Your father of the bride speech

The father of the bride speech is one of the wedding’s highlights but it’s a daunting honour. Entertaining a room full of people and summing up a lifetime of love is no mean feat. No wonder so many poor dads resort to cliches, lame wedding gags and talking about their daughter as a baby (speech tip: all babies are the same, they don’t sleep much and poo a lot).

As ex-BBC scriptwriters, the Speechy team know how to entertain an audience, and as parents ourselves, we understand why this speech matters. We’ve written this guide so you know the speech mistakes to avoid, and how you can transform your speech into something a little less ordinary. It’s a cheat-sheet to creating a lifelong memory!

Of course, if you’re looking for a bit more hand-holding, check out our father of the bride template or bespoke speech writing service. Yes, we can do the hard work for you!

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Father of the bride speech etiquette

THE FIRST RULE – Don’t get tied down with traditional speech etiquette. Your job is simply to welcome the guests, pay a heartfelt tribute to your daughter and welcome your son-in-law to the family. Don’t feel you need to go ‘posh’. As long as you’re polite and loving, no one really cares if you address them as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ (in fact, depending on the wedding, it may seem overly formal). 

THE BIG TRAP – 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.

DON’T STEAL THE GROOM’S THUNDER – 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).

THE FULL LOW-DOWN – If you want to get a sense of what’s being covered by the other speakers, read the Ultimate Etiquette Guide on Confetti

Father of the bride speech structure

All speeches should be unique and tailored to your daughter’s individual story, however it’s still worth knowing the standard structure of a father of the bride speech.

  1. Welcome all the guests and get them laughing straight away
  2. Tell some funny anecdotes from your daughter’s childhood (ideally illustrating her personality today). Remember a loving tribute also involves taking the mick!
  3. Pay tribute to the woman she now is. The good stuff, the lovely stuff, but most importantly, the funny stuff. 
  4. 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)
  5. You may want to offer some funny or heart-warming advice to the married couple.
  6. Conclude your speech with a toast to the married couple. Traditionally it’s to the health and happiness of the happy couple’ but try to make it a bit more interesting than that – something that genuinely reflects the character of the couple and echos the themes of your speech.

5 rules to writing a great father of the bride speech

Father of the Bride Speech - Do's and Don'ts

DO

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.

Use clever quotes – Ensure you credit the author or someone else will! Check out our Quote Inspiration guide. 

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.

DON'T

Hint at any financial contribution you’ve made towards the wedding – Yes it seems dads are still paying a fair whack for their offspring getting hitched (check out the average parent contribution) but that’s no excuse for moaning about it publicly. 

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.

A Bit About Speechy

The Speechy team includes James, Heidi, Roger and Claire. Between us, we’ve been included in the Edinburgh TV Festival’s ‘Ones to Watch’ and featured in the BBC Hotlist. During our telly careers, we’ve  worked with people such as Richard Hammond, Sharon Osbourne, Dan Snow, David Mitchell and Mel Geidroyc. Get us!

These days we’re the go-to experts for wedding speech advice – featuring in wedding bibles such as Rock n Roll Bride or Wedding Ideas Mag, or more mainstream media such as Radio 1 and Radio 2. Even Eamonn Holmes has wanted our advice on how to deliver a speech at his son’s wedding!

Of course, we love helping dads write amazing speeches  and we still get excited when they tell us we’ve added a special moment to their daughter’s day.

Father of the Bride Speech Help

Click on ‘Read More’ to find out about each product or service, or simply ‘Add To Basket’ if you want to buy now. Contact us if you want a no-obligation natter about which service would suit you best.

  • Father of the Bride Template

    £39.99

    Speechy’s Father of the Bride Template is the ultimate DIY Speech Kit on the market. It will help you write a wonderful speech without you having to stress about it.

    It comes with a Content-Creator (guaranteed to extract brilliant material from even the most uninspired) and a choice of three speeches that our team have crafted for you to simply pick your favourite and then personalise.

    Fun, clever and guaranteed to put a smile on your daughter’s face.

    Further details below. Enjoy!

  • Bespoke Speech

    £395.00

    Commission the Speechy wordsmiths to craft a bespoke (and rather brilliant) wedding speech for you. 

    Buy today and we’ll get the ball rolling.

    Please ensure you’ve booked your speech into our calendar before purchasing. Call us on 07971 225 245 if you haven’t already.

    More details below.

  • Speech Review Service

    £150.00

    Purchase a Wedding Speech Review and the Speechy wordsmiths will ensure it’s a speech to remember for all the right reasons. 

    Once purchased, simply upload your speech when prompted and our experts will ensure it passes all the etiquette and story-telling tests. We’ll also rewrite any sections that we feel are lacking and ensure your speech is one you can’t wait to deliver.

    Your ‘Reviewed Speech’ will be emailed to you within 48 hours of purchase.

    Further detail can be found below.

  • Delivery Masterclass

    £150.00

    Deliver Your Speech Like a Pro with our Speechy Delivery Masterclass

    Wedding speech delivery is just as important as writing a great speech. As ex BBC TV directors, we’re trained to get the best out of you and teach you the tricks of the presenting trade. 

    The Masterclass is a one-to-one Skype call with one of the Speechy team that will take between 45 and 60 mins. We’ve worked with numerous celebrities and countless comedians as part of our TV career helping them to get into their comfort zone and deliver the goods and, with a few simple tips, we guarantee you will too! 

    We’ll ask you to present your speech before giving you feedback & presenting tips, and then get keep on rehearsing it until we feel you’ve got it. You’ll inevitably see immediate an improvement but we’ll also send you a personalised email with everything you need practise and remember on the day. It’s basically The Cheat’s Guide to Nailing It. 

    Once purchased, we’ll be in touch to set up the Masterclass Skype call or you can call us in advance to check our available time-slots.

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