Where Did the Best Man Speech Originate From?

By | January 16, 2018

Many years ago, in pre-medieval times, the groom’s best man stood beside the bride at the altar. He assumed his position at the side of the bride as protection throughout the wedding ceremony. What was the meaning behind the protection? Is it not the best mans’ job just to throw a huge bachelors party, and say a few kind words at the reception?

The best man was traditionally a friend of the groom, and asked by the groom to be the chief guardian of the bride during the time preceding the wedding. He in turn would appoint mutual friends to help with the duty of protecting the bride and seeing to it that she got to the wedding on time and unscathed. This is the origin of the best man and groomsmen, or traditionally called “The brides knights”.

Of course, scandal wasn’t uncommon in the Anglo-Saxon days of Great Britain. And on occasion it has been told that the Best Man with the assistance of his groomsmen would kidnap the bride. Some could interpret this as being an act of selfishness or unkind, others might detail a different story. Most marriages in the dark ages were still arranged and courtship was granted by the father of the bride to better the family status. Thus, potential suitors would be pitted against each other; similar to applying for a job. Your letter to the father would outline your traits, qualities and suitability to wed his daughter.

The daughters were still given a lot of freedom and allowed to marry in most instances where they too consented. But in the cases where the parents did not approve, they would see their daughter kidnapped by the groomsmen and guarded until married.

Of course the family would take action and try to dispel the marriage, even whilst the two delinquents were at the altar! Hence you will find that the Groom would stand to the right of the bride at the altar so his sword could be drawn quickly to defend his position in marriage. And the best man would guard the bride by standing on the brides other side until the vows had been completed.

Following the wedding is usually the reception, where you have the chance to say a few words and toast the bride and groom. This can be a great opportunity to be flawlessly funny, and memorable, and give the groom the best possible send off. Your speech doesn’t need to be long, only 3 to 5 minutes is a good time frame, but you must be prepared, so it pays not to leave this important task to the last minute.

Being the best man requires some skill! especially when delivering the best man speech.


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