If you are the Father of the Bride you will usually speak first. Traditionally, the wedding day marks the moment when your daughter becomes a woman in her own right. Although this isnít necessarily the most important aspect of the wedding nowadays, the essence behind this very significant occasion is for you to give the marriage your blessing. This is your chance to express, in public, how proud you are of your daughter on her wedding day. At the end of your speech, your official role is to raise a toast to the happiness of the Bride and Groom. Remember that this speech is in essence a sincere, proud moment rather than a comedy show. As your speech is first, itís best not to make it too long. If there are three or four other people due to speak after you, the guests may be lagging by the end of all of them.
There are a number of key factors that you should include in your speech. If you are a host you should welcome the members of your family, friends and other guests to the event. If you are not a host, thank those who are hosting the day. Although these are not in any particular order, it is important in a speech to make sure that your audience is captive. One well-known criminal barrister tries to make his speeches no longer than six minutes long as, after many years of practice, he realised that jury members began to fidget and lose concentration after that period of time. People will also thank you for not talking excessively. Then again if your speech is eight minutes long, donít try to cram it into five minutes. A considerable factor whether a speech is successful or not is dependent on delivery, rather than just content.
You should speak fondly about your daughter, perhaps recounting humorous events from her childhood. It can be useful to show how those early character traits exhibited as a child evolved into the woman she is today Ė either personally or professionally. The essence of your speech as the brideís father is of pride, and unlike the best manís speech should not have much (if any) ridicule. For example it would almost certainly be a bad idea to mention old boyfriends! You will undoubtedly have many stories you could tell, but itís best to choose the ones most suited for the audience.
Overall, you should tell of your love for your daughter. Donít be afraid to be emotional: itís one of the only times when itís expected of you. If your daughter isnít making a speech, you might wish to thank her mother for helping to organise the day. Also, you should thank your daughterís mother for your own happiness in marriage. If you are separated or divorced from her, describe a positive trait that your ex-wife exhibited and link it to an aspect of your daughterís personality.
You should also welcome your new son in law to your family. This is a good opportunity for some more humour, as you might want to recount a memory about when you met him for the first time, or perhaps the first time you heard about him in your daughterís life.
Lastly, itís considered a courtesy to complement the bridesmaids, particularly if they are family members or have been friends with your daughter since childhood. You could also thank other family members who may have helped with the day. Finally, raise a toast to the happy couple.
A Sample Speech for the Father of the Bride
(Here we use fictitious wife Anna, bride Sarah, bridegroom John)
Ladies and Gentlemen, to avoid any embarrassment later on and in case anyone was in any doubt, Iím neither Marlon Brando nor Sicilian, so Iíd be grateful if you would refrain from asking me for any favours today.
Iíd like to welcome you to our home and thank you all for sharing this wonderful occasion with us. Iíd also like to thank my wife Anna, whose tireless efforts have made today an extra special occasion Ė and without whom today would not have been possible. Thank you so much, Anna.
For any of you who didnít know the young Sarah, youíll be surprised to hear that she was in fact a delightful baby, who grew into a confident and bright child and then into the lovely lady she is today. She did well at school, achieving good GCSE and A-Level results and going onto university to study fashion. We are very proud of her achievements, especially now that she has opened her own shop designing womenís clothing and long may her success continue.
With hindsight, there were clues early on as to her choice of career. I remember watching Margaret Thatcher leaving number 10 for the last time in 1990, her faltering voice and her quivering lip. I turned to Sarah, who was 11 years old at the time, and said something about how uncharacteristic this was for the ĎIron Lady.í Completely deadpan, Sarah said, Ďitís probably because that colourís completely wrong for her complexion.í
When Sarah first brought John home to meet us, he was naturally eager to please and insisted on helping me with a DIY project. I had just finished making a wooden table, and he offered to varnish it for me. Unfortunately he used turpentine by mistake. Thanks to John I probably own the worldís first highly flammable table.
This is a very important day for our family Ė Anna and I are immensely proud of Sarah and all she has achieved to date, and she couldnít have chosen a more loving or devoted husband than John. Weíre delighted to welcome John into our family as our new son-in-law, and we hope that Sarah and John have as much joy and happiness from their marriage as Anna and I have over the last thirty years.
Finally, Iíd like you all to join me in raising a toast to Sarah and John.