If you’re feeling at all daunted by the prospect of putting together your speech, the good news is that a solid structure will help keep you on track.
The exact structure you use will depend on whether you want to give a super short speech that only covers the bare essentials, or a slightly longer speech that covers all the traditional points.
But for a comprehensive speech, that covers all the expected topics you can use the following handy template.
“Fill-in-the-Blanks” Father of the Bride Speech Template
Creating a perfectly structured speech is simply a case of painting by numbers when you use my comprehensive eight-part template.
1) Opening words (Icebreaker)
The opening words of any speech are important, and this is particularly true for the first speaker.
It’s often recommended to start with an “icebreaker” to start your speech on a high note.
So briefly introduce yourself and then follow up with a few words designed to grab people’s attention and signal the start of your speech. You could say something funny or a little surprising. The main purpose is to shift the guests’ focus from each other to you.
Even if you’re not naturally funny, it’s worth spending some time crafting a few words likely to raise a smile.
But try to avoid any cliches or wedding speech jokes borrowed from elsewhere.
2) Thank the guests for coming
Most guests will have travelled at least a short distance to the wedding and incurred some expense so it’s important to express your appreciation on behalf of the couple.
Try to keep things general here – you don’t want to thank individual attendees since that’s more often done by the groom in his speech and you don’t want your speech to run too long.
You could say something simple like: “Thanks to all of you for being here. I know it means a lot to Richard and Debbie for you to share their special day.”
3) Mention other important people
Say a quick thank you to the key people who helped pull everything together behind the scenes in the lead-up to the wedding.
Typically, you’d mention your wife or partner for their help and support during the preparations and also thank the groom’s parents and welcome them into the family.
Traditionally, you’d also mention people who weren’t able to make it to the wedding.
For instance, if someone close to the couple has passed away you could say something like: “I know Debbie’s Nana would have been so proud to see her today looking so amazing in her dress.”
4) Say something complimentary about the event
It’s good to say something briefly about the day itself. Doing this helps the speech feel less scripted since it’s not something that you could easily prepare weeks in advance.
You could mention the weather (good or bad) or say something about the venue or the ceremony or just refer to something notable that happened or made it particularly memorable for you.
Obviously you can’t script this upfront (that’s the whole point!) but you can leave a place for it in your speech and decide what to say on the day.
5) Tell stories about the bride
Next you should shift your attentions to your daughter, the bride.
This is really the core of your speech – talking about the bride from your perspective as her father. In fact, I recommend spending around half of the total length of your speech on this section.
Stories from your daughter’s childhood are a reliable source of material. Try to pick stories that are memorable and reflective of her character, particularly her most positive traits.
There are a few different ways of structuring your stories:
- Life stages: pick stories from distinct phases of her life, e.g., her as a small girl, her as a teen, and her as a young woman.
- Life roles: pick stories that illuminative her various roles as a person, e.g., daughter, sportswoman, student.
- Personal qualities: pick stories that highlight certain specific qualities, e.g., loyalty, tenacity, adventurousness.
Whatever you choose to say, try to leave the guests feeling that they know the bride a little better by the time you finish.
Who knows, the groom may even learn a thing or too about his new wife he didn’t know before!
6) Mention the groom
While the primary focus of your speech should always be the bride, you’d be neglecting someone very important if you didn’t at least briefly mention her new husband.
You needn’t spend long talking about the groom and you have a few easy options here:
- Talk about your first impressions on meeting the groom (assuming they were positive or at least potentially amusing!)
- Praise the groom’s qualities and/or achievements – why he’s a worthy person to marry your daughter.
- Mention the positive impact he’s on your daughter’s life, e.g., how supportive he is or how happy he makes her.
- Talk about how he complements your daughter’s personality and why they make such a great couple.
Remember, there would be no wedding without the groom, so spend at least a little of your speech talking about him. And be sure to wrap up by welcoming him to your family!
7) Share words of wisdom
By this point you’re on the home straight and it’s time for some closing words before the final toast.
It’s traditional for you to offer some words of wisdom for the newlyweds. You’ll be able to find some ideas online but a more personal approach is to draw from your own life experience.
Is there some genuine advice from your own relationship with your partner you could pass on to your daughter and her new husband?
You should also wish them health and happiness for the future.
8) Finish by toasting the happy couple!
You’re almost done!
It’s time to wrap things up by raising a toast to the Bride and Groom. This signals the end of your speech and energises the guests by getting them to stand (and drink!)
You could say something like:
“Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding and raise your glasses to Debbie and Richard – the bride and groom!”
Copy This Template and Get Writing!
Use my father of the bride speech template and you can be confident you’re building your speech on solid ground.
Go heading by heading and start writing each essential part of your speech.
Before you know it, you’ll have a well-structured speech that includes all the essential information and flows smoothly from beginning to end.
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