Writing a Best Man Speech

Back in November 2016 I took on the most esteemed role of best man for a dear friend of mine I had known since school. I reluctantly accepted his offer that he sprung upon me one afternoon in the kitchen while drinking herbal tea. I wasn’t hesitant because I didn’t want to do it but more because I didn’t want to botch it up for him and his wife to be. This thought was constantly on my mind running up to the big day! There is a certain responsibility that comes with this position and speech writing aside, for someone with a bit of anxiety hovering over their head, there is an awful lot to consider. But this post isn’t about coping with all that, it’s about what I did to make a room of people listen to me for 5 minutes and make at least a couple of them laugh in the process, with something I wrote about two people in love. If you want to Know more about the obligations of a best man, just Google it, there are countless sites that will put your mind at ease.

I hadn’t practised my public speaking for a long time at that point and to be honest that was the biggest thing I was worried about. Writing the speech however, was a real delight. I’d given myself a week to write it and actually took a week off work to sit down and do it properly. It was also one week exactly before the wedding so I was highly motivated to say the least!


I remember thinking back to when I wrote my dissertation for the final year of my degree and how I cut it close back then too. It’s a good idea to give yourself ample time to put the words to paper but leaving it so close to the deadline did have its advantages. It gives you the opportunity to be as current as possible, especially where jokes are concerned. More people will be able to relate to what you are saying if part of what you are saying is in the limelight. If you can tailor your humour around subjects of public attention, this will help you command the room because the material is relatable. If you write it too early there is a chance you’ll have to rethink your approach when the content becomes unconnected.


On the subject of humour, you’ll want to leave the bride out of this one. Everyone who ever written and performed a traditional best man’s speech will probably advise that the bride is strictly off limits and under no circumstances will she be the butt of any jokes! The groom however, will never stand a chance. You’ll want him to fear you the moment you’re handed the microphone. Personal stories of a comical nature are best suited here and no doubt the stag do/bachelor party will summon some inspiration depending on when that happens. I had plenty of material to play around with but it’s really your decision to decide what you include here. A little self-deprecation goes a long way too.  


If you’ve got children present, which is most definitely the case, you’ll likely want to reel in the profanities a tad. You don’t want to scar them for life or have them badger mum and dad about strange things the man in the suit said about their uncle or whatever. Navigate the room, try to discover who will be attending. If you’re fortunate enough to meet the family and friends of both parties beforehand, either in life or at perhaps at the engagement party, then you’ll gage more the appropriateness of the speech. I made a joke about the reliability of a certain public transport service in the UK that almost everybody found funny, only later to learn three people including the Master of Ceremonies and the groom’s late father used to and presently work for the firm. Be that as it may, I interpreted it as a win.   


Be thankful, appreciate everyone there but also those who couldn’t be. This is particularly important for the bridesmaids traditionally but really anyone who makes the day special for the Mr and Mrs in question. Think of people close to them other than yourself and give them their dues. Offering respect to others is always nice, and who knows, you might get some back in return.


End on a high! This is the last thing they will remember! Not the champagne flute you raise for the final toast but the last sentence you spring from your gob. It can be funny, it can be heartfelt or maybe even a little sad, just make it relevant and make it strong.

This might all be terrible advice to give enlisted best men around the world but it worked for me… just about. Have a read of my speech and judge for yourself.       


Ladies and gentlemen…  Good afternoon. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Alex the Best Man.

Before I begin my speech, I just wanted to say a few words about the day that this wedding shares. I’m of course talking about Armistice Day, a day to commemorate peace and remember those who had given their lives for it. I’d also like to take this opportunity to remember James’ Dad, who as you know is no longer with us, but nonetheless witnessed the affection between James and Sarah when it was simply blossoming.

And so, I ask you kindly to join me in a moments silence, to remember a real character, who would love to have been here today.  


Thank you.

I’ve never been Best Man before and quite frankly I don’t mind telling you how terrified I’ve been about this speech. So please bear with me.

James has already mentioned the lovely bridesmaids and flower girls, but I thought I’d give you all a special mention too, so well-done Ladies. And Sarah, I’m not freighted to admit that I almost lost it seeing you walk the isle earlier… You look stunning!      

And to all you lads who helped me sort out the Stag Do, I couldn’t have done it alone so thanks for that too. We truly left our mark on London that evening… Or at least James did. All over the floor.

I mean a heavy dose of Wheat Beer, Bratwurst Sausage and sauerkraut was enough to blow your mind, let alone your stomach! 

I’ve had the great pleasure of tolerating James now for over 15 years, and I think like me, he’s quite a reserved chap, which has only made the mandatory character assassination all the more difficult. I must say though, that grey suit is a refreshing change of pace compared with the worn-out Metallica T-shirts he normally wares. And it’s nice to see you’ve combed your hair today too mate which makes a change.

I remember when James and Sarah first met back in our college days. Later going on their first “casual” date to the cinema. And like something out of a movie, they found themselves standing side by side, on a station platform in Stains, waiting for the last train home. The carriage pulls up and James stands, awkwardly looking back into the eyes of his crush. This is the longest departure of his life. The doors open up behind him and all of a sudden time stood still. He couldn’t wait any longer, he had to make it all official. He had to give her a kiss.

That’s right guys, there was a time when South Western Railway were good for something. 

The truth is, it’s difficult to find a fault in James. He’s considerate, he’s smart, he’s well organised, and for the most part, he’s got a good sense of humour. But he definitely doesn’t wear the trousers.

Which leads me to my next point…

Now, we as a nation have had a rich history of strong and inspirational women. And little did she know, Sarah became one of them, when she proposed to James. If you ask me, a practice that isn’t done often enough by women. So, I’d watch out boys!

You may have already heard how this chapter of their lives played out, but I leave you with my own take on the story… Here goes.

After several months of subliminal messaging and dropping hints of marriage, Sarah had grown tired of James and his obliviousness. Evidently, she couldn’t wait a single day longer. And so, followed the night of the big question.

Sarah had just got home from a vigorous jogging session. She’s energetic, she’s confident, she’s ready! Meanwhile James is preparing dinner in kitchen and all seems normal in the household.

Later that evening, the two lovers sit together watching the TV, but Sarah’s mind is focused only on the prize. The time to act is now she thought. And in a reckless attempt she reaches for the remote and turns off the TV. “James, I need to ask you something” she says. At this point James is completely dumbstruck, and all sorts of wild scenarios race though his head. 

Sarah takes a deep breath. And just like on their first date, time once again stood still. She asked him “Will you marry me?”.

To which James replied “If I say yes… will you put Game of Thrones back on?”  


Ladies and Gentlemen, I for one could not be happier that these two delightful people are finally married, so if you would stand with me and raise your glasses high!

To Mr and Mrs H!





This series of posts depicts the epic journey I’ve taken across the land of student filmmaking. From the deep-rooted plains of the 4:3 aspect ratio to the wonderous tundra of half-decent modern indie cinema, you’ll read about the trials I endured throughout my education.     

College was a great time for me, perhaps even the best time of my life so far. I met my first proper girlfriend, learnt how to drive, got my first car handed down to me by family friends and grew to the legal drinking age not that the law had ever prevented me prior.

It was my first experience living away from family and creating some semblance of independence for myself. It’s true I was living with an old school friend and his family but I had lived in Wales for a good few years before that and now I was back on home turf, so to speak, reacquainting myself with friends long past. College is a little different here in the UK when compared to other educational structures of the world, for starters you begin your venture straight out of school. It was over ten years ago for me now and I had already endured a year of Sixth Form College in the land where sheep are in abundance, so I was a bit older than some of my peers. 

Anyway, I studied a BTEC in Moving Images which pretty much covered filmmaking at an introductory level. It was the first time I studied anything remotely close to my interests and I loved every minute of the two years of making rubbish student films. But in the gentle words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “By seeking and blundering we learn.”

Dusting off some of my old DV tapes recently was like taking a big gulp of nostalgia juice. I’m at that moment in life where I would like to declutter and get rid of all the shit that I haven’t used or even looked at for about a decade, only to fill the empty void with more dust worthy crap. But before I do, I want to reminisce a bit. The majority of these student films have been lost to the cosmos unfortunately and the tapes only contain unedited footage mostly. So, this is a good time I feel to write about them while the memory is fresh. The process, the end result and how I felt making it. 

This was really the first time I had the opportunity to write a short film, at least in part. From the get go the whole production was a shamble with most of us not really having any hold on what our roles entailed. For whatever reason, I wasn’t actually present for the majority of principal photography or any of the photography really. Not saying that my physical involvement would have contributed positively in any way but I may have been able to communicate the script better in person to the people actually shooting the thing. This goes to show how bad the writing was to begin with. Basically, the story follows a young woman who finds an odd-looking mobile phone while out for a jog. The phone wasn’t really that odd looking, more the manner in which it was found. If my memory serves me, it was just somebody’s old Nokia (no devil horns attached).

We never quite explained the origin of the strange properties the phone possessed but what we did show, and in ridiculous fashion, was how the phone killed the last person who answered a call from it. An outrageous premise I know. So, it set out to be a horror but ended up a comedy and not for the right reasons. If it was made of cheese it would be stilton, mouldy veins aplenty!

I remember it being credited by our lecturer for having a specifically well-lit scene that gave the illusion of a sunrise bursting through a window onto the set. A happy accident but that’s more or less all he had to say on it. All of the talent were film students who had extremely little to no acting experience and that only added to the cringe worthy humour. The evil antagonist eventually gets defeated by way of being thrown in the river from ‘near’ whence it came. When the hero eventually figures out the connection between her outgoing calls and the ridiculous deaths of her friends, she figures the best solution is to give it what I called the Jumanji treatment. The original Jumanji featured the protagonists throwing the board game that had plagued them the whole movie, into the river in the hope it would be gone forever but inevitably it washes up on a beach to claim its next victims. We more or less went with that ending only instead of the infamous drums beating their way into the credits, we had a ringtone. The audio levels were so high at this point it burst the eardrums of anyone watching it and it is the last thing you remember about the film, which is probably a good thing. 

Overall it was a delightful mess of things that didn’t quite make a lot of sense but a real joy to watch, if only for its trashiness. Everyone put in a lot of effort and lots had been learned. For example, I have just been informed that the title of the film is actually ‘No Signal’. Much better.

This was an extremely fun project of mine where the brief was to design a controversial ad campaign for an existing product of our choosing. I felt that condoms were a pretty taboo subject between teens and teachers so it felt logical to pick Durex as my fictitious client. I really wanted to freak people out, make them laugh but also inform them about the dependable specifics of their Extra Safe condom brand. Lots of ideas presented themselves, most of which were too difficult or too expensive for us for poor students to make. And so the Extra Strong campaign came to be.

Picture a young sexually active couple the morning after the night before, in bed together looking way too smart and orderly for what we presume was a passionate night of lovemaking. They gaze at each other longingly like all young couples do before they grow up and realise life ain’t ever going to get sweeter than what they are experiencing right now. But they’ve not long been awake and the dude in this heterosexual relationship needs to pee. For all we know he was out on the lash all evening and now that bladder is full to the brim baby! So, he gets out of bed, trying to maintain a hint of sex appeal towards his lover. In a successful attempt at decorum, he gets dressed and gracefully slides on his denim jeans with a seductive grin, only something clings to his belt buckle. Unbeknownst to this self-assured stud the belt buckle holds a rogue used condom that managed to escape the trash! The woman is stunned at the sight but she is in such a state of paralysis that she cannot bring herself to tell the man.

He exits the room, turns to show his lover a seductive grin and inadvertently closes the condom in the door. This is where the idea entered the realm of ridiculous satire that so many adverts seem to exist in. Where wacky scenarios exist and none of the inhabitants seem to bat an eyelash, so long as the product or service is the monolithic centre of attention.       

So, our gormless virile male makes his way down the hallway, sure of himself and full of positivity after ‘doing the deed’. Everywhere he goes the trapped condom follows him. Stretched and elongated like a leash, from the doorframe to his waistline and he is completely none the wiser because of fantasy advertising rules. I originally had the idea of him walking around the entire house creating a spaghetti junction of cloudy latex in his wake and even a little dog looking curiously at the potential choo toy. but these ideas were quite ambitious for a zero-budget student project so we ended up with the watered-down version instead. Plus, I didn’t know anybody with a pug at the time and they seem like nature’s clown canine and perfect for the role. Alas our man only makes it to the bathroom in the final rendition but we managed to make the condom look as though it stretched at least several meters, through the power of forced perspective and editing!    

He walks over to the sink, runs the tap and smiles at himself in the mirror. What a champion he must feel. By this stage the lady in this story snaps out of her statuesque form and proceeds to open the bedroom door. It’s pretty obvious what happens next and I regret to write that we shot several takes of the sequence. The rubber was released, contracting down the corridor and with such a crisp snapping sound to boot! The actor, whom I’ll name Dan was such a good sport for taking a brutal force to nether region, time and time again, looks directly through the camera lens via the mirrors reflection and we freeze frame for dramatic effect. Fade to black and run the supers, Extra strong? Extra safe. Then fade to the durex logo. It’s worth mentioning that the whole ad was accompanied by a really cheesy, really smooth jazz track that was simply the cherry on top of this metaphorical condom draped bowl of ice cream.

I might add that I also made a poster to coincide with this TV ad which was a little more controversial than comical. To put it simply, it was a BB-Gun pistol with a condom over the barrel and essentially the same slogan. Now the realist might think that a rubber-johnny would never stop a bullet but not before asking why someone would have intercourse with a gun in the first place. The message was meant to convey that unprotected sex might lead to a plethora of unwanted lifechanging events that may or may not be comparable to being shot and the latex shield might just save you. I know it was an outrageous notion but it got me a good grade for boldness… I think.     

Writing with a Partner

When a would-be screenwriter and a self-published novelist collaborate.

So, for a bit of context, this year my brother Chris Sergi and I wrote and self-published a book together called Adam and the Goat. A dark comedy about a young bachelor from London who eats a dodgy kebab only later to become supernaturally tethered to a sentient goat, who only he can see I might add. That’s the wild setup at least but this blog post is more about the collaborative process between brothers in different aspiring fields, who despite the ancient code of sibling rivalry, endeavoured to make a thing together. I doubt many would agree writing a book is as easy as pie by oneself but that’s not to say writing with a partner is any simpler. Rather than offer too much advice on the collaborative development, I’ll simply describe what our experience was like and it might just help others get a flavour for their own cooperative. I’m not a lecturer or certified educator of any kind, just a dude who likes to tell stories and if that helps someone in any shape or form then that’s just gravy!

About a year ago, my brother had just completed and self-published his first science fiction adventure novel titled Everscape: The Wings of Embra. It was a totally new experience for him as a completely self-taught writer with no prior qualifications or education but for the past decade had been slogging away at the keyboard, making an acquaintance with the expanding principles and trying realities of being a writer. I don’t like to give him too much credit, being brothers and all but I really do admire his tenacity and commitment to this world he is so eager to be a part of. Anyway, he caught the bug so to speak and it wasn’t too long before he threw the idea of a collaboration at me. I’ve always been a slow writer even in the short story/short film format and I personally felt this venture would do me wonders. I had never written to the extent he had and most of what I had written was more for the screen. Notwithstanding I saw this as an awesome challenge for the both of us but especially me because I’d never been involved in such a large undertaking.

I reckon it’s significant to note that throughout the whole progression of our book, my brother and I were living under the same roof. Now this comes with an exceptional number of pros and cons who anyone with brothers or sisters will understand. It helps that you and your writing partner have similar things in common but being blood related isn’t necessarily something that can help your project. Jokes aside, we are quite similar people in terms of interests, sense of humour and our general outlook on the universe and I truly believe this to be a positive. That isn’t to say two completely different people cannot bond or creatively join forces, this might even turn out better depending on your disposition. We both argued to almost no end at times but on occasions a grand idea rose from the scorched earth we left behind. One thing I would recommend if someone plans to write with a relative, is to act professional around them as much as you can, as if they are more of a colleague or associate. It’s good to be passionate and fight your corner like two adolescents with a belly full of blue smarties circa 1995 but never forget the endgame, the product you both strive towards. Now if you plan to partner up with perhaps an additional sibling, well, I can’t help you there I’m afraid. That potential conflict is your own to discover.

Chris and me… Not the Mitchell Brothers in their junior years.
Dad might have had a bald inferiority complex.

Communication, as in most aspects of life, is of paramount importance. Learn how to talk to each other, what to say and sometimes not what to say, but at least say something and often. Having known one another our whole lives gave us an advantage here but people have been known to meet up with complete strangers online for greater collaborations. Reddit.com is a perfect facilitator for specific online groups and societies and proposes a great way of finding likeminded individuals with the same passion. You’ll have to build up that rapport but with luck it’ll become fruitful in time and who knows, could lead to further prospects for the both of you.

Find and establish roles in the relationship. In my experience, it’s no good two people performing the same task. Once we both spent a few weeks bouncing around ideas, mapping out the plot and establishing the emotional journeys of our characters, we decided who would actually undergo the writing. Since he had already written one book from start to finish, my brother was more than capable and happy to take on this mammoth task, much to my relief. It isn’t that I didn’t want to carry it out, I just felt more confident giving him the honour of the first draft. If there was one thing I contributed to the most, it was the ideas department. Every union is going to be different obviously but we found a happy medium and stuck with it.

My background, if you can call it that comprises mostly of indie filmmaking and freelance videography and I’ve also worked a couple of entry level jobs in TV. Right now, I work in distribution for one of the biggest department stores in the UK, essentially grafting for a living but with a bit of training video production on the side to scratch that creative itch. The job is far from ground breaking but I do get a lot of freedom over the projects. The land of film and television is a colossal industry that I still don’t fully understand, yet still find myself wanting to get involved in the imaginative chaos. Screenwriting, as I mentioned earlier, is a potential career path I always think about and have done since compulsory education. Picture a fifteen-year-old kid, early hours of the morning, sitting at his desk under dim lamplight so not to irritate the rest of the household. He’s writing what he thinks is going to be the next Academy Award winning blockbuster only for his future self to read that same material and wonder what the fuck was he thinking. This is and has probably been the likely scenario for a lot of wishful or now successful writers I’m sure. A lot can be said for overconfidence at a young age as I truly believe growing from your mistakes is the best way to learn that your writing sucks. But we must persevere, eventually it might not suck as much.       

Now that I’ve waffled on about how my writing partner and I differ in experience, I have to add a bit about our professional chemistry. Throughout the duration, there were often times where I might overdo it in the dialogue department for example. My ideas for dramatic quips wouldn’t always translate well to the novel format. I could never seem to get the hang of the ‘third person limited’ rules and this would always irritate Chris. I can’t help but picture every scene like a movie sequence. I never thought it mattered whose point of view we focused on, or which character can see what at any given time. Visualising the book in a rectangular frame, jumping from scene to scene and showing the reader whatever I wanted them to see regardless of the protagonist’s perspective, was a difficult habit to shake admittedly. The rules took me a while to figure out but ultimately the healthy balance of filmmaking and literature was realised. And so, the rough draft was forged!  

On the set of ‘Whole’
A short horror I wrote and codirected

From this point we had a pretty solid idea of the objectives, obstacles, emotional arcs, stakes and effects on plot for each scene. The book was mapped as best we could and ready for fleshing out on the hard trek ahead. As my brother would write each chapter, I would review it, make annotations, reluctantly offer my opinion on the form and then try my absolute best to inject some adult humour into the mix. It is a dark comedy after all. I used to perform this mission after I dragged myself to the gym. I figured my head would be clear after I killed myself on the treadmill for a bit and working on the book might take my mind off the exhaustion. Most of the time, this worked for me.

Chris has always been quick and mostly efficient when getting words down on paper and that’s a quality that I would recommend at least one member of the duo possess. Even if the text is gibberish, you’ll have something to move around, play with and mould into something palpable eventually. This system of ours took about six months in total to complete and this was with a coarse schedule that we stuck to for the most part. When you both work actual full-time jobs for a living, time management is a necessity if you seriously want to get anywhere.    

By the end of draft one, we had booked a critique with a novel editor named Ellen Brock. This type of edit covered an array of advice on our style, plot, characterisation, arcs, marketability and age appropriateness. Not to mention the crappy stuff like plot holes, inconsistencies, point of view issues and ‘anything else that could hurt your odds of publishing success, of which thankfully there wasn’t a lot of in our case. We ended up with a really comprehensive document that ultimately led to the final draft but If you really want to fork out the cash, most editors will offer an even thorough report. It’s not a cheap luxury, to have an expert dissect your work to this extent but for a first-time writer like me I could not recommend it enough. We ended up paying roughly £400 but with two of us fitting the bill, it put less strain on our wallets. Just another benefit of partnering up.       

Once we took Ellen’s advice for near gospel, the next draft was underway. Same process as before, we discussed the story beats, arc and underlying message etc. Chris would commence writing each newly drafted chapter followed by my editorial. Rinse and repeat until unanimous content between both parties is accomplished! The redrafting process took about three months and the next laborious task on the list was to go over every sentence with a fine-tooth comb. A thorough table read, together and with lots of time given to do it. This didn’t take as long because the book had already gone through a vigorous refining process.  Now I would be terrible remiss if I did not mention that often my spelling is worth shit (that is perhaps a subject for another post) and so is my brother’s, I’m sure he’ll love me telling. Perhaps I exaggerate a little but it is a shame because I love words and if the English dictionary has anything to say about it, there is an absolute plethora of words to choose from these days. Chalk it down to self-diagnosed dyslexia, dependency on computers or just plain laziness, I don’t care to find out which. Regardless of this quality we retain, asking a close friend or relative (who is not completely inept at spelling and grammar) to check errors for you, is so very important and if you can get a few of them to do it, then that’s even better.

At this stage we focussed on the book’s illustrations and cover art while we waited for the checks. Other than glancing over the all but final draft for mistakes yourself, this was a constructive way to kill time. My brother has created his own little digital art style which wasn’t totally necessary for the chapter headings but we think worked wonders for the cover. If you are willing to put the effort in yourself, this is the best way to not commission a professional artist.   

All that was left to do, was compile all the elements into a complete, crisp and ironed draft ready to get out there. We decided to go with Amazon Books as our launching platform as quite frankly it’s the best means to promote a first-time self-published novelist. Plus, Chris had his first book already on the platform. They take a big cut of the sales but every book is printed to order. Paying a printing firm for a bulk order, only to find it pretty difficult to sell each unit later on, was a thought that weighed on me in the early days of ignorance. A lot of people prefer Kindle these days and that’s obviously something else Amazon accommodate. Lastly, you have to promote the bloody thing and that’s a whole other beast I’ve yet to slay.

If anybody can take any one chunk of advice away from this, it’s to identify and manage your resources. Self-publishing can be fickle even as a solo act and it is so important to obtain assets wherever possible, whether it is time based, favour based or money based. Snatch up those opportunities together and try not to kill each other in the process! Because after all, the only way from the bottom is up.

What would you do in this delicate situation? Would you try a different strategy when writing with a partner? Maybe you’ve had terrible experiences, maybe you’ve had great ones or at least know people who have, and if there is any vital info I might have missed in hindsight let’s talk about it.

Drop a comment!