How to Write a Tear-Jerking Father of the Bride Speech

Brides, you're going to want to flag this for Dad!

Father giving a heartfelt speech at a wedding

Photo by Ryan Ray

The father of the bride toast is one of the most highly anticipated speeches of any wedding reception. If you're a dad, you've likely looked forward to (or dreaded) giving this speech for a very long time. Now that the moment is growing closer, it's important to sit down and write a toast that not only you're proud of, but that your daughter will remember for a lifetime. While it might seem difficult to find the right words to express the endless love you have for your daughter, it's those very emotions that are often the star of the show. So, feel free to let those feelings flow through your speech—you'll likely see most of the guests grab their tissues.

With that said, even the most eloquent dads can struggle with getting those words down on paper. So, to get you started, we created an easy guideline to follow when you're sitting down to frame your thoughts into a full-fledged speech. We've compiled some top-notch tips for writing that sure-to-be epic father of the bride speech, plus a list of brainstorming ideas to jump-start the creative process.

Father of the Bride Toast Tips
Jiaqi Zhou/Brides

Read on for advice on how to write and deliver your father of the bride speech—the most memorable toast of the day.

Father of the Bride Speech Template

Here's a general outline for writing a father of the bride speech that’ll have everyone reaching for tissues.

1. Welcome the guests. Typically, the parents of the couple are the first to speak at either the rehearsal dinner or the wedding reception. If you're the first toast-maker of the night, this would be the time to welcome all of the guests to the reception or whichever event you are delivering the speech at. Of course, feel free to skip this step if you're not the first speech and the guests have already been welcomed.

2. Give thanks. Since you have the mic, don't forget to express gratitude. Be sure to thank your friends and family for coming to the wedding, and the parents of your daughter's new spouse for anything and everything that they did.

4. Pepper in some fond memories. Nothing gets the waterworks started like some heartfelt anecdotes from the bride's lifetime through the eyes of their beloved dad. Choose some especially warm memories from your little girl's childhood that always stick out in your mind or some funny (not embarrassing) trials from adolescence. If one of those special memories includes their S.O., definitely be sure to share that with the guests.

5. Share your pride. As the father of the bride, you're entitled to be a very proud papa. Mention some especially big moments of pride for you and how much you cherish your daughter's achievements. Don't confuse this with an excuse to spout off their résumé, though. Only pick a couple of standout highlights that really speak to their character.

Remember that half the guests in attendance probably won't know your daughter all that well, so this is an excellent time to low-key introduce them to their best qualities and character traits.

6. Talk about the present. Try not to live completely in the past, Dad! Discuss notable things that are occurring presently, on this momentous day as it's unfolding. While everyone is experiencing the events from their own perspective, your special POV provides a unique lens on the significance of the occasion.

7. Acknowledge your daughter's new spouse. While you have so much to say about the bride, remember to mention and acknowledge their new spouse, too. Take this time to welcome them into your family and share what it means to you. You can also share some anecdotes of their relationship and what stood out to you most.

8. Tell your daughter you love them. That's your baby right there, and this is the moment to tell them just how much they mean to you. Express how much you love and cherish your daughter. Remind them of how you've treasured your relationship together and how you think that relationship may be evolving or staying exactly the same.

9. Look to the future. You've covered the past and present, now move on to the next chapter and speak about the shared future of the newlyweds. While you can always get creative with the flow of the speech, breaking things down in a classic chronological order is always easy for the guests to follow.

10. Add some parting wisdom. Whether it's a piece of marriage advice or just your most heartfelt wishes for the newlyweds, include some sage wisdom for the happy couple. This is pinnacle dad-talk time, so be sure to really relish the moment. Just don't forget that there are other people present, and it's not just you and your daughter.

Father of the Bride Speech Tips

Okay, dads. Now that you have a general idea of what to include, take note of these essential tips for giving the best father of the bride speech anyone has ever heard.

1. Consider a theme. Having an overarching theme from the get-go will set a tone for the speech as a whole. This should make it easier for you to succinctly organize your thoughts and choose relevant examples to showcase. Utilizing this type of framework will result in cohesive and meaningful content that will come across as inspired and have the audience hanging on every word.

2. Keep it short. Though you've been waiting for this day to come for many years, try to keep your toast short and sweet. The ideal length is about five or six minutes with the three-minute mark being your lowest threshold for a proper speech. There may be a lot you want to say, and if that's the case, consider writing some of those heartfelt sentiments down beforehand and giving it to your daughter in a card to read privately the morning of the wedding.

3. Don't be too embarrassing. Skip the stories that may make your daughter cringe or those memories that they wish you would just forget already. Remember, the speech is a toast and not a roast. Keep in mind that along with their newly minted spouse, a whole new family of in-laws and possibly even a few work colleagues will be present. So, if there's something you're on the fence about saying, consider if you would think the information appropriate for your in-laws and colleagues to learn about you.

4. Skip ex mentions. If you have an urge to call out how terrible some ex-boyfriends or girlfriends were in the past, skip that little tidbit and keep it to yourself. There's never any good that can come from name-dropping old lovers at your daughter's wedding, no matter how much you really disliked old what's-their-name. Stick to positive anecdotes and memories that showcase your daughter's good side, not mistakes.

5. Don't push for laughs. Oftentimes, you'll get laughs when you're not trying hard for them. Don't feel like you have to color your toast with joke line after joke line—it may come off as forced, especially if you're not normally the jokester in the bunch. The most important person in the room, your daughter, will definitely know if you're not being yourself, and all they really need is their dad—not a comedian.

6. Embrace your emotions. It's an absolute given that this is an emotional day for you, so don't feel the need to act stoic and put up a façade. Stay genuine and admit to how difficult it is to let your child go. These admissions make for a touching moment, and we guarantee there won't be a dry eye left in the room. And we mean you, too, pops. Today is the day when it's perfectly okay to shed a tear or two.

7. Practice, practice, practice. And then practice some more. It's important that you attempt to memorize your speech, and at the very least, have everything written down and a general idea of what you want to say. If memorizing the whole speech is a little too difficult to do in such a short amount of time, be sure to practice it enough beforehand so that you can make eye contact with the couple and the other guests.

Get Brainstorming!

If you're still drawing a blank, here are some questions to ask yourself to start brainstorming.

  • Who is speaking directly before or after me? (You may want to introduce the next speaker or reference whoever spoke previously.)
  • What emotions do I experience when I think of letting my daughter go?
  • What do I wish for their marriage and life together, and how can I prepare them for that?
  • Is there anything I would like to say to their in-laws or newly acquired family?
  • Is there something in the order of events that the audience needs to know, prepare for, or be aware of? (Your role can also assume that of master of ceremonies, so be mindful of the flow of upcoming events and if you need to alert the guests.)

Related Stories