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How write an original father of the bride speech

10 tips to help you write a father of the bride speech that is original and unique

Your daughter’s getting married. You need to write a father of the bride speech. This may have been the moment you’ve been dreaming of since she was born. Or maybe you’re not ready to accept that your little girl has grown up and doesn’t need you as much anymore. Or maybe you feel this demonstration of patriarchal dominance is all a bit gauche and as her mother; you have just as much to say as her father and will in fact be doing the speaking for him.

Writing a father of the bride’s speech can be a daunting task. Some believe that everything that they feel about their daughter has to be encapsulated in this ten-minute speech. I’m here to tell you: It doesn’t. The wealth of experiences and emotions that you’ve shared with her for the past few decades cannot be summed up in a 10-minute speech. I’m not going to help you do that because it can’t be done. But what I can do is offer you some pointers that will help you write an original father of the bride speech that will make her proud.

I’ve seen a lot of father of the bride speeches. Some speeches were great, some were okay but some have been downright cringeworthy. Here are my top tips for writing a father of the bride speech taken from watching the great ones to help you avoid yours falling in the latter category.

You’ll probably notice that I’ve given a few more don’ts than dos here. That’s because it is actually relatively simple to write a father of the bride speech. It only gets problematic when you start adding more to it than you need to or get carried away. If you keep it simple and avoid the traps, you will deliver a speech that’s perfect for you.

1. Write a father of the bride speech simply

A lot of people see speech writing as a major hurdle. People worry that they have to write the perfect father of the bride speech with the perfect amount of humour and sentiment. This scares a lot of people and is the entire reason that there is such a job as a wedding speech writer. But let’s be honest here, unless you’re a prize-winning author or a stand-up comedian you’re never going to hit such high expectations. Let’s simplify things. The best father of the bride speeches hit three notes. Who she was, who she is and who she has yet to become. Past, present and future if you will.

  • Who she was. Talk a little about her growing up and your experience of parenthood.
  • Who she is. Talk about her character and what makes you most proud of her.
  • Who she has yet to become. Today is a new start for her with her husband. Talk a little about their relationship and how he has influenced her. Plus include some of your hopes for their future.

If you have any (short) anecdotes about them as a couple or about your new son in law then feel free to add them in between who she is and who she’ll become. It’s also a lovely gesture to thank her mother (no matter where your relationship currently stands) for all of her hard work in raising your daughter. That can go pretty much anywhere that it’ll fit.

Beyond these things, there’s no more that you need to add. So, don’t overcomplicate it or put unnecessary pressure on yourself. You can write an original father of the bride speech without the need of a script writer or lengthy templates just by focusing on these three topics.

2. Time gentlemen please

I’m going to keep this brief. Keep your father of the bride speech under ten minutes. Aim for eight, as on the day you will most likely go over slightly.

I once had to endure an epic father of the bride speech whilst the poor guests stood on a stone staircase. The groom had to intervene at fifty minutes, then postpone all of the other speeches as dinner was going cold. Don’t make the same mistake. All that I’ve mentioned above can be said in under ten minutes.

father of the bride speech men smoking

3. An original Father of the bride speech is not about you

No offence intended. You are most probably an incredible human being. I mean, you raised a brilliant daughter, didn’t you? However, this speech is not an excuse to regale the audience with tales of your accomplishments. Today your biggest achievement is her.

I’m sorry to say that I’ve seen far too many speeches where father’s end up on ego trips. It’s terribly uncomfortable to watch someone continuously crowbar in anecdotes about their own achievements when you’ve come to hear about the achievements of someone else. Make sure that you write a father of the bride speech that is actually about your daughter and her spouse, you can tell the story of you some other time.

4. You’re not getting her a  job

Speaking of your daughter’s achievements, remember why you’re there. You’re not interviewing for a high-level managerial position on her behalf.

No matter how proud of her you are, don’t focus all of your attention on a single aspect of her life.  I once saw a father of the bride so proud of his daughter’s academic achievements that he invited her university tutor to read out all of her academic accolades and workplace successes. She was mortified and the guests bored.

For us British in particular, constant praise can be a little embarrassing. By all means mention the areas of her life that you are most proud of, but keep your speech moving forward and for the love of all that is good, don’t read out her CV!

write a father of the bride speech i loved her first dancing

5. I loved her first

This is an emotional day for many people. Sometimes music or a song can capture that emotion in its entirety and speak to you at your very core.

That song is NOT I loved her first by Heartland. It’s a truly gut wrenchingly cringeworthy song that is actually a thinly veiled threat to her new spouse. Don’t sing it. Don’t play it. Don’t perform an interpretive dance to it. Don’t even think about it. In fact, unless a song has a readily established emotional connection between the two of you, don’t sing at all.

6. Sometimes it’s rude to say thank-you

It’s always polite to say thank you. Unless that is, you’re stood in front of a roomful of people hungry for their dinner or itching for the dancefloor.

Quite frequently I’ve seen the father of the bride assume the groom’s role in thanking people. But not for the wedding, oh no, for literally anything that anyone has done in the last fifty years. From thanking cousin Emma for babysitting that one time through to thanking the Faulkner’s for inviting you to holiday in France in 1998, I’ve heard it all. One father of the bride proceeded to mention and thank each and every person in a marquee seating a hundred guests.

Unless the person has made a very significant contribution to the life of your daughter or her spouse, thank them in person. Later.

However, it is absolutely okay to thank the parents of the groom and more importantly the mother of the bride. I don’t care if you divorced 17 years ago over a flat tyre on the M6. At some point in the past you loved a child into existence and her mother has most likely had just as much input in her life as you have.

 7. A political minefield

One of the most beautiful speeches I’ve ever heard came from an Asian man whose daughter was marrying a gentleman with mixed heritage. It was the day that the EU referendum results had been announced. It was the most beautiful and politically charged father of the bride speech I’ve ever witnessed. You could see and hear his heartbreak as he spoke about the beauty of multiculturalism and the importance of investing in the future for our children. He managed to make this speech without once mentioning the referendum. He made his feelings very clear without alienating anyone there, no matter how they had voted. This is very difficult to do. I know as I’ve seen too many people take up their soap box only to lose half the room or realise that they have severely misjudged the political leanings of everyone else in the room. Again, sorry to say it’s usually the father of the bride. So, steer clear of politics, especially in today’s incredibly charged, “them vs us” landscape.

Also steer clear of family politics. Now is not the time to air your grievances about your ex-wife’s handling of the M6 tyre puncture situation of ’04 or your brother’s inability to show gratitude for your financial support of his unicycle rental business.

This might seem obvious to some but I’ve seen people use speeches as an opportunity to take a swipe in a long running feud. Much to the bride and groom’s dismay. So… don’t.

original father of the bride speech father and daughter embrace

 8. write an original father of the bride speech with original material

Google is not your friend (…Unless you found this article via Google of course.)

One of the first things that most people seem to do when writing a speech is Google jokes for it. Let me just tell you now. Everyone is Googling the same thing and getting the same jokes. So, if anyone has been to a wedding in the last five years they’ve probably already heard the “Aisle, alter, hymn” joke or the one about “getting up from a warm seat with paper in my hand”

I’ve seen so many people try too hard to add in jokes only for them to fall flat or add in so many Googled jokes that any actual sentiment has been lost.
Unless you’re a stand-up Comedian, no one is expecting your speech to be hilarious. Just write and speak as you would naturally and then any humour will come out naturally.

 9. how to start to write a father of the bride speech

I’m not a speech writer by trade but a lot of the areas of my passtimes involve writing. Here’s a simple technique that may help you get started if you’re struggling.

Make a note of anything that pops into your head that you might want to say, just a note. Be it an anecdote or a sentiment or even a joke (provided you didn’t google it; I know you’re tempted). Then use a highlighter or make a note to see whether it fits one of the categories we mentioned right at the start. Who she Was, who she is or who she/they’ll become. If it’s a thank-you, does it fit into one of those sections or does it need to go in a separate thank-yous section. If you have anecdotes about the groom does it fit into the section about them as a couple or does it too need a section of its own.

Re-write your list grouped into those sections and you have the basic content for your speech. If it looks like you’ve got a lot there the next step is to look at what each idea says or means. Write next to each one a quick note of what it demonstrates of your relationship, her personality, their relationship or your hopes for them. If you’ve got a few ideas down that are pretty much saying the same thing you can either group them together within their section or take one or two out if the speech is getting long.

Hopefully by doing this you will have a better ordered speech or you may even notice certain themes running through it that you can take a hold of. If anything at least it will help prevent any rambling should you be prone to such a thing.

 10. practice your father of the bride speech

Now you’re probably thinking either “I have meticulously penned a speech worthy of the great bard himself” or “…I’m just gonna bullet point it”. Both of these are perfectly fine approaches to writing a father of the bride speech but if you want to deliver the best speech you can, it’s best to practice it. Even if you’re going to wing it with a few bullet points, practice winging it.

Practicing means that firstly, you can work out how long your speech is and secondly know which parts are likely to trip you up. Familiarity with the words will also make your delivery more precise and interesting to listen to for your audience.

If you don’t regularly speak in front of large groups of people then practice will also help boost your own confidence in your delivery as well. If you’re nervous about it, you will feel a lot less nervous if you know that getting the words to actually come out of your mouth isn’t a problem.

Fun wedding day couple posing
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