Speech Therapy

Offer your father-of-the-bride toast as guests sit down for the first course—this will help keep the reception flowing smoothly. Since you won't be the only person giving a speech (the floor should be offered to the groom's parents next, followed by the best man and maid of honor), make sure to limit your time to five minutes, tops. If you're a gifted public speaker with lots of charisma, have at it. But if you need a little help in the speech-making department, use our can't-fail template.


If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. That is, if you're less than thrilled about the union, this is not the time to express it.


The key to a great toast is to sound genuine and unrehearsed. If you aren't the type to dole out compliments, don't feel compelled to say something phony. Just focus on what the day's been like for you as a father.


Make sure the story you tell doesn't skew offensive or overly embarrassing. And steer clear of inside jokes, which will be lost on a large group.


Clearly, this is not the time to reveal the details of your failed marriage or discuss the rising divorce rate in America. If you have a solid marriage and want to offer some helpful, non-cheesy advice, then guests will be glad to hear it. If not, skip it!

And just a few other things...

There's a big difference between keeping the toast warm and humorous and needing a "ba-dum-ching!" after every sentence. No one's expecting a Jon Stewart monologue. Just be yourself—unless you're drunk.

Get creative. If you're musically inclined and feel you won't completely embarrass your daughter (or yourself), turn your toast into a song by rewriting the words of a favorite tune you can easily sing. Or, work the other way around and quote the lyrics of a song that's meaningful to you.

Don't be afraid to go off-book. You should certainly outline the speech beforehand, but you don't have to read it word for word. Use it as a jumping-off point and let the speech take on a more conversational tone.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Prepare the speech at least a week (really) before the wedding and practice by performing it aloud to a small audience (perhaps the family dog or cat?) so you'll be comfortable when the time comes.

More for Dad:
Father-of-the-Bride Advice
Father-of-the-Bride Attire

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