Although modern weddings are far more relaxed in general, it is still very important that you discuss with the Bride and Groom the format of your speech before you start to prepare it.

The speech structure sample shown below will (in most cases) be suitable, but base your speech on input from the Bride and Groom as well. Be aware that this is simply a guide - it is most certainly not a set of rules to be strictly adhered to. Some sections should be considered as mandatory, such as "Opening the Speech" and "Proposing a Toast", whilst others are not and you can use the couple's input to guide you.

Opening the Speech
Introduce yourself for those that do not know you, and mention your relationship with the Groom - possibly with a short anecdote. If you start off confidently, you will have the full attention of the guests.

Thanking People
The Bride and Groom should be able to give you a short list of key participants to thank, such as friends and family that have assisted with the preparations, or anyone who has helped make the day special for the couple.

Nail the Groom
Tell the guests that you have some interesting stories about the Groom to follow later. You can hint at anything that the Groom doesn't actually want known - but be careful. This is to embarrass the Groom in a fun way - not to humiliate him. The stories don't have to be told, just the threat should be enough.

Congratulate the Couple
Make it sincere and keep it brief. The couple have already been congratulated non-stop since leaving the ceremony venue. Nonetheless you will also want to formally congratulate them, so this is your opportunity.

Compliment the Bride
Remember this is her big day so keep it sincere. There is no reason why you can't have a little dig at the Groom, though! For instance you could mention how lovely she looks and how surprised everyone is at her agreeing to marry the Groom.

Add a bit of Humour
Maybe a story about the Groom, recalling some of the antics that you both got up to in the past. You can also recall some stories here about the Bride and Groom's relationship, including how they met.

Get serious
This is the part where you can add some personal sincerity. You could mention how proud you are to be the Best Man, include some praise for the Groom and perhaps mention your relationship.

Offer some advice
You can add your own thoughts on marriage to both the Bride and Groom. Typically this would be light-hearted and humorous, but can also be sincere.

Read the messages
Read some messages from absentees, apologies etc. Don't forget to include at least one humorous fake message.

Close the speech
It's time to wind up your speech. You could mention how relieved you are that it is nearly over and reiterate some thanks and how proud you are. Also if there are any announcements that need to be made then make them now.

Propose a toast
Finish with a toast to the Bride and Groom.

If you include something from most of these sections, you can be sure of giving a Best Man speech that is correct in regard to etiquette. Remember, though, to research properly to ensure you set the correct tone. The Groom and your friends may think it's funny if you mention some of the skeletons in his closet, but some of the other guests may not!