The father of the bride's wedding toast is one of the most highly anticipated speeches, and, likely, one you've been excited (or dreading) to give for a very long time. It is the moment that everyone knows to get their tissues out for, because it's almost impossible not to shed a tear during a good father-of-the-bride speech. Now that the moment is growing closer and 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 your sentiments, it's those very emotions that are often the star of the show. So feel free to let those feelings flow through your speech, and watch as the crowd falls under your sentimental paternal spell. With that said, even the most eloquent dads can struggle with getting those words down on paper.
So, to get you started, we've created an easy guideline to follow when framing your thoughts into a full-fledged speech, curated some top-notch tips for writing that sure-to-be epic father-of-the-bride speech, and even including a list of brainstorming ideas to jump start the creative process. Read on to create and deliver the most memorable toast of the day.
Father-of-the-Bride Speech Template
Sometimes the easiest way to get the words down is to have an outline to work with so your thoughts can be well organized, and not a rambling stream of consciousness. Here are some key factors to include in the toast that should help you find your flow.
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.
2. Give thanks. Since you're the guy with the mic, don't forget to express your gratitude to 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.
Don't forget your own spouse! Give a nice little shout out to your partner, and thank them for helping you raise such a wonderful daughter and sharing in your pride on this special day.
3. Consider past, present, and future. These are some main components that should be present in the speech. Think of a few key points from your relationship with your daughter in the past, discuss notable things that are occurring presently, and speak about the shared future of the newlyweds together. This makes for a good framework to keep in mind when organizing your thoughts, and you can even try to include an overarching theme or tone for the speech as a whole. You can get creative with the flow, but a classic chronological order is always easy for the guest's to follow. The end result is cohesive and meaningful content that will come across as inspired and have the audience hanging off of every word.
4. Pepper in some fond memories. Nothing gets the waterworks started like some heartfelt anecdotes from the bride's lifetime, through the eyes of her 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 her adolescence. If one of those special memories includes her SO, definitely be sure to share that with the guests.
5. Include your daughter's new spouse. While you have so much to say about the bride, remember to mention and acknowledge her new spouse, too. Take this time to welcome them into your family, and share what it means to you that they are marrying your daughter.
6. 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 her resumé though, only pick a couple of standout highlights that really speak to her character.
Remember that half of 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 her best qualities and character traits.
7. Acknowledge 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 little girl 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, dad. Today is the day when it's perfectly okay to shed a tear or two.
8. Tell her you love her. That's your baby girl right there and this is the moment to tell her just how much she means to you. Express how much you love and cherish your daughter. Remind her of how you've treasured your relationship together and how you think that relationship may be evolving or staying exactly the same.
9. Add some parting wisdom. Whether it's a piece of marriage advice or just your most heartfelt wishes for the newlyweds' future, pepper in 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 you want to include, take note of these essential tips to giving the best father-of-the-bride speech anyone has ever heard.
1. Keep it short. Though you've been waiting for this day to come for many years, try to keep your toast short and sweet. 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 for her to read privately on her wedding morning.
2. Don't be too embarrassing. Skip the stories that may make your daughter cringe or those memories that she wishes you would just forget already. Remember, the speech is a toast and not a roast. Keep in mind that along with her newly-minted spouse, her entire 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.
3. Skip ex mentions. If you have an urge to call out how terrible some of her 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-his-name. Stick to positive anecdotes and memories that showcase your daughter's good side, not her mistakes.
4. Don't push for laughs. Often times, you'll get laughs when you're not trying hard for them and they just emerge organically. 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. It's important to remain true to yourself and not put on a show for the crowd. The most important person in the room, your daughter, will definitely know if you're not being yourself, and all she really needs is her dad—not a comedian.
5. 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. There is no exception. Even if you give TED Talks for a living, your emotions will absolutely get the best of you on that special day and leave you tongue-tied.
Body language is just as important as the words you choose to say, so rehearse your speech in front of a mirror to figure out how you want to position yourself, where to keep your hands, and ensure that you're smiling.
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 her 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.)
In need of some extra inspiration before you start penning your father-of-the-bride speech? Check out our tips for mother-of-the-bride speeches that you can use as well.
Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.