How to Write a Father of the Groom Speech

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Photo by Cinzia Bruschini

Your child’s wedding is likely one of the most highly anticipated moments of your life...until you remember one of your duties that day is giving a speech. If you’re less than excited about public speaking, take some comfort in knowing that the father of the groom speech is typically reserved for the rehearsal dinner (usually a much smaller audience than the wedding day crowd!). 

There’s a multitude of emotions flowing as your son’s wedding day approaches, but anxiety shouldn’t be one of them. Below, professional wedding vow writer and speechwriter Katelyn Peterson outlines the ideal template for a father of the groom speech and shares go-to tips to hook your audience and release the pre-speech jitters. 

Meet the Expert

Katelyn Peterson is the founder of Wedding Words, a service specialized in crafting custom vows, speeches, and toasts to remove stress and spark excitement for engaged couples and their wedding party. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, and Bustle.

Father of the Groom Speech Template 

Pepper in a healthy dose of your personality and follow these general guidelines to sound like a public speaking pro:

  1. Introduce yourself. Keep it simple, state your name and relation to the couple, and cut the fluff, Peterson says. “For example, ‘Hello, everyone. I'm Craig Jones and I'm the father of the groom.’ There is no need to add this line: ‘For those of you who don't know me…’ It's unnecessary, and doesn't add any impact to your delivery.” 
  2. Share a few short stories. Share two to three short stories about your son that showcase his positive traits, only sharing details that serve the goal of that story. “And make sure all the stories share a common theme so they flow into one another while also providing an overarching point to your speech.” 
  3. Recognize your son’s new spouse. Be sure to note what you appreciate or list the qualities you admire about your son's new spouse. Peterson says this part should detail why you're happy to welcome them into your family and it’s a nice touch to include at least one story about them in this section, too. What if you don't know your son's new spouse too well? “No problem," Peterson exclaims. "Focus on why your son loves this person and use those details as an opportunity to say something positive about them.”
  4. Share well wishes. Communicate advice or your wishes for the couple. This is the section you use to describe the future you hope they share together. 
  5. Close with a toast. “Tie the speech together with a strong last line,” Peterson says. “Keep it short and try to tie it back to the theme of your speech.” 

Father of the Groom Speech Tips

Here are Peterson’s best tips for writing and delivering your father of the groom speech.

  1. Keep it short and sweet. Your speech should fall between three and six minutes. Anything longer, and it’s likely you'll start to lose the crowd's attention. 
  2. Don’t stress about memorizing. “Do not feel like you have to memorize your speech,” Peterson shares. “Print your speech on paper and practice it enough so that you can make eye contact while reciting.”
  3. Cut any COVID-19 references. Couples have spent too much time re-planning their wedding due to COVID and don’t need to be reminded of what caused them so much stress and possibly sadness. 
  4. Keep "thank you's" concise. If you have more than two to four specific people to thank, do not list names and instead thank generalized groups. Peterson says “if you find yourself listing seven people from your new daughter-in-law's side, instead simply say, ‘I'd especially like to thank the Myer's family for their continued support and love in our son's life.’" 
  5. Share stories with purpose. “Good stories are what will make your speech,” Peterson reveals. “So focus on telling stories that are funny and entertaining, but also have a sweet and serious moment.” Above all, she notes that every story should have a purpose, such as highlighting a positive trait about your son or his spouse. If you can't find that in the story, remove it and include a new anecdote. 
  6. Be aware of body language. Pay attention to your body language and know how to properly use the microphone. When you move your head, the mic should travel with you to pick up your voice. Make sure the mic is close enough to pick up your voice but not so close that it covers your face. 
  7. Enlist a professional. Don't feel like you’re on your own if you’re not a strong writer or speaker; there are professional wedding speech writers who specialize in taking your thoughts and articulating them into a sweet and funny moment

Peterson recommends printing out your speech on one sheet of paper that you can easily reference. She advises against reading from your phone and warns that note cards can easily fall out of order. 

Get Brainstorming! 

Now that you know the secrets to speech-giving success, here are some questions to ask yourself to start getting the words flowing.

  • What are some of your favorite memories of your son as a kid? 
  • What qualities does your son have that will serve his marriage? 
  • How does this couple balance each other? 
  • What was your initial impression of your son's new spouse? 
  • What makes you happy to be celebrating this wedding? 
  • How do you envision their future together? 

Father of the Groom Speech Examples to Make Your Own

Get inspired by this real-life example of a light and funny father-of-the-groom speech that showcases a combination of humor, warmth, and personality for this heartfelt moment. 

“I think I’ve met almost everyone, but I’m Doug. I’m Andy’s dad, and his mom is over there– that’s Jenny. I’m a little bit nervous so I have notes. I may refer to those because I don’t want to forget anything. And I can be emotional with things like this, so I want this to be interactive—if I get choked up and start crying you all should feel free to do the same, or if I tell a joke if you guys could go ahead and laugh that would be great! 

Before I go too far, I want to acknowledge Tracy’s parents: Dave and Linda. They’ve put a ton of time and effort and hard work into the planning for tomorrow. Jenny and I have had a great time getting to know them over the last few years. We don’t think of you guys as Andy’s in-laws, we think of you as family. 

And now on to the wedding couple...a little over 25 years ago, Andy was born—don’t worry, I won’t go through every year—but I remember the feeling of excitement and how proud Jenny and I were to be new parents. We watched Andy grow up into a wonderful young man with unquestioning integrity and strong values and it’s those same feelings of excitement and pride that get echoed tomorrow as the two of you get married.

As your kids grow up you want them to have the absolute best. Andy was very fortunate when he met Tracy six years ago, and when he gets married tomorrow I know he truly has found the best for him and we can’t wait to call her our daughter. There are certain couples you see together and you say ‘they were just meant to be,’ and Tracy and Andy have that type of relationship. They are the perfect match, like bread and butter, or like Forrest Gump would say, "peas and carrots," or as my wife would say, "wine and cheese!"

This is the point where I get to be a dad and offer some fatherly advice, some words of wisdom.

There are seven words that are essential to having a successful marriage: 'Yes, dear', 'you were right', and 'I’m sorry.'

You’ll have disagreements and you’ll have arguments, and when that happens never stop communicating, always talk things out. And remember that communicating isn’t just talking, it’s also listening. Try to see things from their perspective. But when it’s all said and done, with those seven words, everything will be fine. 

Getting married is the journey of a lifetime, it’s when you find your soulmate and you make a promise to that person they will always be your soulmate. It was once said that getting married and having a successful marriage is like falling in love over and over again with the same person. If you pursue your marriage with love, and compassion, and understanding, you’ll be on your way to that journey of a lifetime. Jenny and I love you both unconditionally, and we’re so proud of you both. Without further ado, here’s a toast to a long, happy, healthy marriage blessed with unending love.”

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