Wedding speeches can conjure a range of emotions, from real tears to laughter and each individual speech has a different role and expectation from guests. The best man is expected to get guests giggling, while the groom should have everyone reaching for the tissues with his declaration of love.
But what is expected of the father of the bride and how can you ensure your speech hits all of the right notes? In our guide, we’ll take you through the whole process step-by-step and answer all of your burning wedding speech questions. By the time you’re done reading, you should be feeling a lot more confident and ready to crack on with preparing a speech to remember!
It’s not often that you get to address a room of your nearest and dearest and talk about your daughter, in fact this exact same group of people may never be in the same room again! That’s why it’s important to invest time and effort into writing and practicing your father of the bride speech.
It’s not only the people around on the day you need to consider either, with more and more couples opting to hire a videographer your speech could be re-watched for years to come. Your speech will be a wonderful keepsake for both the bride and groom and so you’re going to want to make it a piece to be proud of.
Warm up your vocal chords, grab a pen and get ready to start preparing the ultimate father of the bride speech!
When does the father-of-the-bride gives his speech?
At most weddings, the father of the bride is the first to speak, usually during or towards the end of the meal. Of course, you don’t have to follow any wedding traditions. You can always get the speeches out of the way before the meal. That way, you (and the other speakers) can enjoy the rest of the evening.
How do you structure a father-of-the-bride speech?
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!”
Should you do a humorous father-of-the-bride speech?
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.
How formal should the speech be?
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.
Which practical tips help make the speech successful?
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!