Father of the Bride Speech Tips A-Z

Congratulations on your daughter’s marriage! Commiserations on worrying about your speech.

But don’t worry, there is Father of the Bride speech help at hand. Here are 26 bite-size tips, written by a professional speech writer with a raft of BBC credits, which will point you in the right direction and reduce those stress levels.

So, if you’ve got 5 minutes to spare, let’s get started…

A is for Anecdotes

The Groom will have stories about your daughter as a grown woman, but you have her childhood and teens years to draw on. Guests LOVE stories about the early years. It shows how much someone has changed and how much they haven’t!

B is for Beautiful Daughter

Even if your daughter is the nicest, most beautiful person who ever lived, be sure not to over-indulge in high-flown praise. If you have lots of heartfelt things to say, ensure you mix in a few light-hearted remarks too. Foibles allow more flattery.

C is for cliché

You’ve typed “Wedding jokes” into Google and are now looking at the results. Well, so are loads of other speakers. Not only that but you are fishing in a much smaller pool than you realise. Some guests are likely to recognise any time-honoured lines. Avoid them. Original trumps old-hat every time.

D is for Doubt

You’ve re-read your speech and are not sure about a line. Is it as funny or relevant as you originally thought? Here’s a simple rule: if in doubt, leave it out. Great films are often great because of what’s left on the cutting room floor. It’s the same with speeches. The red pen is your friend.

E is for Express yourself

Don’t feel the need to use flowery or over-formal language. Make your written voice quite close to your natural speaking voice. You will be reading the speech after all, so make it sound like you.

F is for Friends and Family

If you’d like to mention lots of people close to you, try to avoid it sounding like a class register. If each mention of a person is accompanied with an amusing remark, you not only get to name-check lots of people, you get more humour into your speech. Win-win.

G is for Groom

How better to welcome someone into your family than to show you are all comfortable with a joke at each other’s expense? So, after the formal welcome, consider including a humorous story or two about the Groom. Your sincere comments about him will then have even more power.

H is for How You Met

How you first met the groom could lead to some humour. What were your first impressions? Was he nervous? Did you meet him at the same time as your wife or were you kept away! Did you find out you share similar interests or do you support rival football teams?

I is for Ice-breakers

As the first speaker you will want one or two ice-breakers near the top to warm the audience up. Even if you feel you’re not a natural joke-teller, don’t worry – something quick and simple will do. The guests will be looking for an opportunity to show their appreciation through laughter so give them that chance.

J is for Journey

When thanking those who have travelled from near and far, it’s a nice chance to make a joke or two about their journeys. Did someone have to fly Ryan Air? Did they only have to fall out of bed?

K is for Kleenex

Your speech will contain stories, jokes and sentimental moments but do also aim to have a one line near the end, which sums up everything you, your family and friends love about your daughter. Make this the line you’d love your daughter and the guests to remember. Seeking inspiration? Ask yourself this: how would you describe your daughter’s qualities in one line to a complete stranger? It could be the killer line that leads to the Kleenex.

L is for Length

Stop sniggering at the back, length is very important. Too long and the guests will be bored, too short and your daughter will feel short-changed. 1,300 words spoken at an average pace will give you 8-10 minutes of material. Under 5 or over 10 mins and we’re entering the danger zone.

M is for Material

Brainstorm as many lines, ideas and stories as you can before writing the speech. Don’t dive into the speech straight away. You need a big block of marble before you can start sculpting.

N is for Notes

There is nothing wrong with reading a prepared speech or using cue cards. Do what feels right for you. And don’t do your speech without notes just for plaudits. It’s the words that count not the delivery system.

O is for Order

If you’re worried about this, just remember the classic three-act structure: beginning, middle and end. Start your Father of the Bride speech with one or two ice-breakers before the welcomes and thanks, move on to main stories in the middle, save the most heartfelt moments for the end, do the toast and you’re done.

P is for Practice

It’s an obvious tip but no less effective for being so. If you decide to “busk it” on the day or “leave it to the moment” in the hope it sounds more natural, you actually risk the speech sounding more hesitant. Practice makes it sound more natural not less.

Q is for Questions

Asking yourself questions is a great way to generate material. For example, did your daughter have a notable ambition or maybe she had a crush on a comically bad pop star? The right question is the key to unlocking these memories. For a comprehensive list of key questions click here.

R is for Reading

Read your speech out loud. You will notice any lines that go clunk, jokes that disappoint and those over-elaborate sophisticated, meandering circumlocutions that become a mouthful to say and a chore to listen to. Like that one.

S is for Sentiment

Don’t go too big too early with your sentiment. Space it out and, if you can, save the most heartfelt material you’ve written till nearer the end when you can deliver it with a flourish.

T is for Toasts

Don’t overdo them. The Father of the Bride traditionally toasts the newly weds at the very end, but you might also wish to toast absent friends earlier in the speech.

U is for Unique

You’ve written your speech, now review it. How many generic phrases are there that could apply to anyone? Ensure you include a good number of lines that you feel could ONLY apply to your family and friends.

V is for venue

Every word is precious in your speech so don’t devote a whole paragraph to the wonders of the wedding venue. This is a wedding speech not a Trip Advisor review.

W is for Wonderful Wife

Details that might inspire lines include: how long have you been married? Were you married in the same place? Did she take longer to choose her hat than your daughter with her dress? Did anything notable happen on your wedding day (the car broke down, the Best Man dropped the ring, etc.)?

X is for Ex-wife

If you’d like to thank the bride’s mother but she’s now your ex-wife and things are less than amicable, keep the mention brief and polite. If it’s a bit of a minefield, the longer you go on, the more likely you’ll step on a mine!

Y is for Yesterday

Which is when you wish you’d started writing your speech. However, even if the wedding is in a couple of days there’s still time to put a decent speech together. If you’re truly panicking, a professional speech writer can do it for you. Y is also for “Yes, this is blatant speech writer self-promotion.”

Z is for Zig Zag

Zig zagging from a story about your daughter then to the groom then to another one about your daughter can be disorientating for the listeners. Keep the subject matter in segments as much as you can and you’ll get more tears and laughter.

Good luck!

If you feel you’d like some professional support with your speech from a five-star rated writer (Trustpilot), why not click below?