Toasting Your Bride And Joy – Our Guide To Writing A Father Of The Bride Speech

black microphone on ceremony table on wedding day

We’re heading into wedding season and at a time when all anyone seems to want to talk about is dresses and flowers and guest lists, there’s one person who might be having the odd sleepless night; the person tasked with giving the Father of the Bride speech.

Public speaking can be pretty daunting at the best of times, never mind on one of the most important days in your daughter’s life and traditionally, the Father of the Bride speech is the first speech at a wedding. It’s often a really proud moment, but how do you sum up all of your feelings in just one short speech? How do you make it heart-warming yet uplifting, emotional yet entertaining?

Well, dry your sweaty palms, because whether you’re a father figure talking about one of the newlyweds, the father of the groom, a step-father, or in a different role entirely, we’ve got some tips and advice that will help make sure you kick off the speeches in style.


Most wedding speeches follow a similar structure:

  • Introduce yourself – explain your relationship to the happy couple, maybe even make a joke as an icebreaker, the good old ‘It wouldn’t be the same without you all here, although it would be a lot cheaper…’ always goes down well. Nobody expects a stand-up routine worthy of a Night at the Apollo, but a cheesy ‘dad joke’ would go down well here if that’s your kind of thing.
  • Thank the guests for attending – this doesn’t have to take long, toasting absent friends is usually part of the best man’s speech.
  • Talk about the bride/happy couple – you could talk about how proud you are of them, maybe tell a few anecdotes (nothing too embarrassing, this isn’t the time to talk about how the bride used to wet the bed) and pay tribute to the person they’ve become.
  • Talk about the spouse – say how proud you are to have them in the family, how you felt when you first met them etc.
  • Give advice – traditionally this is where you’re supposed to pass on your pearls of wisdom about the key to a happy marriage.
  • Toast the happy couple – a toast will end the speech nicely, it doesn’t have to be complicated just ‘I’d like you all to stand and toast the happy couple…’ kind of thing.
people toasting sparkling wine at a wedding

Top Tips

  • Be yourself – This is the most important part; if you like a joke, then tell a couple, but if that’s not for you then leave the gags to the best man. If you easily show your emotions, make it emotional, if you’re not comfortable doing that, keep it light.
  • Keep it short – 3 –5 minutes is fine, preferably no more than 8. It will already have been a long day by the time it gets to the speeches, so keep it snappy.
  • Ask for help – Ask around close family for some amusing/endearing anecdotes, and then read your speech through with someone else.
  • Make notes, don’t read from a script – It’s better to look around and make eye contact with people than just stand reading something off a piece of paper, or even your phone. Use bullet points to remind you what comes next, it will sound much more natural that way.
  • Keep it simple – This isn’t the time to go into long, complicated anecdotes.
  • Relax – You’re not making an important work presentation, everyone is already on your side and is feeling happy and relaxed; it’s a wedding – a celebration, and they’ve just been given nice food and drink, they’ll laugh at your jokes however terrible they are, we promise.
  • Practice – Go over it in the run-up to the wedding and practice saying it out loud, maybe even in front of a mirror so you can pick up on any habits you might have; fiddling with your tie while you speak, for example, or waving your hands around.
  • Slow it down – Often we speak fast when we’re nervous and race through it, desperate to get to the end, but remember to pause and take a breath, let people react to what you’re saying, maybe take a sip of water. You could always put a reminder in your notes if that helps.
  • Breathe! – Keep your shoulders down, we tense up when we’re feeling anxious, smile at everybody and remember that in a few minutes it will all be done, and you can sit back and wait for your time to shine on the dance floor.
A group of people at a wedding laughing at a speech.

What Not To Mention

There are certain things that are definitely off-limits in a wedding speech:

  • Mentioning ex-partners
  • Swearing
  • Politics
  • Embarrassing stories
  • Anything that might make people feel uncomfortable

In the run-up to a wedding, when there are so many things to think about, the thought of having to stand up and give a speech can be a bit overwhelming, but with a bit of planning you can give a speech that is simple and heartfelt and personal, without losing too much sleep over it. Everyone is there for the same reason and will be right behind you.

Whether it’s a big white traditional wedding, or a small, intimate back garden wedding, it’s worth reminding the happy couple about the importance of wedding insurance. Read 5 great reasons why insurance can help take some of the stress away for the big day; letting you make your speech before sitting back and enjoy the day, safe in the knowledge that for better or worse, you’ve had them rolling in the aisle and it hasn’t ended in tiers!

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