The traditional running order of wedding speeches typically involves the father of the bride presenting his speech first at the wedding reception, followed by the groom speech and the best man speech. In this order, the father of the bride speech is typically seen as the warm-up act.
The father of the bride speech usually begins by thanking the wedding guests for attending and acknowledging his daughter’s new parents-in-law, while welcoming his new son or daughter-in-law to the family.
It’s traditionally a speech that’s a bit more heartwarming rather than funny, like the best man speech. However, with a little effort, you can make sure your father of the bride speech and moment in the spotlight is something to be remembered.
The father of the bride’s wedding toast is one of the most highly anticipated speeches, and, likely, one you’ve been excited (or dreading) to give for a very long time. It is the moment that everyone knows to get their tissues out for, because it’s almost impossible not to shed a tear during a good father-of-the-bride speech. Now that the moment is growing closer and closer, it’s important to sit down and write a toast that not only you’re proud of, but that your daughter will remember for a lifetime.
While it might seem difficult to find the right words to express your sentiments, it’s those very emotions that are often the star of the show. So feel free to let those feelings flow through your speech, and watch as the crowd falls under your sentimental paternal spell. With that said, even the most eloquent dads can struggle with getting those words down on paper
Father-of-the-Bride Speech Template
Sometimes the easiest way to get the words down is to have an outline to work with so your thoughts can be well organized, and not a rambling stream of consciousness. Here are some key factors to include in the toast that should help you find your flow.
- Welcome the guests. Typically, the parents of the couple are the first to speak at either the rehearsal dinner or the wedding reception. If you’re the first toast-maker of the night, this would be the time to welcome all of the guests to the reception, or whichever event you are delivering the speech at.
- Give thanks. Since you’re the guy with the mic, don’t forget to express your gratitude to your friends and family for coming to the wedding and the parents of your daughter’s new spouse for anything and everything that they did.
- Consider past, present, and future. These are some main components that should be present in the speech. Think of a few key points from your relationship with your daughter in the past, discuss notable things that are occurring presently, and speak about the shared future of the newlyweds together. This makes for a good framework to keep in mind when organizing your thoughts, and you can even try to include an overarching theme or tone for the speech as a whole. You can get creative with the flow, but a classic chronological order is always easy for the guest’s to follow.
- Pepper in some fond memories. Nothing gets the waterworks started like some heartfelt anecdotes from the bride’s lifetime, through the eyes of her beloved dad. Choose some especially warm memories from your little girl’s childhood that always stick out in your mind, or some funny (not embarrassing) trials from her adolescence. If one of those special memories includes her SO, definitely be sure to share that with the guests.
- Include your daughter’s new spouse. While you have so much to say about the bride, remember to mention and acknowledge her new spouse, too. Take this time to welcome them into your family, and share what it means to you that they are marrying your daughter.
- Share your pride. As the father of the bride, you’re entitled to be a very proud papa. Mention some especially big moments of pride for you and how much you cherish your daughter’s achievements. Don’t confuse this with an excuse to spout off her resumé though, only pick a couple of standout highlights that really speak to her character.
- Acknowledge your emotions. It’s an absolute given that this is an emotional day for you, so don’t feel the need to act stoic and put up a façade. Stay genuine and admit to how difficult it is to let your little girl go. These admissions make for a touching moment, and we guarantee there won’t be a dry eye left in the room. And we mean you too, dad. Today is the day when it’s perfectly okay to shed a tear or two.
- Tell her you love her. That’s your baby girl right there and this is the moment to tell her just how much she means to you. Express how much you love and cherish your daughter. Remind her of how you’ve treasured your relationship together and how you think that relationship may be evolving or staying exactly the same.
- Add some parting wisdom. Whether it’s a piece of marriage advice or just your most heartfelt wishes for the newlyweds’ future, pepper in some sage wisdom for the happy couple. This is pinnacle dad-talk time so be sure to really relish the moment, just don’t forget that there are other people present and it’s not just you and your daughter.
Father-of-the-Bride Speech Tips
Okay, dads. Now that you have a general idea of what you want to include, take note of these essential tips to giving the best father-of-the-bride speech anyone has ever heard.
- Keep it short. Though you’ve been waiting for this day to come for many years, try to keep your toast short and sweet. There may be a lot you want to say, and if that’s the case, consider writing some of those heartfelt sentiments down beforehand and giving it to your daughter in a card for her to read privately on her wedding morning.
- Don’t be too embarrassing. Skip the stories that may make your daughter cringe or those memories that she wishes you would just forget already. Remember, the speech is a toast and not a roast. Keep in mind that along with her newly-minted spouse, her entire new family of in-laws—and possibly even a few work colleagues—will be present. So if there’s something you’re on the fence about saying, consider if you would think the information appropriate for your in-laws and colleagues to learn about you.
- Skip ex mentions. If you have an urge to call out how terrible some of her ex-boyfriends or girlfriends were in the past, skip that little tidbit and keep it to yourself. There’s never any good that can come from name-dropping old lovers at your daughter’s wedding, no matter how much you really disliked old what’s-his-name. Stick to positive anecdotes and memories that showcase your daughter’s good side, not her mistakes.
- Don’t push for laughs. Often times, you’ll get laughs when you’re not trying hard for them and they just emerge organically. Don’t feel like you have to color your toast with joke line after joke line—it may come off as forced, especially if you’re not normally the jokester in the bunch. It’s important to remain true to yourself and not put on a show for the crowd. The most important person in the room, your daughter, will definitely know if you’re not being yourself, and all she really needs is her dad—not a comedian.
- Practice, practice, practice. And then practice some more. It’s important that you attempt to memorize your speech and at the very least have everything written down and a general idea of what you want to say. If memorizing the whole speech is a little too difficult to do in such a short amount of time, be sure to practice it enough beforehand so that you can make eye contact with the couple and the other guests. There is no exception. Even if you give TED Talks for a living, your emotions will absolutely get the best of you on that special day and leave you tongue-tied.
Father of the Bride Speech Rules
Fathers of the brides are no longer shackled by out-dated etiquette but there’s certainly more pressure on you dads to be funny. Here, the Speechy experts reveal the new father of the bride speech rules you need to follow…
Do your research
Gather your intel and call in back up. Get other family members round a table and brainstorm. Think about the great (and funny) times you’ve shared with your daughter. Think about her why she makes you laugh. We guarantee your daughter’s siblings will be a great source of material, as well as her mum.
It’s also worth asking your daughter to give you the low-down on who exactly is coming to the wedding. If you know her yoga buddies and the groom’s rugby mates will be there, it’s easier for you to select your stories and tailor your humour to suit.
Of course, increasingly there are guests who have English as their second language, so be conscious not to alienate them with a speech full of wordplay.
Cut out the clichés
All dads think their daughters are ‘talented’ and ‘beautiful’, so think about the unique qualities that make your girl a little bit wonderful.
Nobody wants to hear a list of her career achievements or a rundown of her educational qualifications; they want recognition of the character traits that make her a great friend. Whether she’s loud, a bit ditzy, or just a little bit nutty, celebrate your daughter for the awesome individual she is rather an idealised version of her.
Do not talk about money
Avoid mentioning any financial contribution you’ve made towards the wedding – even in jest.
Remember the groom
Yes, your speech is all about your daughter, but remember to be nice about her new husband, too. Even if there are subtle reservations lurking in your soul, today is a day to celebrate his attributes, whatever they may be. Feel free to do a bit of gentle teasing (especially when you talk about your first encounter with him), but make sure it’s delivered with warmth.
These days, all speeches need to be entertaining and funny. You don’t have the-best-man-pressure, but you still need to be making everyone chuckle from the get-go.
Of course, being funny is not about finding wedding gags on Google. Being funny is about finding the right things to tease your daughter and son-in-law about – whether it’s their love of quinoa (and not knowing how to pronounce it), their unhealthy addiction to Game of Thrones, or their inability to do any DIY without calling you first.
Yours is the first of the speeches, so, as important as your speech is, keep it short. The guests will know that yours is just the first speech of several so might get fidgety. This is especially true if speeches come before the wedding breakfast! Brevity is bound to earn you praise, so try to stick to around 5-7 minutes. Time yourself beforehand just to make sure.
You’re not a stand-up comedian
And even if you are, this isn’t the time for a set. Cracking jokes is a great way to loosen up your audience and to put everyone in a good mood, but don’t let that pressure you into being funny. Nobody wants to hear a string of bad dad jokes.
Eddie from Custom Speechwriting adds: “Light-hearted jokes are fine and are welcome in wedding toasts… However, keep in mind that everyone in your audience is an amateur videographer with the aid of their smartphones. Make sure that you are willing to have anything you say recorded and uploaded to YouTube for the near eternity of the internet.”
What to do if you get emotional
We understand that the day will take its toll on you emotionally. However, blubbing your way through your speech might make your daughter worry that she’s made a mistake! Instead, we recommend that you practice your speech.
Robin (The Wedding Speech Guru) is in firm agreement here: “Make sure you say your speech out loud 10-15 times,” he advises. “Just reading it through isn’t good enough. Create prompt cards or print the speech, but in a way that’s visually memorable so if you’ve gone through it a lot, you should know it almost by heart and you can just glance at it and remember it.”
This isn’t about you
Your daughter and her new husband are the stars of the show today. Make your Father of the Bride speech about them; praise them, make little jabs at them, and wish them well. Do those things and you can’t go too wrong.
And if you get nervous…
“My absolute number one rule is breathing techniques,” says Adam (Adaptable Speechwriting). “Take a deep breath between points…It feels about four times as long when you’re stood there than what the audience will feel so take your time it won’t be noticed.”
“Make sure you have a glass of champagne to toast with and a glass of water in front of you,” Robin (The Wedding Speech Guru) advises nervous speakers. “In advance of the speech, make sure you talk to as many guests as possible…It means that the people you’re talking to have a vested interest in the success of your speech and it’s much less scary if you’re looking out at faces you know. Lastly, smile!”