My first blog post here, at Secret Wedding Blog, is all about being a best man. Now when this came to mind, I knew just who to ask! Andrew Mills, originally from the UK but moved to set up a new life in Melbourne. He is one of Mark’s best friends so I interviewed Andrew online and asked him a few questions.
How many times have you been asked to be a best man and when?
I am fortunate enough to have been joint best man twice & I have my third coming up next August in Sheffield. The first was in Cyprus last July, followed in September by Lawries down in Cornwall. I flew back for both from down under, I am still awaiting my costs to be reimbursed!
How early do you start preparing the speech?
Haha, you want the honest answer? The first one I reckon I started as soon as I had been given the call up. Safe to say I was pretty excited. I tried to get as much down on paper as possible, I think they all started as a 4 page assault on the groom! The majority of the ideas come early, but the fine tuning & structuring so that all of the audience can engage is something that is just an ongoing process. I like to practice reading the speech out the night before to friends, when they all say “Is that it?” & “It’s not very funny”, I let others get involved & give me a few jokes. The last one went down an absolute treat so I can’t take full credit for my “sh*t joke”, cheers boys!
What were your duties as Best Man?
There were numerous duties, lots of housekeeping that only really get outlined on the day just to ensure the day runs smoothly, get everyone to seats & usher them around, nothing too hard. I suppose the unwritten rule / dutie is to entertain & ensure everyone is having a great day out.
Have you had any situations in which you, as the Best Man, had to resolve?
There was one at Lawries…. Lawrie got thrown in the pool at his wedding reception, so I had to go up to his room & collect clean clothes etc…. it may have been my fault, but it’s a situation nonetheless. At Harry’s the only issue was the weather, 40 degrees & light blue shirts, thanks mate. Resolution to this was to drink more.
How nervous were you before giving the speech?
Honest answer, bricking it. The first wedding, I hardly ate or drank before as I was that nervous. Fortunately I was doing a joint speech which I think helped me get through.
The second one I was the sole speaker therefore all eyes were focused in. I ate plenty, drank a lot & portrayed that I was the most confident man in the room (which is pretty tough when you’re following a comedian groom & the father of the bride who has worked in a public speaking industry for 25 years)! I’m hoping the next one will be a breeze…
How long would you recommend a best man speech should be?
10 minutes tops. As its one of your nearest & dearest you could talk for a lot longer thats a given, but just remember… the bar is open.
What criteria do you have to include?
- Tear the groomsman to shreds – this is the time to embarrass him!
- Compliment the bride & bridesmaids.
- Do any thank yous that have yet to be done.
- Share a few stories (hopefully to get a few laughs).
- A few heart felt sentiments are always nice.
- And finish with a toast.
- Simple 😉
What are the absolute No No things that you should not mention in a speech?
The things I wouldn’t mention would be any past conquests / history, the last thing you want to do is ruin anyones day. I’ve been asked to avoid anything overly sexual with close family & grandparents, which is fine. Anything else I think is fair game…
You have been joint best man twice, how do you think this differed from the tradition of having one best man?
The first it was great having 2. It was our first time at doing the role, so roles were shared even down to the speech. The second we defined clearer roles, so Lloyd did more with regards to the service & I was at the top table for the reception delivering the speech.Having two just takes some weight off the best men in order to enjoy & take in the day a little more.
How did you divide the best man duties in both weddings?
The first wedding, it was very much down the middle & it was a hell of a lot of fun, its not very often you can do this with one of your best mates who you’ve known since kindergarden.
The second we divided the roles so that Lloyd would have a much greater role during the ceremony as his little girl was a flower girl (she stole the show!). I sat on the top table to do the speeches so he could sit with his family, it just made logical sense & I think worked pretty well.
As a best man, what has been the best part of the role?
On the day – you have a licence in the speech to take the micky out of your best mate & it’s great (both have done it to me over the years, it was payback time).
Outside of the day – organising the stag. I missed one due to living down under, the second was organised to a tee & went beautifully, certainly a few new lifelong friends made… I cannot discuss any detail!
Could you suggest a few tips and advice for best men to be, that haven’t got a clue where to start?
I didn’t either. I bought a book / guide. It talks about everything you need to know. From congratulating the newly engaged & thanking them for having such an honour bestowed on you all the way through to the day after the wedding. I also did a lot of research online, read lots of speeches & talked the role through with numerous friends & family.The other key point is to start organising the stag nice & early, you will become very popular very quickly.
The video below shows you giving your speech, when watching this video, how does that make you feel?
The speech is something I am able to look back on with great pride, it really is an honour to be called a best man & this was certainly the better of my 2 attempts… I reckon I may have even got a few laughs for the first time in my life!! Do you think I have a career in speech writing?
Photography: Quinn Cowper1