It really depends on a lot of things.
A few things to consider:
- What is your relationship with your brother?
- What is your relationship with his wife to be?
- What is the “mood” you want to set?
- What do you want your brother to remember a year from now?
You are the best man. Your primary concern is the groom. Your toast is FOR him. Everything you do at that wedding should be to honor him.
HOW you go about honoring him depends entirely on your relationship with him. Maybe a good chiding and joking about the past and giving him a hard time is a way to honor him. In most cases though, I don’t think that is the best way.
A year from now, when he’s looking back on his wedding day, do you want him to remember that you treated it like every other day? Or do you want him to be proud of his choice of a best man and remember the honor you showed him that day?
Again, it all comes down to how you relate to him. My older brother was my best man. He showed me tremendous honor by congratulating me on the conduct of my life up to that point, for overcoming some obstacles, etc. He brought up some humerous memories that were not demeaning, though slightly embarassing. He then greeted my future wife into our family and commended me to be as good a husband as I was a brother.
Again, that type of speech was honoring to ME. That may not be the same for YOUR brother.
I’d recommend keeping it clean also. Most weddings are all-ages, all-generation deals. I’d keep the language and story aspect of the speech clean. It’s one thing to embarass him, and an entirely different thing to dishonor him.
This will be a big day for him. Keep that in mind. By all means, celebrate his wedding with a few drinks… just don’t be the bestman who I saw at a wedding I catered once:
First of all, the bartender was mixing them exceptionally stiff. And the bar was completely open.
The bestman came by at one point while I was checking on some of the hotplates… he grabbed some slices of beef with his fingers, dipped it by hand into the gravy trough, ate it, licked his fingers, then shook them off in the gravy… reached for more meat, repeat… a few times.
Later he was dancing on top of a pool slide with a bottle of something in his hands. He slipped, slid off into the pool, the bottle shattered on the side of the pool and if there weren’t so many people around, he probably would have drowned.
Don’t be that guy.
Wow… that’s a lot more than I meant to say. haha… oh well, sorry for the overkill.