Your daughter is getting married! This can be an emotional roller coaster for most fathers (or any parent, for that matter). On the one hand, you’re excited to see your child find the love of her life and embark on the next stage of adulthood with a partner she loves. On the other hand, you’re nostalgic for her childhood and those days when she depended on you for everything, and you were her hero.
But before you wallow too much in the emotional weight of the occasion, there’s something else you need to plan that will shift your focus for a bit, and perhaps even provide you with a process to find meaning in all the emotions percolating through your heart: your father of the bride speech! You’ll almost certainly be expected to give one. If you’ve got stage fright, it can be quite the nerve-wracking experience. But even if you don’t, you should take the time to prepare fully, so that you can deliver a speech that does justice to the love you have for your daughter. Don’t be surprised if it makes everyone cry a little!
You’ll probably be the first to speak at the reception, followed by the best man and the maid of honor. There are a few things that your speech should include: welcome remarks to thank everyone for coming, some nice words about your daughter, some nice words about your son-in-law, some parting wisdom for the newlywed couple, and a toast to them as well. Beyond that, however, you can really make this speech your own. Read on for three ways to give a top father of the bride speech.
1. The Heartfelt Speech
The classic speech is simple and straightforward, but it should come from the heart. The more specific details you can include about your daughter and son-in-law, the better. It could go something like this:
“Welcome, everyone, and thank you so much for joining us on this happiest of occasions. It means the world to my family to have you all witness the union of Jane and Jake. This day brings me many mixed emotions. I am incredibly happy to see my beautiful Jane grow into such an amazing young woman and find such a perfect partner with whom to share her life. But of course, I am also sad to say goodbye to my little girl. Jane was the sweetest little girl, and as she’s grown older, she’s lost the pigtails but not her kind heart. Thankfully, I know she will be in good hands with Jake. Jake, welcome to the family. You are an intelligent, hard-working young man. Most importantly, you are kind to my daughter, and I have no doubt that in you she has found the perfect mate. My advice to the two of you is always to love each other, and to carry the happiness of today into the rest of your lives together. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in toasting the new Mr. and Mrs. Smith!”
2. The Funny Speech
The funny speech has one cardinal rule: don’t embarrass the couple (or anyone!). Here’s an example of a way to make your speech humorous:
“Welcome everyone to this joyous occasion. I assure you the Jones clan is on its best behavior tonight as we send off our dear Jane into married bliss. For a real peek at what we’re like, visit us at Christmas time.
My baby Jane is the apple of my eye (don’t tell her sisters!), and I’m so overjoyed that she has found in Jake, such a wonderful partner. Jake is a brilliant young man with the kindest heart, not to mention an abundance of patience, which will serve him well with Jane.
My parting wisdom to the two of you is to be happy. Make jokes. Travel often. And when you have kids, remember to stay sane.
They told me to keep this short, and it’s the one time I’m bound to honor that wish. Ladies and gents, join me in toasting the future Mr. and Mrs. Smith!”
3. The Creative Speech
If you have poetic, musical, or other creative inclinations, you might consider writing a poem or song as your speech. Just make sure you clear this with your daughter first–she won’t want any surprises on her wedding day. Also, make sure you try to cover the parameters laid out above–the poem or song should welcome the crowd, say nice things about your daughter and son in law, include some wisdom for the couple, and have something resembling a toast at the end. (You can also just make the toast after you’ve wrapped up the creative piece.)
There are lots of ways to do a brilliant father of the bride speech. Whatever you choose, make sure it comes from the heart!