Yesterday my sister got married and, in accordance with Hindu tradition, I was the best man. This speech was probably the most important and difficult task I have ever done and will probably never have to do it again. And it was a success in that I received the laughs where I wanted them and everyone said how good it was. Even my Dad said so, without his added criticism. As far as I could tell, everyone loved it. I would therefore like to share it you, with the bride and groom’s deleted for their privacy. Hopefully it could inspire future best men’s speeches, just as I was helped by listening to others.
Ladies and gentleman, family and friends, thank you for being patient as you waited for the highlight of the evening: the best man speech.
For the benefit of those who don’t know me, I am Pravin. As the (bride)’s brother I have the traditional Hindu honour of being the best man. I have no other qualification for the role but 30-odd years of brotherly love. So at this point I would like to thank our parents for not having any more daughters.
Anyway, if tradition says that I am the BEST mane, who am I to argue with tradition?
What is the purpose of the best man’s speech?
Having listened to my fair share of best man speeches in my life, I was certain of what it was not. That meant it had to be mildly humourous, if possible, without embarrassing the bride and groom, while distilling some wisdom which hopefully and could use. Then I remembered that, being single, I was perhaps not the most suitable person to give advice on marriage.
I would like to thank the number of philosophers in this room who have provided advice on what makes a good marriage. The consensus is that a good marriage is about give and take, understanding each other and a fair share of allowing things to go in one ear and out the other.
After 30 odd years, I could probably tell a thing or two about living with (bride). However, the French philosopher Voltaire describes marriage as an adventure, so why would I want to spoil that?
Anyway, according to the German philosopher Nietzsche, what is most important is someone to talk to along the way. Since and both like the x factor, sport, similar type of movies and going to the temple, and from my own observation, I doubt talking will be a problem but, (groom), if you want to take a break, (bride) can make up the difference.
Socrates has some advice for (bride). If a man finds a good wife, he’ll be happy; if he finds a bad one, he’ll be a philosopher. I am not entirely sure what Socrates meant but his wife is recorded as being a bit of anag. However, I am not suggesting that (bride) is like that.
To toast my sister and brother-in-law, I turn to this famous, slightly-amended poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, that one day they can look back and see it as reflection of their marriage.
How do I love you? Let me count the ways
I love you to the depth and the breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love you to the level of every day’s most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love you freely, as men strive for right.
I love you purely, as they turn from praise.
I love you with the passion put to use in my old griefs, with my childhood’s faith.
I love you with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints!
I love you with the breadth,
Smiles, tears, of all my life;
and, if Destiny chooses, I shall but love you better after death.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please stand and raise your glasses to Mr and Mrs …, for the rest of your lives together and for eternity.