Give a fab father-of-the-bride speech

Worried about your dad's speech? Tuck this advice in his coat pocket as he prepares for your big day.
Help your dad feel confident when he gives his speech | Getty Images
Help your dad feel confident when he gives his speech | Getty Images

When does the father-of-the-bride gives his speech?

At most weddings, the father of the bride is the first to speak, usually during or towards the end of the meal. Of course, you don't have to follow any wedding traditions. You can always get the speeches out of the way before the meal. That way, you (and the other speakers) can enjoy the rest of the evening.

Read more: The order of wedding speeches explained

How do you structure a father-of-the-bride speech?

A good speech should last 6-7 minutes. “Write down the headings you want to cover in the speech – such as ‘welcome’, ‘thanks’, bride’s early years’, ‘her career’, ‘how she met the groom’ etc,” says Gavin Matthews, of speech writing company “This breaks it down and makes it easier to write.” Round the speech off by welcoming the groom into your family, and offer some words of wisdom on marriage. “If it’s been a humorous speech, drop in a little sentiment,” says Gavin. “Tell your daughter how proud you are of her – you’ve made them laugh, now make them cry!”

Read more: How to give the best bride's speech

Should you do a humorous father-of-the-bride speech?

Be entertaining without being crass. “There are two things to remember when telling stories and jokes,” says Gavin. “Firstly, how funny are they? If you find them funny, but your friends don’t, leave them out. More importantly, ensure stories don’t embarrass your daughter. Imagine her reaction  if you told the story at a family party. Would she laugh or be embarrassed? There’s your answer.” Also keep each story or joke as short as possible. If people don’t respond well, it doesn’t matter because you’ll have moved on to another one.

Read more: What not to say in the best man's speech

How formal should the speech be?

Don’t approach your speech with a huge amount of formality – just imagine you’re telling a story to friends. This will also help you relax.

Read more: 19 incredibly touching father-of-the-bride photos

Which practical tips help make the speech successful?

  • Try and learn your speech: “You don’t need to know it by heart,” says Gavin, “but read it over and over again in the lead-up to the wedding so that it’s familiar. You’ll feel much more confident and relaxed.”
  • Make copies: Make several copies of your speech and give them to friends/siblings. “Many people panic about losing their speech – if you have a few copies, this won’t be an issue,” says Gavin.
  • Take your time: The slower and clearer your speech, the better it will be received. Gavin recommends using a microphone: “You’ll sound louder and clear,” he says. “And don’t be afraid to pause for effect after a joke or after you say something you want the audience to appreciate.”

Read more: Wedding speeches - everything you need to know

  • Watch your drink: Have one or two drinks beforehand to calm the nerves, but no more.
  • Animate: ”Using your hands to help explain things will make you feel more confident and relaxed,” says Gavin.
  • Have fun! You’re surrounded by friends and family – they don't care if you fluff your lines. This is your moment to be a proud father-of-the-bride – try and take in every second of it. Finish off with a toast to the bride and groom. Have a drink – you’ll have earned it!

Read more: Expert tips for your wedding speeches


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30/03/2015 at 00:30

What if my dad has not longed dyed what do I do ? 😔


05/09/2007 at 17:20

yes - i intend to of sorts - to thank everyone and esp family for attending and their help.
also at some stage want to have 'owl and the pussycat' read out - we love it but already have 2 readings at ceremony which i've been recommended by registrar will be enough.
i may recite it at the reception if i have the nerve.


05/09/2007 at 08:54

Thought that was fab...i made a speech and i just made it up on the spot...mine was much shorter and i just made it through that...i was very tearful as were all my friends and if mine was any longer i would have cracked!!
Make sure someone is near with the refills of champers..helped me!
flo x


05/09/2007 at 07:07

i want 2 make a speech because altho my dad and my h2b and best man r there r things i want 2 say that noone else knows so i am making a speech even tho h2b dont agree with it


05/09/2007 at 04:49

I didn't and I wished I had now, because my husband (Oooh!) didn't prepare his even though he promised me he would, and so some of the thankyou's weren't said properly or to all the right people, grrr...


05/09/2007 at 04:01

I really want to, as there are people I would probably like to thank that won't be thanked by FOB, BM and H2B, but my dad is such a blether I'm sure he'll talk for about an hour!


05/09/2007 at 03:52

heck no - its been that much stress organising the wedding & having v.important interview for a job that could change my life that both mum & i are relieved that we dont have to say anything we can just chill (& get sloshed)


04/09/2007 at 23:12

I want to - I just don't think I can do it!! I am going to say one at our party the next day though - not as many people and not as emotional!

I went to a wedding where the bride not only did a great speech, but she was the MC! It was brilliant - suited the both of them perfectly!


04/09/2007 at 18:40

i am planning to give a speech at the wedding. i dont really mind speaking in front of a crowd and i wat my chance to thank the people who have been involved and who have had to listen to my endless chatting on about cake/flowers/dress/photos/dress/dress/dress!!!!!
think maybe the best man may give a speech but i am not to bothered about those traditions. as long as my new husband and i manage to say a few words then i will be happy!!!


04/09/2007 at 17:59

Could you and H2B make a joint speech rather than you make one totally on your own?


04/09/2007 at 17:40

LOL! Im terriefied of taking my vows I'd rather whispher them!!!! I am always the one who walks out of the loo with my skirt in my knickers or trips up when everyone is looking!!!! I really thought I would be ok with walking in and saying my vows then I thought of 70 pairs of eyes looking at me!!!!!!!! Yesterday I was saying my vows in my head (practice makes perfect and my record of fluffing everything!!) and I got really emotional so now I have to worry where to stash the box of Kleenex in my dress!!!!!!!! So now I really don't don't know If Im goingto be able to stand up!!!!!!!


04/09/2007 at 17:40

I'm planning to make a speech - there are people that I want to thank and recognise and it just doesn't seem quite right for me to sit there mutely and not say anything. I don't think it will be quite as witty as Maria's though - good speech! I might pinch bits of it!


04/09/2007 at 17:29

I'm okay with writing it, its delivering it I'm worried about!


04/09/2007 at 17:27


That was a great speech all I could come up with was thanks for being here!!!!!! It was personal too with comedy! Thats definately given some ideas!!! I was really scared that writing the had to be done at the last minute but I think it does need some careful prep to say everything we want! Thanks for the preview you should use it! I just hope I can get past the first three words!


04/09/2007 at 17:20

I am as my Dad does not want to give one although I'm not sure if mine will be okay. I'll post it and you can read through what I have, although I daresay it will get ammended at some point.

Those of you who know me quite well probably aren't surprised that I wanted to say a few words today. Those of you who know me very well will be surprised if it is only a few!
Thank you all for coming. It's a great feeling to look around this room and see our family and friends hopefully enjoying themselves together.
Of course, there are some faces missing from this celebration. I'd like to make a toast to the people we know and love who for whatever reasons are unable to be with us today. Ladies and Gentlemen, would you please stand and raise your glasses to 'Absent Friends and Loved Ones'.

Now I don't mean to bore you with repetition, but I would like to say a few personal thank you's to some very important people who have contributed enormously to our day:-

Starting with the unsung heroine of this wedding, my sister Jane, who has put up with my endless talk on just about anything and everything connected to the wedding. Thank you for listening when what you really wanted to do was slap me. I am grateful for your love and support, especially during the walk home from the hen night!
I would also like to thank Rob, the best man, for making sure that Tim turned up today, on time, properly dressed and at the right church. You have carried out your duties with expertise and without you Tim might have put the ring on the wrong finger and found himself married to the vicar.
I would like to thank Tim's parents, Anne especially, for the kindness that they have shown me from the first day I met them and for welcoming me in to their family as they have done.
I'd also like to thank my parents for everything they have done for me, and today I feel I have partly repaid them by bringing them a new son who will without a doubt be far less troublesome than I have been.
A special big thank you to Christopher Adam and Molly, today would not have been the same without you.
To the rest of you who have helped and assisted to make this day as special as it has been a big heart felt thank you goes to each and every one of you.
Finally I have to say thank you to my new husband, not only is he a fantastic father to our daughter Evie he is also my best friend. I love you and hope that every day will be as happy as today - just not as expensive!

You'll be pleased to know that's all, thank you for being such wonderful guests and here's to love, laughter and being happy.


04/09/2007 at 17:15

I'm thinking of giving a speech at our wedding as my dad won't be there to give a speech and H2b's best man has only ever met me once? Is there anyone else that is thinking of giving a speech at their wedding? If so who else is giving a speech? How long are you leaving in the timetable for speeches????

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