Tradition has it that the bride’s father is the host of his daughter’s wedding. In times past that meant paying for the reception too, though this is not often automatically assumed today. In keeping with that custom, the bride’s father usually acts as the host for the wedding reception.
In some cases a professional master of ceremonies is engaged, especially for celebrity weddings. For most weddings the bride’s father is least expected to give an opening speech and propose the toast to the bride and groom at the start of the wedding reception, and may continue as the wedding MC.
There are five things that must be included in a successful father of the bride speech.
The first item is to say some welcoming words to set the atmosphere and create a celebratory mood for a memorable wedding reception. The primary goal is to help the guests to relax. A good way to achieve this is to discuss the wedding ceremony, how beautiful the bride looks, the location chosen for the reception or even the weather — things that all the guests will have an opinion about — and how much you are excited about meeting everyone and sharing the reception with them.
Next, as the host, the father of the bride welcomes the guests. It is customary to introduce any special guests, especially the groom’s family and anyone who has traveled some distance to get to the wedding. Absent guests are often mentioned as well, especially folks with close associations with the bride or groom but who could not get to the wedding. A dearly loved grandparent or favorite uncle who has recently died is often mentioned at this point.
A third vital section of the speech is to create interest about what is to come at the reception, such as the highlight of the best man’s speech and entertainment scheduled during the reception. Any plans to follow the reception could be referred to. Your guests will relax more when they know what lies ahead.
Next, in their wedding speech most delighted fathers want to make a few comments from the heart about their daughter, the lovely bride, among their friends and family. Choosing what to say here is often the most difficult part of the speech for many fathers to prepare. There are many ways to express your love for your daughter. Telling endearing or funny stories about your daughter as a child and during her courtship, and quoting from poetry, are popular choices, but every father has a unique approach.
Finally, to direct the attention of the wedding guests firmly on the newlyweds it is customary for the bride’s father to call for guests to join him in a toast to the bride and groom. Choosing the right words for the toast is a vital step in planning the speech.
As the father of the bride you will introduce your own speaking and presentation style, with your own sense of humor and feelings into your speech. These simple five steps provide the basic framework to build on.
Because few fathers will have much prior experience speaking at their own daughter’s wedding, most will find a professional wedding speech guide can be very helpful. Speech templates and example wedding speeches and toasts can be downloaded, along with checklists of things and people that really should be mentioned, and time saving resources, such as popular jokes, quotes and poems to choose from. Such resources are a substitute for experience, a time saver and a confidence booster for preparing a father of the bride speech.