How to Write the Perfect Father of the Bride Speech
Published date: 27th July 2020
Traditionally the father of the bride is the first to speak at a wedding and so unless you’re a seasoned speech giver, it can feel like a daunting task.
Add to that the fact that alongside walking your daughter down the aisle it’ll probably be one of the proudest moments of your life and suddenly writing this special speech seems almost impossible.
Just how do you sum up your feelings in a few hundred words?
The good news is that father of the bride speeches are meant to be heart-warming and full of emotion, so no-one is expecting you to give a performance to rival a stand-up comedian. That said, no-one wants to sit in awkward silence while the father regales countless stories of the bride as a baby.
It’s important to get the tone and content of this much-anticipated wedding speech exactly right to ensure both your daughter and all the guests find it entertaining, uplifting, touching, and most importantly not at all embarrassing!
If you’ve got no idea where to start when it comes to writing a fantastic father of the bride speech, we’ve got some top tips and dos and don’ts to help you put pen to paper and create a standout wedding speech that your daughter will never forget.
Father Of The Bride Speech Template
While you’ll want your wedding speech to be completely unique, it can help to follow a tried and tested template when you start to write and then let the original ideas start to flow from there…
1. Introduce yourself and welcome all the guests to the special day (ask the bride for any special mentions she might want to include here like friends who have travelled from overseas).
2. Talk about the bride – how proud you are of her achievements etc. and also provide funny (but not embarrassing) anecdotes about her as a little girl that are relevant to who she is today.
3. Pay tribute to the woman she has become. Talk about her job or anything she does that makes you proud now as well as any relevant stories about her as an adult.
4. Talk about how the bride met her new spouse and any funny stories from when you first met him or her. For example, is he/she normally full of bravado but was nervous as hell asking you if he/she could marry your daughter? Talk about the groom (or other bride) and their family and how happy you are to have them join your family.
5. Give some advice on marriage (best not to if you’ve been divorced 4 times, although you could joke about this!), or just some general advice about life. Perhaps you were told something on your wedding day that you’ve always remembered and want to pass on.
6. Raise a toast to the happy couple. Try and make this as personalised as possible and unique to the couple. You could just toast their happy marriage or come up with a list of a few specific wishes that you want the guests to toast to.
Father Of The Bride Speech Do's and Don'ts
Do Ask For Help
Before you even think about writing your first draft, it can really help to have a brainstorm with a few key people. Ask the bride’s mother, any siblings, or really close family to come together to reminisce about the bride, as they may remember some absolutely hilarious or key stories that you’ve forgotten. You can go back and forth to this family group while writing too for extra details and clarification on facts, plus it’ll help you feel a lot less pressure than you would if you were going solo.
Do Focus on a Good Introduction
As you’re opening the speeches section of the wedding, it’s important not to just go straight into your speech at 100mph and instead to introduce yourself. While most people in the room will know who you are, there may be a few who don’t.
Plus, it’s a nice easy way to confidently ease yourself into public speaking. Try not to sound too robotic by just saying your name and that you’re the bride’s dad! Think of a more heartfelt way to say you’re her father.
You can also really quickly put wedding guests at ease by making them laugh. It doesn’t have to be a silly gag or a hilarious joke, but just something cute and quirky about the bride or perhaps an observation about the day that can really help get the ball rolling.
Don’t Spend Ages Thanking People
The father of the bride speech is not the time to go through everyone that needs thanking – that’s the groom’s job and you can be sure that if you go down this route that you’ll massively wrong-foot the groom and make his speech rather difficult to deliver without major repetition.
Confine your thanks to a general one – simply thank everyone for coming to the wedding and watching the proudest moment of your life as your daughter gets married.
Do Use Clever Quotes
If it feels suitable for your speech, you can use famous quotes to get your point across and provide a bit of pace to the delivery. Some fathers like to open with a quote from someone famous and use it as a way to introduce an overarching theme that’ll carry on through the speech.
If you’re known for being a showman or a bit of a character, a dramatically-delivered quote can get the guests laughing straightway. If not, find a quote that sums up exactly how you feel about the bride and use it instead of your own words if you can’t quite get the sentiment right.
Don’t Embarrass Your Daughter!
There’s a fine line between a funny and sweet anecdote and one that’ll make your guests cringe.
You don’t want to make anyone, especially the bride, feel uncomfortable, so stick to stories that are heartfelt and meaningful rather than too graphic. No-one needs to hear that she wet the bed until she was 11!
You can still take the mickey out of her though, but in a much more charming way.
Choose stories that are relevant to who she is today. Perhaps she was obsessed with animals from the moment she could talk and brought all manner of horrible bugs into your house – now she’s a vet it all makes sense.
Maybe she was the clumsiest little girl you’ve ever known so it’s incredible that she’s now a successful dancer.
Perhaps she had a crazy imagination that got her into all sorts of trouble (insert funny anecdotes here), but she’s now managed to harness it into a successful career as a novelist.
Do Make Your Speech Different
When talking about your daughter and how much you love her it’s important to avoid clichés and words that could apply to any bride.
We’re talking about “beautiful”, “amazing”, “kind” etc.
Think about what makes her who she is and celebrate these traits.
Remember no-one is perfect, and just because it’s her wedding day doesn’t mean you have to make her sound like the ideal woman. The guests want to hear about all the good bits as well as the slightly less so, as it’s much more real and will represent the person they know and love.
Don’t Mention any Exes!
This is a key one that shouldn’t be broken – DO NOT mention any exes. No-one wants to remember a time when the happy couple wasn’t together or imagine the bride with another partner so just don’t go there, even if there’s a funny anecdote! It’s the quickest way to alienate the new in-law to the family.
Do Talk About Her New Husband or Wife
On the other hand, not mentioning your new son-in-law or daughter-in-law in your wedding speech is almost as bad as the groom forgetting to mention his new
wife in his wedding speech. While the father of the bride speech is predominantly about your daughter, you have to dedicate at least a sentence or two to her chosen partner.
Make sure to say how happy you are that the bride met their partner and how much happiness he/she clearly brings into her life.
You can talk about what your impressions were the first time you met him/her and how your relationship has grown or include funny stories about the early years of their relationship.
Do mention the bride’s mother and new in-laws
It’s important not to single-handedly take credit for your amazing daughter in your speech (unless of course, you raised her all alone).
Spend time talking about any good traits she has inherited from her mother and how special their relationship is. Even if you’re divorced from her mother, a line or two acknowledging her part in your child’s life will be very well appreciated.
Do Impart Wisdom for the Newlyweds
Once you’ve run out of anecdotes and have said all the beautiful words about how you feel, it’s time to impart some advice.
This can go one of two ways.
Perhaps you’ve had a successful and long marriage and therefore you can draw inspiration from both the wonderful and hard times to pass on some key bits of advice. If you’re known for being a bit hapless when it comes to marriages and relationships you can make this section funny and tell the couple not to do anything you did!
If this is the case you can also always ask other successfully married couples from within the guests for their advice before the big day and then impart this. Your daughter will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to, to ensure that you had something meaningful to pass on to her at such a huge stage in her life.
Don’t Make It About You
Remember this speech is meant to be about your daughter and the person she is marrying today.
If once you’ve written the speech and are reading through it and you find yourself repeatedly saying “I” or “me” more than “she” or “her”, then chances are you’ve made the speech too much about you.
Yes, the anecdotes are your stories to tell, but they should focus on your daughter and why they are relevant to who she is today rather than how they made you feel or how they impacted you.
Do End With a Toast
As the first speechmaker, you can’t just tail off.
A strong end is key to the overall success of the speech and helps draw a line under your words and the start of the next speech.
So, make sure you have a really good finishing sentence, followed by a clear call to the guests to stand and toast. You need to make sure the guests know exactly what you want them to do otherwise you’ll end up with a half-hearted end with some standing up and some not and a mish-mash of words. Clearly state the words you want them to toast with and invite the guests to stand to ensure a resounding toast!
Now all that’s left to do is practice reading out your father of the bride speech, in a confident – and slow – manner and make sure you smile while doing it.
It can also be a really good idea to ask your wife or partner to read through the draft speech too. Just to make sure you’ve remembered the anecdotes properly (we’re all prone to the odd embellishment!) and also to check that you’re not veering off into embarrassing territory.