Final Fridays with Cousin Mars: The Best Man Toast

Cousin Mars explains why the "BEST MAN TOAST" is kind of a big deal.

Thus far in my life, I’ve had the opportunity to give only one Best Man speech. The speech was for a friend I have known all but four years of my life. It was an honor that I didn’t take lightly. Although I valued the occasion, it was my belief that I would be able to freestyle this highly anticipated wedding reception moment. There wasn’t much that I didn’t know about the newly married man. Why would I need to script such a personal moment? Well, I can honestly say considering all things – that it may have been my least favorite toast.

Prior to and since then I have been to freestyle speeches what Kendrick Lamar has recently been to Hip Hop. I was and have been what LeBron has recently been to the NBA. I was the Mike Phelps of on the fly speeches. But due to the emotion surrounding the aforementioned toast and all that I wanted to include, I can admit that it was sub par – at least per my standards. I’ll now confess that the next opportunity to share such sentimental feelings will be seized. From the first time I watched the movie The Wood I remember finding the toast given by Omar Epps (Mike) to be my favorite scene. CORRECTION – my favorite scene only behind any scene including Sanaa Lathan. Whew…I almost made a boo boo.

At the risk of being over dramatic, I want to say the traditional Best Man toast is a unique moment. Think about it. It is one of the few instances that allow a man – regardless of age, race or muscular build – to be tough, super sensitive, and emotional in front of a crowd comprised of complete strangers, close friends, and friends of friends. And guess what…All of this usually occurs within 2-3 minutes. As a person with a few extremely close friends, I am highly anticipating any toast given on the day I walk the plank (just kidding). I am already expecting several embarrassing stories to be told. As payback for being a lifelong prankster, I am also certain to have a couple of memories that I wish I could forget.

By this point in the post you should have recognized it is different from past Final Fridays with Cousin Mars. I hope to share a few little known facts. Ladies – please know that the male members of the Bridal Party aren’t allowed to just skate through the wedding planning process free of stress. The individual(s) bestowed with the privilege of sharing a touching moment on the big stage probably has as much anxiety as the groom-to-be in the days leading to the BIG ONE. It is also worth mentioning that it is no longer safe to assume the traditional Best Man speech will be given by a man. Many women are accepting the honor of standing beside their Y chromosome buddies.

What memories do you have of past Best Man toasts? What were your thoughts of the speech given in the video clip? I hope I didn’t put any added pressure on anyone preparing to give a speech/toasts in the upcoming months.


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  1. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    I enjoyed this post, Mars. I shared the same clip from The Wood on FB recently. I think I slept on the depth of that scene when I first saw the film (blame it on age/lack of wisdom) but now I so appreciate viewing young Black men with layers on the big screen. Omar’s character allowed himself to be vulnerable and demonstrated such sincerity in his toast. As I’m learning first hand, friendships are like any other relationship. They have highs and lows that aren’t always easy to navigate. I have now gained even more perspective about best man toasts as a result of your post. Thanks, cuz. ;-)

  2. Nice to read a post like this from a dude. I know what movie I’ll be watching this weekend. Shucks, I might do a marathon and watch The Wood, The Best Man, Brown Sugar AND Love Jones! LMBO

  3. My husband is schedule to be the best man at his friend’s wedding in October. He recently began stressing his speech. Only because of him do I realize the thought that can go into these speeches. I don’t know if he’ll be able to make it to the wedding date without exploding from stress.

  4. Avatar Gerald M. says:

    I had to give a best man speech a while back and I actually did a combination of improvising and planning it out. I had 4 or 5 points I specifically wanted to make and I improvised off of each of those afterwards. The best of both worlds and the speech was really well received. It’s definitely not as easy as they make it out to be in the movies though. lol

  5. Avatar Spikesdtr says:

    Who knew the brothers took this role so seriously? I’m impressed because expressing emotion/affection for a great friend is truly deep. Everyone relishes the fact that they’re; loved, appreciated, respected, valued. Those sentiments expressed by your “ace boon …” are priceless. I hope your toast is all you have lived up to.

  6. Avatar Anonymous says:

    always nice to hear and see men open up. i enjoyed this post mars

  7. Very Interesting post.. There’s alot of pressure that comes with seizing the moment as a best man. I had to speak @ my cousins reception, and thought it would b a piece of cake. When u know someone so well it does seem like it would b easy to freestyle ur speech. I was good till I looked up and all eyes were on me. I felt like MLK in DC with only mayb 75 ppl in the room. LOL!! I wanted to give some history and also make folks laugh to keep things interesting. I was nervous but all thought I did a good job. It wasnt till I sat down that I realize I should have jotted things down or even practice in the mirror. Lol!! I forgot way too much.. I believe with only having 3 minutes to talk u have to jot things down or have replayed it a hundred times in ur mind.. Can’t press replay.. Lol!! Most ppl will smile @ u if it’s heart felt, and expecially when u tell a few secrets.. Lol!!

  8. Mars just make sure your best man doesn’t spend too much time at the bar b4 his toast! Drunk speeches at weddings can go very wrong very fast!

  9. Enjoyed your post Mars, hope you are not disappointed with your best man toast.

  10. Very cool post Mars. No pressure for the men out there honored enough to be summoned by a friend to share at their wedding. My advice is it’s just a time to be private in public. When we men get together, and get emotional (surprise ladies, we do it all the time), we give those speeches all night long. Fellas, you know those, “I love you man!” “You are my brother for real!” convos. Normally, just for the crew, but it’s time to do it in front of the extended family. Good luck!!!

  11. Thanks for showing this heartfelt post so much love, y’all!

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