Nail your father of the bride speech
In our eyes, the father of the bride speech is one of the wedding’s highlights.
As the father of the bride you’re the wedding’s warm up man, the person in charge of making everyone feel welcome and your daughter feel special. You have the power to get everyone in the room laughing & kick start the newlyweds’ union with a bang, or equally, bore everyone to tears with tales of your daughter’s flute playing skills in primary school.
Following a few key pieces of Speechy advice guarantees you’ll deliver a speech which might just create a lifelong memory.
Father of the bride speech etiquette
Don’t get tied down with traditional speech etiquette when you’re writing your father of the bride speech. As long as you’re polite and loving, no one really cares if you address them as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ (in fact it seems overly formal if you do).
The biggest trap fathers fall into is thinking they need to thank people. Actually that’s the groom’s job. That said, it pays to mention your daughter’s new in-laws and even if you’re separated, you should acknowledge the role the bride’s mother has had in her upbringing.
Do NOT get sucked into thanking your friends or family members who’ve travelled far. It’s not your day and, quite frankly, too many thank yous becomes boring. Remember the bridesmaids will be thanked by the groom (and maybe even the best man) so keep your gratitude succinct (and dance with them later).
Father of the bride speech structure
We like tearing up the rule book but knowing the basic structure of a father of the bride speech makes sense. Here’s the idea…
- Welcome all the guests and get them laughing straight away
- Tell some funny anecdotes from your daughter’s childhood (ideally illustrating her personality today)
- Pay tribute to the woman she now is. The good stuff, the lovely stuff, but most importantly, the funny
- Recount meeting the groom for the first time and how you’ve grown to love him and his family (it helps if there’s an element of truth in there but it’s not essential)
- You may want to offer some funny or heart-warming advice to the married couple. Nothing too profound or you’re at risk of sounding pompous.
- Conclude your speech with a toast to the married couple. Traditionally it’s to the ‘health and happiness of the happy couple’ but we can do better than that.
5 rules to writing a great father of the bride speech
Rule 1 Be Different
A heart-warming tribute to your daughter should be the focus of your speech but remember every bride is beautiful, kind and generally amaaazing. Cut the cliches and concentrate on what makes your daughter unique. Is she an indie chick, a library-lover, a technology fiend? Nailing her individual and quirky characteristics is key to delivering a great speech. Certainly don’t turn your daughter into a perfect princess. Whether she’s ditsy, gobby, obsessed with fake tan, people love her the way she is and it’s your chance to celebrate that.
Rule 2 Be Funny
Yes the expectation may be on the best man but all wedding speeches should make people laugh. Of course, being funny isn’t about finding good jokes on the internet (if only it was that easy) but rather making witty observations about your daughter and her relationships with her family and the groom. A good tip is to imagine her in a sit-com – what sort of character would she play? The high-powered career woman who can’t work the remote control? The fitness fanatic who jogs as she eats her toast? Have fun with her character.
Rule 3 Tell a story
Your speech needs to hook people in from the beginning, establish a theme and carry that through to an almighty climax. One of the fathers we worked with used the wedding venue as the inspiration for his theme. As his daughter was getting married in a theatre he recounted her ‘best dramatic performances’ – from the toddler tantrums to becoming a bridezilla. He went on to express his joy in meeting her groom and toasted their future with a standing ovation.
Rule 4 Less in More
You’re aiming for six minutes for a father of the bride speech (eight allowing for laughter and ad libs). Remember no one ever witnessed a wedding speech and said ‘if only it was longer’. Even if you feel you have a wealth of good material – be strict with yourself. Even Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was only 272 words long! Our best advice is once you write your first draft, edit it down to half the length. We promise it will make your speech a hundred times stronger.
Rule 5 Prepare to Deliver
A confident delivery is half the battle. Make sure your daughter has checked the acoustics of the venue and organised a mic if necessary (so many speeches are ruined simply because people can’t hear them). Try to memorise the speech but don’t be afraid to use notes on the day (your brain will be scrambled). Talk slower than feels natural – you’ll sound more assured. Remember everyone wants you to do well so make sure you smile. It’s scientifically proven to be infectious.
Father of the Bride Speech - Do's and Don'ts
Start writing your speech – Obvious but honestly, ideas will keep popping into your head once you start.
Get help– Exploit the family. Organise a catch up and think about all the funny things your daughter has done over the years. Feel free to mention the ‘family summit’ in the speech.
Feel free to use clever quotes – Ensure you credit the author or someone else will!
Toast something meaningful – Ideally it should reflect the personality of the newlyweds and the theme of your speech. One of the fathers of the bride we worked with wished his daughter and her husband ‘the passion of Burton and Taylor, the longevity of Elizabeth and Philip and the bank balance of Kanye and Kim’.
Practise your speech and film it on your phone – Watch it back, promise yourself you’ll do something about your paunch and spot where your speech can be improved.people do
Hint at any financial contribution you’ve made towards the wedding – May embarrass the newlyweds and it’s up to them to mention it.
Talk about your daughter’s exes – Again, that embarrassment thing. Even if you know your daughter would be cool with it, her husband might not be.
Resort to cliches – Really? You want to waste time telling us how little she slept as a newborn?
Ignore the feedback of your wife – It’s always worth testing your speech out on your wife but the important bit is, listen to her. If she doesn’t get a joke, don’t waste your time explaining it as you won’t be able to do that on the day.
Talk over laughter – You’ve worked hard for those laughs – don’t rush them. Always wait until your guests have settled down before continuing with your speech.
Father of the Bride Speech Help
Speechy is here to help fathers of the bride in need. As professional TV scriptwriters we’re programmed to entertain and get the best out of people. We sweat the hard stuff so you don’t have to.