from the audience and only faces the couple. Although it is endearing and sweet, the audience can’t see the speech, because he has his back to them. It is much better when they face the audience. That way everyone can feel the love and not just look at the back of the best man. It is also better for watching the wedding video!

What are the key ingredients to a great toast by the best man?

When the best man speaks about the couple. Although a best man is generally the groom's friend, the audience consists mostly of the groom AND bride's family members. So, if he has a story about how they met, or how he watched their love for each other grow over the years, that’s a key ingredient to a great toast. This way everyone in the audience is engaged and can feel closer to the couple - that is what makes it memorable.

Then of course another key ingredient is being funny. Everyone loves humor. The day is pretty dramatic and everyone is a little stressed. So, a good way to break the ice and get passed the seriousness of the day, is to add a joke into the mix. This opens the night up to start having fun and celebrate what just happened.

So those are really the 2 key ingredients, easily summed up - Love + Laughter = Happily Ever After! In life and a best man’s speech!    

The best/unique/most memorable thing a Best Man has ever done during his speech?

Back when Pete Carroll was the head coach for USC football, we filmed a wedding for a couple who were alumni from USC. Unknown to them, the best man had gone into the USC football locker room a few days before the wedding and gotten Pete Carroll to say congrats, and a few words of wisdom to the couple on video. The Best Man also asked Charles Lauren Films if we could play this video clip at the reception for him. We were game and said of course! So, on the night of the reception, the best man did his toast and then at the end of his toast, we played the Pete Carroll video clip! So it was a complete surprise! It was epic! 

The worst thing a best man has ever done during his speech?

Roasting someone. There is joking and then there is roasting. Let’s just say it’s happened more than once and we’ve had to delete these speeches from the wedding film. Take this example for instance. One best man thought it would be funny to talk about all of the previous girlfriends the groom had dated. Something to the effect that he used to notch his conquests on a bed board. Then the best man went on to discuss how the groom had smoked a pack of cigarettes a day in college. His parents didn’t even know that he was a smoker! The best man, thinking he was clever, had brought this up in the speech,  because the bride had gotten the groom to quit smoking - but that speech should never have seen the light of day. Sharing sensitive personal details, is something that no one should ever go into, especially on the wedding day! The speeches need to be upbeat and joyous - not something that is embarrassing for everyone involved. This is one case where they definitely could have used a best man speech writer! 

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

When a best man gives a good speech, he is the talk of the night! It’s pretty amazing. Some people might think it’s upstaging the couple, but it really just complements the night. Everyone is always rooting for the best man, so when he gives a killer great speech, it ties everything together. If the best man gives a bad speech, you can definitely tell the difference. 

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

A best man has an amazing job: They get to introduce a couple to the world. That’s pretty impressive. As wedding cinematographers we capture everything on film. We go through hours upon hours of footage and, in the end, we use the best moments of the wedding day to make epic highlights. The thing is, we don’t just put everything on the wedding film DVD - we only put the best. It is our film editor's job to take all of the best details, comments, and beautiful shots and edit them in a way that brings the amazing wedding day story to life. Where am I going with this? A best man is like the wedding day. He has hours upon hours of stories, ideas and jokes about the couple, just bursting to be heard. But it is the best man speech writer who organizes and designs the best man's detailed memories into something readable and presentable to the specific audience. He needs not a lot of help, but an editor's help - to make a lasting impression. So our advice is this: Every best man should have a best man speech writer and every wedding couple should have a wedding film!

A big thanks to Kelsey Lauren Pluskat for taking the time out of her jam-packed schedule to chat and share with us her best man speech stories. For more information on Ms. Pluskat and Charles Lauren Films, go to: www.charleslauren.com.

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From A Photographer's Lens

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. 

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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). 

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Your Starring Role In Wedding Films

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. 

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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.

A big thank you to Gusttavo for sharing with us how best men fit into the big wedding film picture. For more information about Gusttavo and Silver Tie Films, visit them on Facebook and their website