Here we look at the key elements of the traditional “father of the bride” speech and how a woman should deal with them should she be replacing that man for whatever reason…
Talk about the bride
Even in these equality-driven days this is more her day than anyone else’s and it’s one she will remember for the rest of her life. As “another woman” you may not have quite the close, cuddly relationship with the bride that her Daddy would, but in many ways this can be a good thing. You will probably be able to sing her praises and underline her qualities in a way that Daddy never could, expressing genuine admiration without being overly sentimental.
For a list of ALL our articles on wedding speeches for everyone from groom to granny, click here.
Make her squirm with embarrassment at the anecdotes of her aged 5 with her teddy bears and dolls
Probably not, unless you can do it without making the poor girl’s teeth grind. There’s a big difference between amusing anecdotes about someone’s youth and a long eulogy about changing her nappies. Daddies can sometimes get this one hideously wrong, especially if they have had a few alcoholic snifters by the time we get to the speeches. You, as a sensible woman, know the difference between speech content that makes everyone smile nostalgically, including the bride, and the other variety.
Welcome the guests to the wedding
This one depends a little on where in the hierarchy you are, but if you are someone very senior (e.g. bride or groom’s mother, first speaker up on the day, etc.) then yes, it is your job to welcome everyone to the wedding and thank them for coming. Others following you will probably thank them too, but that’s no bad thing. Many people will have travelled from afar, spent a lot on transport, accommodation, gift, etc., so they deserve as much gratitude as they get.
This of course assumes that you are speaking as a member of the bride’s family. Whatever you and other family members and friends may feel about the groom, this day is all about the fact that he and the bride have got married. At this time, possibly more than at any other, it’s time to think, speak and be positive. No matter what you think he is the bride’s new husband and deserves a) your respect and b) your welcome. (And he may turn out to be not as bad as you thought…)
Thank people for their efforts in the wedding preparations
Depending on who you are you may well be one of the people who deserve thanks more than most, but even so it will be appropriate that you thank the other people responsible for making the day a success. Someone else will certainly thank you later on. And probably you shouldn’t be stingy with your thanks. Even people or companies who are paid to provide services at the wedding have almost certainly put in a great deal of effort and unpaid enthusiasm which deserve a mention, at least.
Mention special guests who can’t be present
This part of the proceedings may well be allocated to another speaker, but traditionally it is the remit of the “father of the bride” slot and if you are performing that, then mentioning such special guests is a must. This usually covers elderly relatives and friends, relatives and friends who are indisposed for some reason, and those who are unable to travel long distances.
Finally propose a toast to the bride and groom
This is not so much a matter of your remit in replacing the “father of the bride” slot, as it is because you’re likely to be the first speaker up on the day. The first toast is probably the most important one of all and of course it should be to the bride and groom.
Have you been to a wedding where women gave speeches as well as the men? What did you think of those speeches? How important do you think it is for the key women to have their say in wedding speeches? Please share your views here…