Father of the Bride Speech Structure – What Your Daughter Actually Wants To Hear

There’s lots of advice on the perfect father of the bride speech structure – and some of it’s actually pretty good. But most of it’s written by blokes and hardly any of it is written from the point of view of the person who really matters – the daughters themselves!

Sure, a dad’s speech has to cater to lots of people; new in-laws, long-lost relatives, the groom’s mates from rugby etc – but it’s the bride who really counts. That’s why we asked our married friends to tell us what they loved most about their dad’s speech.

Take on board their surprising advice & work through our speech structure – and you’re guaranteed to do a grand job on the day.

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1. Say Hello

Don’t waffle. Introduce yourself if it’s a large wedding but crack on with it. Depending on the style of the wedding, there’s no need to address friends and family as ‘ladies and gentleman’.

The main aim is to get guests laughing within the first couple of lines. Guests are on edge till they know they’re in safe hands. A joke will reassure them of this.

But, and it’s a Kardashian sized but, the joke needs to be a good one. It can’t be one that you’ve cut and pasted from a template and it can’t be a ‘wedding joke’ that you’ve googled (even if you found it on the 18th page where no normal person dares to scroll).

The humour should reflect the wedding and its guests. If your daughter’s invited a load of hipsters, maybe it’s something simple like you ‘haven’t seen this many beards since the ZZ Top Farewell Tour’ (surely they’ve had one?). You’re looking for something inclusive that everyone can appreciate.

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2. Welcome Everyone

You’re the wedding warm up man and your job is to welcome all the guests.

Some dads take this too literally; studying the invite list and evaluating who’s worth a namecheck. The trouble with this is once you start mentioning certain people, others wonder why they’re not worthy. It’s especially dangerous if you start mentioning elderly family members without properly considering the groom’s side of the family (NB – even if your son-in-law says there’s no one of extra special significance, his mum might disagree).

The best advice is keep your welcome heartfelt but inclusive & concise. And of course, remember, it’s actually the groom’s job to thank people.

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3. Tell Everyone How Wonderful Your Daughter Is

The biggest mistake dads make is telling people what they already know. Guests don’t need to hear about your daughter’s career achievements or how dedicated she is to her hobbies, they want to get a better insight into what type of person she is. They also want a laugh.

Start with her childhood. Think about the classic anecdotes that are, not only humorous, but also reveal a bit of her character. Certainly include the stories that prove she’s always been caring or ambitious (or whatever unique qualities your daughter may possess) but be sure to include a few ‘naughty’ stories too. Dads are allowed to be sentimental and soppy but you never want to look pompous and you don’t want to be dull.

Of course, as well as her childhood, you need to talk about the woman she is today. Rather than just using adjectives and generic bridal clichés, think of a good story that illustrates her character. Remember, prove don’t tell.

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4. Welcome the Groom to the Family

Feel free to have fun with your initial scepticism of the groom (though this is easier to pull off if you’re no longer sceptical!) but quickly move on to your wholehearted approval.

Avoid the usual platitudes and try to pay a tribute to his unique character. Is he a tech-nerd, a deluded West Brom fan or a closet crossword enthusiast? Find something fun to play with.

As well as appreciating what the groom has brought to your daughter’s life, pinpoint the areas that you’ve bonded over too… even if it’s just a mutual appreciation of malt whiskey.

Ensure your wife is included in your endorsement of the groom too.

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5. Sum Up a Lifetime of Love

Yes, we know it’s easy for us to say but how exactly do you sum up a lifetime of love in less than 100 words?

To reassure you, no one expects Byron and no wants wants over-the-top declarations of fatherly devotion. Your daughter just wants to know that she’s an extra special person in your life and, despite her getting married, she’s got lifetime membership in your heart. She wants to know you appreciate her for the women she is today and the memories you’ve already shared . She wants to know that you approve of her bloke and that you hope to make more memories with him now included in your family.

Of course, sometimes you’ll find someone is much better at saying the things you want to say and you may find our father of the bride quotes post helpful. If you can use a quote that means something to you both then that will add something special. Think of the books you used to read together, or the songs you’ve bonded over and see if that inspires the perfect words.

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6. Give a Heartfelt Toast

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. It doesn’t need to be overly poetic – something simple like toasting ‘a lifetime of dancing on tables’ always works.

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Need more help? Check out our Father of the Bride Speech Advice for plenty more insights.

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