How to make a great father of the bride wedding speech

Traditionally the father of the bride speech is the first in the series of wedding speeches. (See here and here for two preliminary articles you’ll find useful.)

How to give a great father of the bride speech

Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy in the classic 1950 movie, “Father of the Bride.”

He gets up and talks about the bride – usually makes her squirm with embarrassment with anecdotes of her aged 5 with her teddy bears and dolls!

He welcomes the guests to the wedding and the groom and his family into his own. He will also thank people for their efforts in the wedding preparations (especially the bride’s mother, if appropriate) and mention special guests who can’t be present.

For a list of ALL our articles on wedding speeches for everyone from groom to granny, click here.

Finally he proposes a toast to the bride and groom.

What if you’re not the father of the bride?

For whatever reason, it’s very common these days for someone else to take on this role – an old family friend or godfather. What’s more, it doesn’t have to be an older man; it can be a man or woman of any age, or even a son or daughter.

Here, then, are some more detailed guidelines for whoever is going to take on the role.

Welcome guests to the wedding, especially if you are the first speaker of the day. Traditionally the father of the bride will have been the one who has paid for most of the wedding, so he would have been seen as the “host” by some of the older guests at least. Even if you’re not Daddy Moneybags, however, you can still welcome the guests on behalf of the families.

Talk about the bride – one or two short anecdotes about her in the past, amusing if you want … but beware of making jokes here. It’s far more important, in this role, to ensure that you give plenty of praise and admiration for the bride. And don’t be shy about expressing your feelings towards her. Weddings are supposed to be emotional occasions. Make sure that this section of your speech, although perhaps starting with stories about the bride’s childhood, ends on her encounter and relationship with the groom.

Now welcome the groom and his family into your (the bride’s) family, assuming you are part of the bride’s family or at least a very close friend. If you don’t know the groom and his family very well focus on how happy the bride is and has been since the couple met, so congratulating the groom on making her happy! You can also say how much you/the bride’s family are looking forward to getting to know the groom and his people better.

Here you can link to absent family and friends by saying how sad they are/would be to miss this happy day and the chance to see the bride looking so radiant. It’s probably more sensible to focus on people who are alive but elsewhere. However, important recently deceased relatives can be talked about with appropriate sensitivity.

You can then cheer up the mood by thanking distant friends and relatives who have come from afar for making the journey and making this day so special for everyone.

Thank for this special day. Your next link might be to say that probably the most recognition and gratitude for making this day so special, however, must go to everyone who has put in so much time and effort on the preparations for the big day. Name the key people and say a few words about what each of them did.

End by saying a summarising sentence or two about this being such a wonderful day for everyone, and our greatest thanks must go to the two people who brought us together for this event. That’s your cue for words along the lines of “and now, please raise your glasses for a toast … ladies and gentlemen, those two fantastic people … the bride and groom.”

Free free to use your imagination for your father-of-the-bride speech, but…

Don’t forget that this is just the basic skeleton of the father-of-the-bride speech; there is no reason why you can’t add in further content and ideas, provided that:

a) It’s relevant to the bride and also to her relationship with you, and with her new husband

b) It’s not in any way offensive or embarrassing for the bride, groom, or anyone else (and remember that wedding parties usually consist of a wide variety of age groups and tolerance to anything risqué is variable to put it mildly.)

Should you write your father of the bride speech out in full?

In a business context I always tell people they should write their speech out in full because 1) it’s easier that way to ensure the content is accurate and in the right order and b) it allows them to work strictly to their time slot.

However at a social gathering like a wedding, timings are not so critical, although someone droning on a great length is usually unwelcome.

Much depends, really on your personal preference. Depending on how comfortable or uncomfortable you are about giving a father of the bride speech, here are your options as I see them:

  • Write the speech out in full and read it from the print out
  • Write the speech out in full, rehearse with it, then boil it down into bullet points and speak around those
  • Go straight to bullet points and ad lib around them on the day
  • Work entirely from memory, but personally I don’t recommend it!

Good luck, and do share your own experiences of wedding speeches with us here…


All the answers you need about wedding speeches and other presentations:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“Wedding Speeches For Women” … available on all the Amazons in print or Kindle.




  1. […] on from my earlier articles on wedding speeches – a general overview, plus some tips for the father of the bride (or whoever performs this role) – let’s now take a look at some ideas and guidance for […]

  2. […] scenario? OK, with a hat-tip to tradition we have covered male speeches in this series here for the father-of-the-bride, here for the groom, and here for the best […]