If The Bride’s Father Has Passed Away
It may be that you’ve been asked to give the speech because the bride’s father, who may also be your brother, has passed away. This makes your speech so much more important and meaningful.
Obviously, your speech will be a very emotional moment in the day. All the guests and your niece will expect you to talk about her dad but remember this isn’t the time to do a eulogy.
Your speech should focus on the bride herself (as a traditional father of the bride speech would) and then pay tribute to her dad in as joyful a way as possible. Even if he is recently deceased, don’t talk about his death, just talk about how much he loved his daughter and how proud he would have been of her on her wedding day.
Of course, you may have to consider keeping any tributes to the end of the speech so you don’t get choked up too soon. (Although obviously, everyone will understand if you do). As much as possible, you want to ensure the speech remains a celebration of a marriage.
If you’re struggling with your emotions, look up. It is said to be physically impossible to cry if you look up, but don’t quote us on that one.
Take a look at our Speeches and the Dearly Departed page for more advice on honouring departed family members – but please read on or check out our father of the bride speech advice to understand what else your speech needs to contain.
If The Bride’s Father Is Absent
If the bride has a difficult relationship with her father and he isn’t going to be there, today is not a day to bring up your feelings around that.
Just simply introduce yourself as the bride’s uncle and leave it at that. No more explanation is necessary.
Uncle of the Bride Speech Structure
All speeches should be unique, and based on you and the bride’s personal relationship (so no Googling for clichéd one liners), but it’s always useful to have a structure to hand as you write it.
- If you’re first up – introduce yourself, 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 the bride’s childhood (especially if it relates to the woman she is now). Remember, a loving tribute includes some affectionate teasing.
- Pay tribute to the woman she is now, and how she got there. Recognise the good stuff, the lovely stuff, but most importantly, the qualities that make her unique.
- Recount how you met the bride’s partner and all of the positive things they bring to the bride’s life.
- Advice. Not always necessary but you may want to share some advice with the happy couple, or your hopes for them in the future. The advice can be poignant and meaningful, or simply silly and funny.
- The soppy stuff. A sweet and sentimental conclusion to the speech, recapping the themes of the speech; your love for the bride and your hopes for the couple’s future happiness.
- 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 which ties into the theme of your speech.
Uncle Speech Tips
Rule 1- Be different
Every bride is beautiful, and yes, every bride is intelligent, hard-working, and kind. What makes your niece 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 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 speeches had been a bit less amusing”.
We all know you were very proud of how well she did in her GCSE’s, 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. Of course, if her father has recently passed away this may not be possible.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to create original humour, check out our How To Be Funny blog.
Whatever you do, do NOT resort to wedding gags! They’re either just cringy or have been used a thousand times before.
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 learnt 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 niece operates!
Rule 4- Less is more
Edit, edit, edit.
You’ve known the bride since she was a baby so there may be many things you want to say. But don’t!
You don’t have to recognise every era of the bride’s life. In fact, some of the best wedding speeches just focus on one really good story.
We suggest you aim for about 7 minutes tops and about 1100-1200 words should be your upper limit. You can tell everyone all the stories you had to cut at the bar later.
Rule 5- Be prepared to deliver
Will there be a mic? How many people will be in the room? Do you want a full script or just some notes?
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.
Speak slowly, and don’t forget to smile. Everyone there wants you to do well, so enjoy the moment. Read our How To Deliver Like A Pro blog for further advice.