STEP 1 – Say Hello
Don’t waffle. Introduce yourself if it’s a large wedding but crack on with it. Depending on the style of the wedding, there’s no need to address friends and family as ‘ladies and gentlemen’.
The main aim is to get guests laughing within the first couple of lines. Guests are on edge till they know they’re in safe hands. A joke will reassure them of this.
But, and it’s a Kardashian sized but, the joke needs to be a good one. It can’t be one that you’ve cut and pasted from a template and it can’t be a ‘wedding joke’ that you’ve googled (even if you found it on the 18th page where no normal person dares to scroll).
The humour should reflect the wedding and its guests. If your daughter’s invited a load of hipsters, maybe it’s something simple like you ‘haven’t seen this many beards since the ZZ Top Farewell Tour’ (surely they’ve had one?). You’re looking for something inclusive that everyone can appreciate.
Check out our Make Your Wedding Speech Funny blog for more comedy-writing techniques.
STEP 2 -Welcome Everyone
You’re the wedding warm-up man and your job is to welcome all the guests.
Some dads take this too literally; studying the invite list and evaluating who’s worth a namecheck. The trouble with this is once you start mentioning certain people, others wonder why they’re not worthy.
It’s especially dangerous if you start mentioning elderly family members without properly considering your daughter’s partner’s side of the family too.
The best advice is to keep your welcome heartfelt but inclusive & concise.
And of course, remember, it’s actually the newlywed’s job to thank people.
STEP 3 – Tell Everyone How Wonderful Your Daughter Is
The biggest mistake dads make is telling people what they already know. Guests don’t need to hear about your daughter’s career achievements or how dedicated she is to her hobbies, they want to get a better insight into what type of person she is. They also want a laugh.
Start with her childhood. Think about the classic anecdotes that are, not only humorous but also reveal a bit of her character. Certainly include the stories that prove she’s always been caring or ambitious (or whatever unique qualities your daughter may possess) but be sure to include a few ‘naughty’ stories too. Dads are allowed to be sentimental and soppy but you never want to look pompous and you don’t want to be dull.
Of course, as well as her childhood, you need to talk about the woman she is today. Rather than just using adjectives and generic bridal clichés, think of a good story that illustrates her character. Remember, prove don’t tell.
When we work with dads, we try to find a narrative thread so that all the insights and anecdotes flow. You want your speech to sound like a story as opposed to seeming like a list of random thoughts. Check out our FOTB speech templates if you need help with that.
STEP 4 – Welcome Your Daughter’s Partner To The Family
Avoid the usual platitudes and try to pay a tribute to their unique character. Are they a tech-nerd, a deluded West Brom fan, or a closet crossword enthusiast? Find something fun to play with.
As well as appreciating what the groom/bride has brought to your daughter’s life, pinpoint the areas that you two have bonded over too… even if it’s just a mutual appreciation of malt whiskey. And, if you’re still married to your daughter’s mum, make sure she’s included in your endorsement of them too.
Finally, remember to pay a tribute to your new in-laws. Even if you don’t know them that well yet, say you’re looking forward to sharing lots more happy occasions with them in the future.
STEP 5 – Sum Up A Lifetime of Love
Yes, we know it’s easy for us to say but how exactly do you sum up a lifetime of love in less than ten minutes (or 1,300 words at an absolute maximum)?
To reassure you, no one expects Byron and no wants over-the-top declarations of fatherly devotion. Your daughter just wants to know that she’s an extra special person in your life and that she’s still got lifetime membership in your heart.
She wants to know you appreciate her for the woman she is today and the memories you’ve already shared. She wants to know that you approve of her new spouse and that you hope to make more memories with them now included in your family.
Of course, sometimes you’ll find someone is actually better at saying the things you want to say than you are! You may find our father of the bride quotes post helpful.
If you can use a quote that means something to you both then that will add something special. Think of the books you used to read together or the songs you’ve bonded over and see if that inspires the perfect words.
Of course, if you’re looking at creating your own poignant quotes, consider utilising SpeechyAI which can help turn your disparate thoughts into something more meaningful.
STEP 6 – Give a Heartfelt Toast
Conclude your speech with a toast to the married couple.
Traditionally it’s to the ‘health and happiness of the happy couple’ but try to make it a bit more interesting than that – something that genuinely reflects the character of the couple and echoes the themes of your speech. It doesn’t need to be overly poetic – something simple like toasting ‘a lifetime of dancing on tables’ always works.