Father of the bride’s speech essentials

Everything you need to know

Father of the bride speech

The father of the bride (or another close relative to the bride) is normally the first person to make a speech on the big day. And, while it might be daunting being the first person up, there’s a lot less pressure for you to come up with belly laughs. A few heartfelt stories about what your daughter means to you will keep your audience perfectly happy. Then finish with a sincere toast to the newlyweds and they’ll love you forever!

Your speech is normally followed by the groom’s, possibly joined by the bride. Between them they will thank you, give out thank you gifts and finish by toasting the bridesmaids. Finally the best man takes his turn and rounds the speeches off with more thanks, a few (tastefully) funny stories and another toast to the gorgeous, happy couple.


The father of the bride’s main responsibilities…

  • Thanking the guests for coming to celebrate the big day
  • Complimenting your new son-in-law and thanking his parents
  • Complimenting your own wife/partner
  • Sharing a few light-hearted anecdotes about the bride and telling her what she means to you
  • Ending by toasting to the happy couple

The essential rules for the father of the bride’s speech:

Time it right

Your speech should last between three to eight minutes, which may not sound very long, but anything over this time can start to feel like a drag – and you may lose the audience’s interest. And remember, 10 minutes should be the absolute maximum.

Go easy on the jokes

Don’t feel pressured into providing a laugh a minute. Definitely include a few jokes, along with a punchy opening line, but remember your speech should have more ‘ahh’ factor than comic moments. Leave those laughs to the best man.

Cut out the clichés

Nobody wants to hear a dry list of all the bride’s career achievements or educational qualifications, so stick to just one or two key moments. What they do want to hear about is what makes her truly special. Most dads think their daughters are ‘wonderful’ and ‘amazing’ so really try to think about her character and what makes her stand out from the crowd.

Don’t overdo the emotion

This can be a sentimental speech but try to balance the emotion with humour, so it doesn’t become difficult to listen to. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to celebrate your daughter, so do say all those amazing things you’ve always wanted to, but try not to go over the top.

Avoid mentioning any tricky family circumstances (or money)

This is not the time for any controversy whatsoever. Refrain from making any digs at your ex-wife or comments about current or past family difficulties. Also, definitely don’t mention anything about money! Save this for another time, today is all about making the bride and groom feel good.

Don’t forget the groom

Talking about the groom, don’t forget him! Your speech should be all about your daughter but remember to be nice about her new husband too and celebrate his attributes. Welcoming him into the family will be a nice touch. Gentle teasing is fine, as long as it’s warmly delivered.

Practice, practice, practice

Finally, as with many things, practice makes perfect. Try to memorise your speech, if possible, or at the least the opening lines, so you have a strong start and can make eye contact with people. Even if your day job is public speaking this is a big day and if your emotions get the better of you the best thing is to be well rehearsed. Also, if you’re struggling with speech-related nerves, we have some super-helpful tips to help banish them.