So you're the spiffiest dresser at the innovation lab. Or maybe you're the hippest hipster at your startup. Perhaps you just really know how to throw on a robe and slippers at home. Whatever your everyday style, a wedding undoubtedly demands you shift your sartorial drive up a gear.
Next to your high school prom, it is one of those singular events at which you are required to dress like James Bond and play your most sophisticated, most glamorous self (without the pimples and braces). So what if you prefer a Moscow Mule to a martini? Who cares if thrown in a pool of sharks you'd most likely pee in your gingham swimming trunks? For one day you get to play the superhero, to put your best dress shoe-clad foot forward and show everyone what you're made of.
So why ruin it all when you open your mouth to speak?
After seven years of writing toasts and speeches for discerning best men and grooms, we at The Oratory Laboratory know how important it is that your speech is perfectly tailored for the occasion, just the way your suit is. It absolutely should not sound like your regular, everyday plaid-shirt-and-skinny-jean-wearing self, no matter how much you think people dig your laid back off-the-cuff style. If you look sharper than normal, you should sound it, too.
Make Bold Choices
That doesn't mean tell the story about the time your friend threw up in his shoes. It means challenge yourself to look beyond the clichés and vague generalizations you're used to hearing in wedding speeches. Like our personal favorite: 'I love him like a brother.' You know the person better than anyone, so don't be afraid to start with a really good story. You don't need to start by saying, 'Hi, my name is and I've known so-and-so since our frat days at wherever.' No one really cares, just get to the good stuff!
Pay Attention to Detail
Just like the subtle silk piping along your pant leg, the tiny details will set your speech apart. When you talk about someone's qualities or likes and dislikes, don't just make a list, use specific references and great anecdotes to prove your case.
Make an Effort
Go for unexpected structure if you think it's a good fit for the theme. For example, if the bride works in retail, how would you characterize her life in a barcode? Be smarter than normal, because that's how you look.
Okay, so what if it's a beach wedding, you might wonder? You feel fresh and cool sipping mojitos under the Playa Del Carmen sun in that lightweight linen suit—doesn't that mean your speech should be just as effortlessly casual? No! The tightness of your speech should put that casual loose weave to shame. Don't fall into the trap of an improvised waffle, because you think you know the subject so well. You have a meticulously crafted self-image, so be sure to create a similarly well-spun tale for your buddy or bride.
Figure Out Where the Speech Starts, Where It Ends, and Its Overall Theme
Before you write any jokes or long-winded-you-had-to-be-there stories, know what you're trying to achieve. To skip this stage would be like buying a spotted pocket square and suede loafers and then wondering why you couldn't find a suit and shirt to match. Once you have the key pieces of the story down, you can start to accessorize using jokes.
It's not often you get to play the hero, much less feel like one. Whether you're paying tribute in a short rehearsal dinner toast, or providing a more in-depth insight into the person you love as best man or groom, this is your chance to deliver something out of the ordinary. Be bold, be unexpected, be courageous. And if you don't believe us, consider the implications of playing it safe. You might as well turn up in your World of Warcraft Sunday night sweatpants.
For more wedding tips and style pointers, visit the Bonobos Groomshop.