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Give a fab father-of-the-bride speech

Worried about your dad's speech? Tuck this advice in his coat pocket as he prepares for your big day.

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Help your dad feel confident when he gives his speech | Getty Images

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.

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Read more: The order of wedding speeches explained

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!”

Read more: How to give the best bride’s speech

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.

Read more: What not to say in the best man’s speech

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.

Read more: 19 incredibly touching father-of-the-bride photos

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.”

Read more: Wedding speeches – everything you need to know

  • 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!
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Read more: Expert tips for your wedding speeches