You have two jobs to do and that’s to make everyone feel welcome and ensure the bride feels loved. Oh, and hopefully entertain the guests along the way.
Easy for us to say, but don’t get overly stressed by the old-fashioned etiquette guides. You don’t feel you have to be formal just because you’re wearing a suit.
Forget about addressing everyone as ‘ladies & gentlemen’ unless it’s a particularly large or formal wedding.
If the father of the bride is going to be there, or if he’s making a speech himself, be careful of treading on his toes. Keep to your lane and stay away from family politics.
If the bride’s father has passed away she may want you to mention him at some point in the speech. This isn’t the time to do a eulogy but instead, talk about how proud her dad would have been of her on her wedding day. This may be one area of your speech that you want to discuss with your wife before the day.
DON’T STEAL THE GROOM’S THUNDER
Thank yous are traditionally the groom’s domain so don’t feel like it’s something you need to do, as tempting as that may seem.
You can always personally thank Aunty Doris for travelling so far once the speeches are over.
If you’ve been asked to give a speech, consider it a huge honour.
If the bride’s father is still around, appreciate the fact she will have had a lot of tough decisions to make so make things easy for her!
Stepfather Speech Structure
All speeches should be unique but it’s always useful to have a structure to hand as you write it.
- Welcome the guests, and make them laugh as quickly as possible. That first ripple of laughter will relax you and the guests.
- Tell some funny anecdotes from when you first met the bride (especially if it relates to the woman she is now). What did you think of her, what was she like as a child or a stroppy teenager? What did you think you had let yourself into? Remember, a loving tribute includes taking the mick.
- Pay tribute to the woman she is now. Pay tribute to the good stuff, the lovely stuff, but most importantly, the funny stuff.
- Recount how you met your daughter’s partner, how you felt about them, and all of the positive things they bring to the bride’s life. If you get on well, some affectionate teasing of the groom may be appropriate, but less so of a bride in a same-sex union. Obviously, it depends on the characters involved.
- The soppy stuff. You may want to share some advice with the happy couple, or your hopes for them in the future. Let them know that no matter what, you’ll always be there for them.
- The toast. Traditionally it’s “to the health and happiness of the happy couple” but we prefer a more personal touch. Something that means something to them or that ties into the theme of your speech.
Rule 1- Cut the cliches
Yes, every bride is beautiful, yes every bride is intelligent, hard-working, and kind – but what makes her unique?
She may be wearing a princess dress for the day but that doesn’t mean that she is one. You love her for who she is and so does everyone in the room. Celebrate that.
Call her out for the nacho-munching, overly-competitive, library-loving nerd she is!
Rule 2- Be funny
People expect the best man to be funny but no one ever leaves a wedding thinking “I wish the other speeches had been less amusing”.
We all know you and her mother were very proud of how well she did in her exams but unless there is a funny story attached, save that observation for another time.
We suggest a mix of about 70% humour, with about 30% heartfelt and sincere.
Think of the stories that still make you laugh. Chances are they’ll make everyone else laugh too.
Rule 3- Tell a story
The best speeches take us on a journey. They aren’t just a collection of ‘to dos’ and a list of random anecdotes.
Your speech needs a thread that connects everything you’re saying. It could be what you’ve learned from the bride over the years (from a secret appreciation of Justin Bieber’s back-catalogue to how to cheat at Scrabble), or it could be your ‘insider guide’ to how your step-daughter operates.
Rule 4- Cut The Waffle
Edit, edit, edit. Every speech is better, the punchiest it is.
We suggest you aim for about 7-8 minutes tops. About 1100-1200 words should be your upper limit.
Rule 5 – Have some killer lines
And if you can’t come up with any yourself, use the words of people cleverer than you.
Plagiarism is never encouraged but quoting people is. Luckily, we’ve curated the best Father of the Bride Quotes for you to pick from!
Rule 6 – Deliver the goods
Remember, the wonderful, heartfelt, funny words you have written will need to be spoken out loud at some point, so practice! What looks good on paper can sometimes come out as a tongue twister.
Once you’ve nailed your script, prepare to deliver. Will there be a mic on the day (if so, finger out your mic technique in advance)? How many people will be in the room? Do you want a full script or just some notes?
On the day, speak slowly, and don’t forget to smile. Everyone there wants you to do well, so enjoy the moment.
Check out our Father of the Bride Speech Advice for more ideas on how to write a great speech.