The Father-of-the-Bride Speech

As Father-of-the-Bride (or person taking this role) you may also be the Master of Ceremonies. These days it is more than okay to have some words from the Mother-of-the-Bride or parents of the groom. Whoever takes on this role, as first cab off the rank, you’ll be setting the tone for the evening. You will have certain ‘duties’ that have to be carried out but the style and format can be as relaxed as you want it to be.

The end result should be that the guests can feel the pride and love you genuinely feel for your daughter and that you are delighted to welcome the Groom to your family no matter how much you think she could have done better. Here’s what your speech should cover:

  • Welcome everyone, specifically the Groom’s parents, other relations and friends of the families who may have travelled a long way
  • Thank people who have assisted in organising the wedding/reception
  • Compliment the Bride on her appearance
  • Speak of the Bride’s achievements and family life
  • Congratulate the Groom and welcome him into your family
  • Offer advice to the newlyweds and wish them well
  • Propose the toast to the Bride and Groom

Aim on delivering a speech of 750 to 1000 words (5 to 7 minutes). Traditionally you will also be speaking on behalf of the Bride’s mother. Unless you have the gift of the gab it is best to have a written speech to refer to so you don’t leave anything out but memorise the first few lines. When you break the speech down as above, you really only have a minute or so for each part and the best way to link them all is to find an angle/theme. A few suggestions:

  • Focus on the couple’s romance – how you can see at a glance that they are deeply in love and give your version of how they met and your observation of their journey together to this point in their lives – perhaps highlight why they are so well-suited to each other
  • Draw on your own emotions and sentiments – the pleasure and pride this day has given you, even if you did have to pay for it – talk about the emotions as a father giving his daughter away and the relationship you have shared during her years growing up – what you felt/thought on first meeting the Groom and how a relationship has now been forged there
  • Focus on the Bride – your daughter’s special day, how beautiful she looks today and her achievements so far – her schooling, her career, her hobbies, her character and the little things that contribute to her personality. The Groom then falls automatically into the speech because he has been fortunate enough to find a woman with all these wonderful qualities (and by extension, he must be okay for her to have fallen in love with him)

Because this speech is so personal it is impossible to write a template where you just change the names and join the dots but here are a couple of introductions you might like to play with/adapt:

“Welcome everybody. The last time I was called on to speak at a wedding was 28 years ago when I gave the Groom’s speech, next to my wonderful wife Lynne. And I must confess to being overcome with a similar emotion today, one of nervous inadequacy…”

“Before I talk about my beautiful daughter and her fine choice of husband I would like to thank my wonderful wife for all she has done in organising this special day. I have had to do absolutely nothing apart from whip out my credit card and I really appreciate it. Lynne picked up my suit from the dry cleaners, arranged the car to pick us up this morning, gave me the last minute dress check outside the church… so if you can just pass me the speech you have written for me now, darling…”

“Accustomed as I am to giving Father-of-the-Bride speeches as this is the second daughter I have given away I gave a lot of thought about how to make this one different but still special and memorable. That didn’t work so I thought I’d pretty much follow the same format this time. For those who were at the last wedding you may remember I started nervously, dropped to a lull in the middle, peppered with forgetful pauses and a couple of long silences and then trailed off into incoherent rambling. So here we go…”

Good luck!