Who says that the best man for the job is the best man -- or even a man at all? This time, take some advice from a woman, besides it's the bride you need to impress and who knows better about what a bride wants to hear more than another woman?
One to Two weeks before:
Write your speech. This is actually the hard part ... start by introducing yourself -- remember not everyone at the wedding will know who you are -- and then tell a funny or touching story about the bride and groom. Something that illustrates the couple's personality and what makes their bond so special. The key words here are about the bride and groom, this isn't the time to tell stories about you and the groom so please, no spring break tales! Finally, close with a toast to the couple's future. Again, and this bares repeating, leave the funny stories about the groom for reminiscing with your buddies at the reception.
Next, A few days before
A few days before:
Rehearse your speech (and then rehearse it again) and trim it down to one to two minutes. Memorize key words not word for word or it will sound scripted. If you remember the key words you'll easily be able to get through the rest by sounding natural as it will be all your true feelings and it will sound slightly informal which equals more personal. Remember, it's really only going to be a witty or as funny as you usually are. This is not the night to try and be someone else.
One hour before:
Avoid the booze. Who doesn't think that a few drinks will help keep away the nerves but the best way to stay calm is to know that you're prepared. Instead, try this: Have a sip of orange or apple juice a few minutes before your big debut -- a bit of sugar counteracts the jitters you may be feeling.
One second before:
Smile! If you look genuinely happy, everyone will forgive a mistake because they'll know that your words are from the heart. That being said, this is not the time to make a mistake!
For another take on writing a great toast, see Tips for the best man on writing a wedding toast