A simple four-stage structure for your father of the bride speech
1. Play the role of host
The little girl you brought up, watched taking her first steps and helped to grow… is getting married! That is one hell of a transformation, and one that you are uniquely qualified to talk about. This is why you are the host of the wedding.
- Welcome the guests, thanking them for coming, mentioning those who have made an extra special effort to be there, and those that haven’t been able to make it. (Remember that the groom will be thanking various people in his speech, so check with him. There will be some people that it is more appropriate for you to talk about than him.
- Check also with the bride and groom if there any practicalities that you should raise about the day.
- Make a point of welcoming the groom’s family and any specific contributions they have made to the organisation of the wedding
2. Speak lovingly about the bride
This is the main part of the speech, in which you talk about your daughter’s character, and how it has developed in the different stages of her life. Bear in mind that if the bride’s mother is not speaking herself, your speech is on behalf of the both of you. Talk to her. Not only is it important that her sentiments are reflected, but that you take advantage of her memory – she may well remember aspects of your daughter’s childhood better than you. Talk also to other close friends and members of the family. Your speech should be delivered from your point of view, but will be enriched by other people’s reflections and input.
- Think about key moments in your daughter’s life: the day she was born, her first day at school; the day she passed her driving test.
- What were her first words?
- What strange, unusual or amusing habits did she have as a child?
- What are her most notable characteristics? What stories can you think of that illustrate these character traits?
- What similarities does she share now with her infant self?
- What has she shown real passion for, even if she later changed her mind? Was she a staunch vegetarian for three weeks? Was she a mad Boyzone fan before she suddenly decided she was a Goth?
- What are the things you most like doing together?
- What lessons have you learned from her?
- What has she done that has made you most proud?
3. Welcome the groom into the family
Remember that not only are you welcoming the groom into the family, and hopefully being nice about him, you are also recognising your daughter’s good judgement.
- At what point did you realise he was “on the scene”
- What did your daughter say about him?
- What were your first impressions when you met him?
- What is it about him that you most like?
- What changes did you notice in your daughter when she met the groom?
- When did you first think that he was the one to win your daughter’s heart?
- What makes you confident he will be a good husband to your daughter?
4. Propose a toast
It is traditional for the father of the bride to propose a toast at the end of his speech. My advice would be to make this simple: “The bride and groom”
You should now have a rough outline of your speech. What now?
The next step
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