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We celebrated my sister’s wedding recently where my Dad delivered a great Father of the Bride speech. It was funny and well delivered and brought tears to some eyes as well.
And so I spoke to him about how he went about creating that speech and what tips he could offer to any other dads out there who need to create a Father of the Bride speech.
Tip#1: Address the formalities
There are some aspects of the Father of the Bride speech that you need to address.
Traditional Father of the Bride speeches would once have involved reading out telegrams from absent guests. We don’t get many telegrams these days but it is still important to read out congratulatory messages and well-wishes from anyone who couldn’t attend the wedding.
You should also extend your gratitude to the guests who are present. Thank everyone on behalf of the bride and groom for being there and thank them from travelling from their homes – particularly if they are from interstate or overseas.
Other standard aspects of the Father of the Bride speech involve things like complimenting the bridesmaids and checking with the bride as to what she wants – or doesn’t want – included in the speech.
Tip#2: Speak about the happy couple
Then you have to welcome the groom into the family. Speak about the groom and your feelings towards him as the man in your daughter’s life.
You would then progress to talking about your daughter herself. Offer the couple compliments and extend your good wishes for their future together.
Tip#3: Give yourself plenty of time
Don’t leave your Father of the Bride speech until last minute. This is something that you should start working on as soon as possible.
A good idea is to decide on the central theme and to then structure the rest of your speech around that idea.
Think of it as a jigsaw puzzle. You have your main concept or the picture of what you want to present. Bring in all the different elements – the formalities of thanking people and welcoming the groom into the family and talking about your daughter and so forth – and put the pieces together.
Tip#4: Use humour and poignancy
A little bit of humour can be a great aspect of a Father of the Bride speech.
A few humorous remarks will be well-received and can show your enthusiasm for the event. One way to do this is through the stories that you tell.
Stories about your daughter and her soon-to-be husband will hopefully come naturally. Speak from the heart and talk about what elements of the bride and groom you most admire.
Remember – the Father of the Bride speech should compliment the couple. The Best Man may tell embarrassing stories or poke fun, but the cringe-factor is not for the dad.
End on a fairly poignant note if you can.
Ideally your speech will be short and sharp. You want to be within a three to five minute timeframe. Remember that there will be a lot of speeches at a wedding.
Tip#5: Familiarise yourself with your speech
Don’t push yourself to memorise the entire speech if you can’t. You can easily provide yourself with notes and cue-cards to guide yourself through the speech.
But you should definitely be familiar with speech so that you can offer a smooth and confident delivery.
One way to do this is with your mobile phone or other recording device. Read from your notes and record yourself speaking. Then play it back to yourself. This is a great way to hear if things aren’t flowing consistently or if you’re speaking too fast or too slow.
Tip#6: Practise with someone else
You obviously want your speech to be a surprise for the bride and groom. But it’s a good idea to practise in front of someone else. This could be your spouse or another child or a good friend.
Speaking in front of somebody will help you recognise when something doesn’t flow. You can also benefit from any advice that they have to offer.
Don’t be afraid to change your speech if something isn’t quite working. But also don’t feel like you have to change your speech. Accept or reject the advice as you see fit. Ultimately the Father of the Bride speech will be your own.
Tip#7: Have two copies of your speech
It’s always good to have a back-up plan. You don’t want to be caught unaware if something should go missing. Have two neatly-written copies of your speech and keep track of where they are at all times!
And don’t rely on your mobile phone or any other device. It’s always safer to have a paper-copy of your speech.
Another good idea is to bump up the font size. Do anything that will make giving your speech easier for you.
Tip#8: Use pauses
You need to pause for reaction.
This is not only important in getting a laugh from your jokes but also in building emotion.
Tip#9: Use eye contact
Look at the groom when you’re speaking about the groom. Like at the bride when you’re speaking about the bride. And try to look around the room in general as you’re talking.
This will help to engage the audience and communicate your message.
Tip#10: Hold the alcohol
Save the glass of red until after the speech.
You want to have a clear head as you’re speaking. You will have earned a drink when you’re finished!
Feel free to get in touch if you have any more questions about creating your Father of the Bride speech. My email is [email protected]. I’ll be happy to forward any questions or advice on to my Dad.