Your daughter gave you the big news: she’s getting married! Finally, she won’t be scrounging through your fridge or arriving on the weekends with loads of dirty laundry – or so you hope. Whether she told you over the phone between excited giggles or while bouncing across your living room with her face all aglow, you know that it’s time to start planning your father of the bride speech.
You might be the type of dad who loves to gush about his little girl – producing tears and red faces aplenty – or you might be a dad who prefers to keep his emotions closer to his chest. Dads come in all shapes and sizes, and some dads are more involved in their daughters’ lives. Dads also show their love for their daughters in many different ways. But no matter what, you want the best for your girl, and that’s why you should take the time to craft a speech you’ll love giving and she’ll love hearing.
The Importance of the Father of the Bride Speech
Let’s take a brief walk through time, shall we? No groans, please. It’s all for your daughter, after all!
Weddings have existed for thousands of years in one form or another. In the past, as the one footing the bill for the wedding, you as the father often would have welcomed your guests to your home for a joint reception and celebration, where you’d have thanked them for attending and give a speech in the couple’s honor.
Of course, times change and so do traditions. Now, both sides might split the cost of the wedding, or they might split it three ways. You can take a deep breath and casually wipe that sweat from your brow. Anyone notice? Good. You’ve got this.
Modern weddings can be very different. Today’s bride might walk herself down the aisle, she might wear a dress that isn’t white, and she might even skip the exchange of rings and put the focus on handwritten vows. What hasn’t changed is that she’ll still want to celebrate with her family, and she’ll still want her dad to play a special role.
That’s where the speech comes in.
Father of the bride speeches give you the chance to share some laughs, make your daughter blush and offer some fatherly advice. And what father doesn’t love to show off a bit of worldly wisdom? That’s practically the definition of a father!
How Do You Write That Speech? Follow These Five Steps
You may be a whiz with the miter saw or a superstar with your fishing tackle, but that doesn’t mean you know how to write a wedding speech. Are those beads of sweat making their unwanted comeback yet? Relax. We’ve outlined the five steps you need to take for a father of the bride speech that shows off your personality and gives the happy couple one more reason to smile.
1. Before You Write, Outline
The easiest way to become overwhelmed is to face a blank page and have no idea where to begin. Save yourself the stress and start with an outline of possible topics. This way, you’ll simply need to brainstorm as you go, following the structure of the speech and filling in the words section by section.
You’ve been out of school for a while now, possibly a few decades, but you have worldly wisdom, right? This means you don’t want to make the task feel like some school assignment the uptight Mrs. Sampson used to give you on a Friday afternoon. You want it to be an enjoyable experience, something you look forward to giving when the Big Day rolls around.
The most common father of the bride speeches start by welcoming everyone; then they give praise and support to the couple, share anecdotes and advice, and conclude with a loving toast.
We’ll discuss each of these sections below so you have a better understanding of how you could approach your own speech. Of course, it may be the most common way to write a wedding speech, but it’s not the only way to write it. Show off your personality! You know you best, and you should never feel forced to write a speech a certain way. Now, onto the next steps.
2. Start With “Welcome and Thank You”
The first thing you should do is acknowledge your guests and thank them for coming to this happy celebration. Your guests are the ones who fill the seats and fill the room (or tent if you’re having an outdoor reception). Without your guests, your beautiful daughter wouldn’t have nearly as many people offering their love and support while she walked down the aisle.
Then again, you might not have such an anxiety attack if there weren’t so many guests present. Fewer guests, fewer eyes on you! If you’re feeling nervous about speaking in public, make sure you practice, practice, practice. Out loud, too, because we’re pretty sure you won’t have an audience of telepathic guests. But you never know.
3. Show Your Support of the New Couple
Next you want to give praise and support for your daughter and her spouse. Regardless of whether you fully approve of her spouse, you need to be supportive of your daughter’s choice. After all, this is her life, not yours. If she’s happy, you should be happy for her.
If you’ve been saving up a special present, this point in the speech might be the ideal time to share it with the new couple. Whether it’s money toward a down payment, a family heirloom you want to pass on, or an item you handcrafted in the wee hours this past month (remember your skills with the miter saw?), that present will mean a great deal to two people starting their lives together.
4. Share Stories and Wisdom
Now is the fun part. You get to laugh maniacally as you dish out plenty of embarrassing, cringe-worthy stories about your little girl. Remember the time she ran naked through the house? Remember how in high school she stumbled home one night and threw up all over your favorite slippers?
Oh, those were the days. But you know we’re joking, right? This is not a time to roast your daughter. It’s a time to share her good traits and show how they helped shape her into becoming such a fantastic woman.
This part might take a bit more time, since you need to reach back into your memories to pull out stories about your daughter. Did she ever put on a fashion show for your family, complete with crazy hair and makeup? That shows her creativity. Did she ever invite a neighborhood kid to your house because he was lonely? That shows she’s caring. Did she ever ... you get the picture.
You can also focus on events the two of you did together, or ways you shared your wisdom and watched her learn from the experience. Maybe you worked on a project for school, where she needed to build a 3D house plan or a medieval armor set. How did you help her use her creativity to construct something? And don’t say that you did it all yourself. Don’t boast. Give her some credit!
5. Wrap Up and Give a Toast
Here is where you’ll circle back to the new couple and raise a glass to their future. Toast their relationship and encourage your guests to join you in wishing them the very best for the years ahead. If you’re still married you might want to include a line or two of marriage advice. If you’re not married any longer, there’s no need to bring that up. Focus on how well the two of them complement one another, and offer them your love. Raise a glass, and then hand that mike to the next in line.
Five More Tips for Success
The above steps sound simple enough, right? And yet, so many fathers still manage to give a speech that leaves their daughters cringing or their relatives fuming over some obtuse comment. Yes, you might not like your brother Kurt or your great aunt Mildred, and you might have gone through an unpleasant divorce a few years back, but none of those things has anything to do with your daughter’s wedding. So swallow that comment, focus on the happy couple, and keep things positive.
Here are five tips to help you write one the best father of the bride speeches of them all.
1. Don’t Talk for Too Long
You know how sometimes people tend to drone on and on while the audience develops that glazed look as they try to stay attentive? No? Well, it’s true.
You don’t want to bore your guests because they’ll remember this day for a long time, and you might not get an invitation to the next family wedding. Rambling speeches become awkward for everyone, as do embarrassing speeches. Aim for an absolute maximum of 10 minutes, although 5 to 8 is even better.
2. Don’t Drink Before Your Speech
Drunken speeches are a big no-no. Alcohol tends to lower your inhibitions and self-control, and before long you might end up revealing some family drama that’s best kept out of the limelight. You might even hurt yourself from stumbling over microphone cords or table legs. So skip the loose lips and accidental slips, and wait until afterward to drink.
3. Don’t Rush Through It
Nothing says “This is the last thing I want to do” like rushing through a wedding day speech. Trying to rush could also make you stumble over words or say the wrong word entirely. It looks sloppy and uncaring. Make sure you practice your speech a few times – and yes, reading it to your bulldog Bowser is fine for one of those times. Not all them!
4. Do Look at Your Daughter
It’s likely that you’ll forget some of your speech when you’re up in front of the crowd, but you should never read off the page word for word. Look at your daughter. Look at her spouse. Show your love through your gaze and let them know they are special. Making eye contact is an easy way to engage with your audience, and it will help you relax as well when you see how your words have such impact.
5. Do Have Fun Up There
Love to be the center of attention? Perfect. All eyes are on you. What if you prefer to surround yourself with a few close friends, not hundreds? You don’t want to look like you’re about to wilt from fright, so you need to bring in the humor. Nothing breaks the ice like a humorous joke or funny anecdote, so make sure you have one or two up your sleeve, should the moment call for it.
Father of the Bride Speech Examples
Although your father of the bride speech should be uniquely yours, it can be very helpful to see what other people have done. Read our examples and see if they spark any ideas of your own.
Example of a Short Father of the Bride Speech
In this first of two father of the bride speeches, the father is one who ordinarily avoids the limelight but would do anything for his darling daughter. He thanks everyone for coming before delving into how proud he is of the bride.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to Alexis and Damian’s wedding. I’m proud to be giving this father of the bride speech, and I want to thank each one of you for sharing this special day with us.
I know that the drive here wasn’t a piece of cake, and it means even more that you braved the elements – the snow, the slush and the occasional drunken bear – did anyone else see that bear along Route 37? – to arrive at this gorgeous cabin in the woods. It’s beautiful here, though, isn’t it? Well, at least it is now that the blizzard is over. We can gaze out at a winter wonderland and enjoy the time with friends and family.
Today, December 15, is also my wife’s birthday. We lost her a year ago, and so having Alexis and Damian’s wedding on this day is a special tribute to the incredible wife and mother who left us way too soon.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
As you can tell, Alexis inherited her stunning looks from her mother, definitely not me. Every time I look at her I see her mother, and I know Camille would have loved every moment of today. She always knew what to say, and Alexis, I’m proud that you’ve turned out that way too.
You’ve become a strong, independent woman, one who knows how to change a tire in a rainstorm, use a chainsaw on a fallen tree, and whip up the best blueberry pie. Folks, she even beat my Camille in the fall fair baking competition one year, and let me tell you, I had blueberries coming out of my ears from all the pies Camille baked trying to outdo her own daughter. That fiery streak also burns bright in Alexis, and I’m so happy she found someone who wasn’t afraid to get close.
Enter Prince Charming
Damian, I still marvel at how you can soothe with just one glance and a tender touch. Maybe one day you’ll tell me your secret. I could have used it years ago, right from the moment we brought Alexis home and she spent hours screaming her tiny lungs out.
I’m not a man of endless words; honestly, I’m more comfortable puttering around my wood shed building little contraptions, but I do want to say that Alexis has been the light of my life. Alexis, I’ve loved watching you grow up, and I can’t wait to see where you go from here.
And now, as I end this father of the bride speech, I’d like to raise a toast to my daughter and son-in-law. I wish the two of you the very best in the years ahead. If I could give one piece of advice, it would be this: never go to sleep angry with one another. Not only will you have a more restful sleep, but you also won’t run the risk of an angry kick in the middle of the night. Believe me, I know. To Alexis and Damian and a beautiful future.
An Example of a Long Father of the Bride Speech
Father of the bride speech examples give a glimpse into who the father is and how much he cares for his little girl. In this speech, you'll see how the father adds his colorful personality but always makes sure that the focus is on his daughter.
Hello and welcome! Can you hear me in the back? Excellent. I’m the happy father of the bride. Those of you who know me know that I taught high school English for 25 years, and it’s likely there are a few of my former students in the audience right now. Oh, and to the student who, 20 years ago, planted a whoopee cushion on my chair and had me let out a rather loud, obnoxious sound, I haven’t forgotten about it! Make no mistake, I’ll send you to the principal’s office one of these days.
But seriously, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all the friends and family who gathered here on this gloriously sweaty August afternoon to celebrate Peyton and Bryce’s wedding. I hope you haven’t melted in your seats yet.
My wife, Raquel, whispered to me a few moments ago that she felt like she’d lost her face somewhere on the floor. I told her that’s nonsense. Raquel, my love, where are you? There you are. You’re beautiful as always.
Peyton the Bride
And now, to my daughter Peyton on her wedding day, I want to say how beautiful you look in your white dress. I remember hearing about dress after dress that you tried on, that nothing ever looked right, and how you threatened to go naked if you couldn’t find the right dress. That would have led me to be naked as well so you wouldn’t feel self-conscious, and in doing so I believe I would have frightened all the guests away.
I’m thrilled you found such a stunning dress because I didn’t particularly want to show off my birthday suit, but for you, Peyton, I would have swallowed my pride.
You have grown into a lovely young woman, and I’m so proud to be your dad. I remember taking you to recital after recital, watching you play that piano with a power I never thought possible. It didn’t matter if you placed first or not, I was still so proud of you for sharing your beautiful music with a bunch of strange people, which includes your old man. People used to tell me I was far too odd to have such a charming and talented daughter, and they’d look at you and me and shake their head.
Marveling at a Unique Talent
I don’t know where you got your talent from, for sadly, your mother and I cannot carry a tune. Isn’t that right, dear? Folks, you probably wouldn’t want to come to our Christmas dinners, for we’ve been know to set the cats a-yowling.
And to have found someone who’s also equally talented with music is wonderful. From now on, we know who’ll be hosting the holiday get-togethers. They nodded, Raquel, make note of that!
Made for Each Other
I remember the day Peyton brought Bryce home to meet us for the first time. I hadn’t yet retired from teaching, and I’d had a stressful day of trying to teach fourteen-year-olds about the significance of Emily Dickinson’s poetry.
Well, in walked Peyton and Bryce, and I watched his face light up at the sight of that piano. They played the most incredible duet together and my stress just melted away. I watched how the two of them supported one another and picked up if the other dropped a note. I knew then that Pey-Pey had found the man for her.
With this wedding we now have an even bigger family, for when Peyton married Bryce and Bryce married Peyton, they also brought along many family members. You can probably tell that families mean the world to me, and I love how we take time out of our busy lives to get together wherever possible. Some of us live on the other side of the country, but we make it work and we have a blast. And now, we’ll have even more fun.
Advice From Your Old Man
Peyton and Bryce, you likely don’t want to hear me ramble on and on all night, but I do want to share a bit of fatherly wisdom I picked up over the years. When you have kids of your own, you might want to strangle them at times because of how loud they are and how much they destroy your home. But remember, you can always paint over the crayon scribbled on the walls.
Trust me, I did that a few times. It was red one time, and blue another. Horrible mess, and you and Lily laughed hysterically.
But you know what? I’d do it again if need be. Having you kids was the best thing that could have happened to us. You taught me how to be a better man, and you helped keep me strong after your Nana passed away.
Peyton, I look at you and I know you’ll be just fine. I’m so proud of you, and I’m so happy to be standing here giving what I hope is one of the best father of the bride speeches ever. Everyone, please raise your glass as we toast the happy couple. We wish you and Bryce years of happiness and beautiful music together. Congratulations!
Giving a speech on your daughter's big day might be intimidating, but you're up to the task. Study the tips and examples above, strike a tone that matches your personality, and praise your daughter's partner. Above all, let everybody know how much you love your daughter. Stick to that and you can't go wrong!
Need More Help? Consider Speechwriting Services at Compose.ly
If you’re sweating bullets and you’re almost out of time, you probably won’t be able to whip up a top-notch speech. Rather than a slightly lame toast, give a speech that wows your guests and makes your darling daughter smile. The writers at Compose.ly will work with you to create a speech you’re proud to give. You might not have written it, but you know it still shares your feelings in just the right way.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Emily Clayton.