If you want to know how to write a flawless father of the bride speech for your daughter on her wedding day, here’s your ultimate guide to the perfect speech with speech examples, tips and advice.
Father of the Bride Speech Guide
The traditional running order of wedding speeches typically involves the father of the bride presenting his speech first at the wedding reception, followed by the groom speech and the best man speech. In this order, the father of the bride speech is typically seen as the warm-up act.
The father of the bride speech usually begins by thanking the wedding guests for attending and acknowledging his daughter’s new parents-in-law, while welcoming his new son or daughter-in-law to the family.
It’s traditionally a speech that’s a bit more heartwarming rather than funny, like the best man speech. However, with a little effort, you can make sure your father of the bride speech and moment in the spotlight is something to be remembered.
How to Write a Father of the Bride Speech
If you need father of the bride speech advice, we’ve got you covered. We’ve teamed up with The Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa’s wedding coordinator Liz Ballinger, for the best father of the bride speech tips and guidance.
What to Include in Your Father of the Bride Speech
Whether it’s short and sweet or a moment to enjoy the spotlight, your father of the bride speech needs to contain some basic elements. That’s if it is to be in keeping with tradition. Here’s a simple father of the bride speech template to follow…
Father of the Bride Speech Template
Follow this structure as an outline of what to include in your speech:
- A clear introduction: Introduce yourself and your family to the guest
- Welcome the guests. You may want to pick some people out.
- Thank the bridesmaids and wedding party
- Share some stories or anecdotes about your daughter
- Talk about your son-in-law or daughter-in-law
- Use your own experiences for a parting token of wisdom
- Toast to the happy couple
Read more about each section of your father of the bride speech below…
You need to introduce yourself, but it doesn’t have to be reminiscent of an AA meeting. Tell them your name and maybe crack a small joke to make yourself feel relaxed.
Welcome the wedding guests
Make a formal welcome to everyone, and thank them for coming. Try to also mention the bride’s mother and the groom’s parents too.
Talk about your daughter
Recall a funny anecdote or simply tell her how proud you are of the woman she’s become. This is her big day, so say something memorable and touching.
Rather than just talking about the fact that you love your daughter, talk about the times that you’ve felt proud of her. Reference the moments that stand out and show how much she means to you.
Tell the guests about how you secretly cried after she left for university, explain how you couldn’t eat for a month while she backpacked through Asia. Or confess that you still worry about her if she hasn’t texted you that day. We guarantee there will be tears!
Talk about your son-in-law
Formally welcome the groom to your family. You can mention how you felt about him when you first met him, or a moment when you’ve been particularly glad he’s around. Try to be positive about the future and moving forward with him as a family member.
As the elder speaker at the wedding, you should impart some of your wisdom to the happy couple. This could be about maintaining a healthy marriage or living a happy life. This is also a good place to throw in some jokes, however, err on the side of tasteful. You don’t want to upset anyone.
Toasting to the happy couple
Finish up by asking everyone to stand and raise a glass to the happy couple. The best man will do something similar at the end of his speech too, but it’s the traditional way to close yours.
Father of the Bride Speech Advice
One crucial piece of father of the bride speech advice is to remember what your role is. The biggest trap fathers fall into is thinking they need to thank people, but that’s actually the groom’s job.
That said, it pays to briefly mention the wedding guests and your daughter’s new in-laws. You should also acknowledge the role the bride’s mother has had in her upbringing.
If you’ve split up from your daughter’s mother and you both have new partners, the politics of your speech can be more complex. Of course, the situation is the hardest for your daughter, so even if the relationship between you and your ex is strained, try to be generous in your acknowledgement of your daughter’s mum and stepdad.
Do not get sucked into thanking the venue, the caterers or wedding guest who’ve travelled far. It’s not your day and, quite frankly, too many thank yous becomes boring. Remember the bridesmaids will be thanked by the groom (and maybe even the best man) so keep your gratitude succinct (and dance with them later).
How long should a father of the bride speech be?
A good father of the bride speech should be for about six minutes, so aim for that. Even if you feel you have loads of great material, be strict with yourself. Even Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was only 272 words long!
Father of the Bride Speech Examples
These father of the bride speech examples are sure to bring a tear to the eye, for all the right reasons…
The Devoted Dad Speech
As father of the bride speech examples go, this amazing poem from Tom is truly up there. It’s not easy to write a wedding speech that’s funny, touching and rhymes, but he achieves just that.
We recommend you put the subtitles on in this video to truly appreciate his wonderful words.
Our favourite moments are Tom’s beautiful dedication to his wife and the mother of the bride. You can find this around five minutes in, and his general advice for newlywed couples at the nine-minute mark.
For a father of the bride speech example that tugs on the heartstrings, this couple’s wedding video captured this wonderful moment.
For more wedding speech inspiration, check out our round-up of the best wedding speeches ever.
Father of the Bride Speech Rules
Fathers of the brides are no longer shackled by out-dated etiquette but there’s certainly more pressure on you dads to be funny. Here, the Speechy experts reveal the new father of the bride speech rules you need to follow…
Do your research
Gather your intel and call in back up. Get other family members round a table and brainstorm. Think about the great (and funny) times you’ve shared with your daughter. Think about her why she makes you laugh. We guarantee your daughter’s siblings will be a great source of material, as well as her mum.
It’s also worth asking your daughter to give you the low-down on who exactly is coming to the wedding. If you know her yoga buddies and the groom’s rugby mates will be there, it’s easier for you to select your stories and tailor your humour to suit.
Of course, increasingly there are guests who have English as their second language, so be conscious not to alienate them with a speech full of wordplay.
Cut out the clichés
All dads think their daughters are ‘talented’ and ‘beautiful’, so think about the unique qualities that make your girl a little bit wonderful.
Nobody wants to hear a list of her career achievements or a rundown of her educational qualifications; they want recognition of the character traits that make her a great friend. Whether she’s loud, a bit ditzy, or just a little bit nutty, celebrate your daughter for the awesome individual she is rather an idealised version of her.
Do not talk about money
Avoid mentioning any financial contribution you’ve made towards the wedding – even in jest.
Remember the groom
Yes, your speech is all about your daughter, but remember to be nice about her new husband, too. Even if there are subtle reservations lurking in your soul, today is a day to celebrate his attributes, whatever they may be. Feel free to do a bit of gentle teasing (especially when you talk about your first encounter with him), but make sure it’s delivered with warmth.
These days, all speeches need to be entertaining and funny. You don’t have the-best-man-pressure, but you still need to be making everyone chuckle from the get-go.
Of course, being funny is not about finding wedding gags on Google. Being funny is about finding the right things to tease your daughter and son-in-law about – whether it’s their love of quinoa (and not knowing how to pronounce it), their unhealthy addiction to Game of Thrones, or their inability to do any DIY without calling you first.
Tips for Making Your Father of the Bride Speech Funny
You might be a gentleman, but that doesn’t mean your speech has to be dull. Here are some father of the bride speech advice to ensure your guests get a giggle or two.
Timing is everything
Fathers of the bride have been known to drone on for some time. However, to keep things fun, engaging aim for a speech that lasts around six to seven minutes. Also read your speech through at your normal speaking pace to gauge how long this really is.
Keep it clean
Jokes are a great way to break the ice and loosen up the crowd. However, don’t be too focused on being funny. You’re the elder statesman of the speakers today, so you can afford to be a bit more conservative with your words.
That doesn’t mean you have to be dull though. A few jibes at the expense of the wedding or your daughter’s love of spending are fine, just don’t cut too close to the bone. Leave it to the best man to really roast up the groom, and focus on welcoming your new son-in-law to the family.
Hold onto your emotions
This is such a big occasion for you and all your family, and it can be easy to get caught up in the emotion of it all. Do you best to keep things light and happy. If there are some things you would like to say to your daughter, have a quiet word with her before you walk the aisle.
The last word
Ask any public speaker what their biggest fear is, and they’ll often say it’s losing their place. Fumbling over your words and getting lost is nothing to be ashamed of, provided you can make a recovery.
Take your speech on cue cards with bullet-pointed reminders of what you want to talk about. This will give you a more natural delivery and will save you fluttering to find your place.
If you do get stuck, use a moment to clear your throat, take a drink of water or give your daughter a kiss. These moments might seem a lifetime to you, but will feel like a natural pause to your audience.
This will also give you the breathing space you need to get things back on track. Take your time, don’t panic and try to enjoy your moment of fame.
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