Making you dance until your feet bleed since 2005

Dear best man

Dear Best Man (Part 1)

An open letter to the best man who’s wondering what to say during his toast.

by DJ Chris

I don’t even know why I’m the Best Man, there must’ve been no one else available.

It is widely understood that straight white men (the social group to which I belong) have an extremely difficult time expressing what’s in their hearts, even to those who are closest to them. So it should be no surprise that as a wedding deejay, I often see a Best Man doing his best to avoid expressing his feelings into a microphone for up to ten minutes, which is five minutes too long.

Best Man, I want to be very clear with you. For your toast, it is required that you share what’s in your heart with a room full of people. I’m sorry but there’s no good way around it. This is a big part of your job. You can pretend it’s not, Best Man, but it is. It is perhaps the hardest part of your job.

First, acknowledge that you will (most likely) have a patient and receptive audience who just experienced a sacred human ritual and may be pretty lit after cocktail hour. Side note, just because many people in your audience may be drunk does not mean that they won’t care about what you have to say or receive what you have to transmit. Your audience is the bride’s Grandma, the groom’s parents, the bride’s 14-year-old sister, your friends and relatives, and strangers from all different walks of life. What do you have in common with these 60 or 250 people? You’re all humans who do human things. You all have varied connections to the married couple, but one thing is for sure, Best Man! You have been tapped to embody with your words, your voice, and your whole body why you are THE Best Man.

Tonight the groom gets to choose who is #1 Man and it is you!

I remember finding Chad [the groom] passed out next to a dumpster not that long ago.

You must choose if you want to kill the vibe, neutralize it, or elevate the atmosphere! I’ll tell you what a vibe killing toast is like. It is overly anecdotal (a lil’ bit goes a long way). It feels too much like a roast or hazing (again, a lil’ bit goes a long way). And it includes the line, “I’m glad your wife will be there to take of you”.

Perhaps a bachelor party-type setting may be the best place for this kind of toast!

A neutralizing toast is a real brief, somewhat generic bunch of words that will leave your audience saying to themselves, “I guess that was a toast” or “He did just fine with that”. If you want to start your toast with how you two met at a Weird Al concert and then bonded over first-person shooter video games, fine, but then take us deeper! Do you love the groom? If so, why? If you can’t admit it publicly, can you think of a different way to say the same thing?

At this point you must be saying, “DJ Chris, I want to elevate the atmosphere of my blood-brother’s wedding! How do I do it?”

Well, I’m real glad to hear that, Best Man. However, I don’t have answers like I got questions!

  • Are you excited about this marriage? If so, why?
  • What are some interesting experiences you’ve had with the bride and groom over the years?
  • What about those experiences made your friendship grow?
  • Can you workshop your toast with women and men in your life who know and love you?

Ponder these questions, Best Man, and start your first draft! Until next time!

Featured image taken by Jeremy Lawson Photo.

If a Toast & Jam event is for you, you should totally