Father of the bride speech
Father of the bride speech

  • When to speak: At most weddings, the father of the bride is the first to speak, usually during or towards the end of the meal. If you’re really worried about it, break with tradition and get the speeches out of the way before the meal. That way, you (and the other speakers) can enjoy the rest of the evening.
  • Structure: A good speech should last 6-7 minutes. “Write down the headings you want to cover in the speech – such as ‘welcome’, ‘thanks’, bride’s early years’, ‘her career’, ‘how she met the groom’ etc,” says Gavin Matthews, of speech writing company fatherofthebride.co.uk. “This breaks it down and makes it easier to write.” Round the speech off by welcoming the groom into your family, and offer some words of wisdom on marriage. “If it’s been a humorous speech, drop in a little sentiment,” says Gavin. “Tell your daughter how proud you are of her – you’ve made them laugh, now make them cry!”

  • Good taste: Be entertaining without being crass. “There are two things to remember when telling stories and jokes,” says Gavin. “Firstly, how funny are they? If you find them funny, but your friends don’t, leave them out. More importantly, ensure stories don’t embarrass your daughter. Imagine her reaction  if you told the story at a family party. Would she laugh or be embarrassed? There’s your answer.” Also keep each story or joke as short as possible. If people don’t respond well, it doesn’t matter because you’ll have moved on to another one.

  • Keep it friendly: Don’t approach your speech with a huge amount of formality – just imagine you’re telling a story to friends. This will also help you relax.

  • Try and learn your speech: “You don’t need to know it by heart,” says Gavin, “but read it over and over again in the lead-up to the wedding so that it’s familiar. You’ll feel much more confident and relaxed.”

  • Make copies: Make several copies of your speech and give them to friends/siblings. “Many people panic about losing their speech – if you have a few copies, this won’t be an issue,” says Gavin.

  • Take your time: The slower and clearer your speech, the better it will be received. Gavin recommends using a microphone: “You’ll sound louder and clear,” he says. “And don’t be afraid to pause for effect after a joke or after you say something you want the audience to appreciate.”

  • Watch your drink: Have one or two drinks beforehand to calm the nerves, but no more.

  • Animate: ”Using your hands to help explain things will make you feel more confident and relaxed,” says Gavin.

  • Have fun! You’re surrounded by friends and family – they don't care if you fluff your lines. This is your moment to be a proud father-of-the-bride – try and take in every second of it. Finish off with a toast to the bride and groom. Have a drink – you’ll have earned it!

A few opening lines from fatherofthebride.co.uk to start you off…

"Let me say that it’s an honour to stand here today. I get to speak, you have to listen – for a man who’s been married for XX years, this is a big thing. So please do get comfortable."

"I’m very proud to stand here on the day that my daughter becomes someone’s wife. I see today as not necessarily losing a daughter, but gaining a son… and a gardener, an odd job’s man, a car mechanic, and a personal decorator."

"When I saw (NAME OF DAUGHTER) this morning, she looked absolutely beautiful. I even had a few tears in my eyes – not because she looked so beautiful, but because I was thinking about how my bank manager will react on Monday morning when he sees the bill for today…"

"I must admit, I’m slightly nervous today. I’ve only had to stand up in front of this many people once before – and all I had to say then was ‘Guilty your honour’…"

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Discuss this story

annekastu Hi
I'm thinking of giving a speech at our wedding as my dad won't be there to give a speech and H2b's best man has only ever met me once? Is there anyone else that is thinking of giving a speech at their wedding? If so who else is giving a speech? How long are you leaving in the timetable for speeches????

Posted: 04/09/2007 at 17:15

Twitchyuk I am as my Dad does not want to give one although I'm not sure if mine will be okay. I'll post it and you can read through what I have, although I daresay it will get ammended at some point.

Those of you who know me quite well probably aren't surprised that I wanted to say a few words today. Those of you who know me very well will be surprised if it is only a few!
Thank you all for coming. It's a great feeling to look around this room and see our family and friends hopefully enjoying themselves together.
Of course, there are some faces missing from this celebration. I'd like to make a toast to the people we know and love who for whatever reasons are unable to be with us today. Ladies and Gentlemen, would you please stand and raise your glasses to 'Absent Friends and Loved Ones'.

Now I don't mean to bore you with repetition, but I would like to say a few personal thank you's to some very important people who have contributed enormously to our day:-

Starting with the unsung heroine of this wedding, my sister Jane, who has put up with my endless talk on just about anything and everything connected to the wedding. Thank you for listening when what you really wanted to do was slap me. I am grateful for your love and support, especially during the walk home from the hen night!
I would also like to thank Rob, the best man, for making sure that Tim turned up today, on time, properly dressed and at the right church. You have carried out your duties with expertise and without you Tim might have put the ring on the wrong finger and found himself married to the vicar.
I would like to thank Tim's parents, Anne especially, for the kindness that they have shown me from the first day I met them and for welcoming me in to their family as they have done.
I'd also like to thank my parents for everything they have done for me, and today I feel I have partly repaid them by bringing them a new son who will without a doubt be far less troublesome than I have been.
A special big thank you to Christopher Adam and Molly, today would not have been the same without you.
To the rest of you who have helped and assisted to make this day as special as it has been a big heart felt thank you goes to each and every one of you.
Finally I have to say thank you to my new husband, not only is he a fantastic father to our daughter Evie he is also my best friend. I love you and hope that every day will be as happy as today - just not as expensive!

You'll be pleased to know that's all, thank you for being such wonderful guests and here's to love, laughter and being happy.

Posted: 04/09/2007 at 17:20

annekastu Maria!

That was a great speech all I could come up with was thanks for being here!!!!!! It was personal too with comedy! Thats definately given some ideas!!! I was really scared that writing the had to be done at the last minute but I think it does need some careful prep to say everything we want! Thanks for the preview you should use it! I just hope I can get past the first three words!

Posted: 04/09/2007 at 17:27

Twitchyuk I'm okay with writing it, its delivering it I'm worried about!

Posted: 04/09/2007 at 17:29

Fairll00 I'm planning to make a speech - there are people that I want to thank and recognise and it just doesn't seem quite right for me to sit there mutely and not say anything. I don't think it will be quite as witty as Maria's though - good speech! I might pinch bits of it!

Posted: 04/09/2007 at 17:40

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