Once upon a time, speeches at a wedding were given by the groom and a friend of the bride’s family. Then the best man joined in, followed by the father of the bride. And time stops for no man. Or woman! Inspired, perhaps, by the Swedish example, where everyone has a go, other members of the wedding party have seized the chance to say their piece! So welcome to the microphone everyone else – including brides, bridesmaids and fathers of the groom. (At Great Speech Writing we’ve written them all).
Photo courtesy of Great Speech Writing
So, if you’re looking for advice on how to write a fantastic father of the groom speech, look no further – just stick to the following tips or, to save a whole lot of worry, give us a call and we’ll write it for you!
Writing the Father of the Groom Speech
The key to writing a great father of the groom speech is to ensure it will not repeat anything mentioned by the other speakers. Clearly this is easier if you’re speaking as the best man who just happens to be the groom’s father, but if you’re an additional speaker, be sure to have a quick chat with the other speakers before you get going.
Chances are the father of the bride will do a lot of welcoming, and the best man will focus on your son’s life from the point they first met. Your son, meanwhile, should focus on the guests and his bride. This leaves you plenty of room to work with: the groom’s childhood, his mother and family (if appropriate), the parents’ perspective on the union, your own interactions with the couple, how it feels to see all his friends gathered back together once more as adults… the list goes on!
Once you’ve established roughly what you might cover, it’s time to think back-to-front. Rather than writing down everything you’d like to say, you should imagine you have just delivered the speech. What would you like the wedding guests to be saying the morning after? What balance are you looking to create between humour and sincerity? If you can answer these key questions you’re well on your way.
There’s no set structure for a father of the groom speech so you can get creative, but remember that as one of the parents, people will expect you to offer a more ‘mature’ perspective than is normal for a best man or a groom! That said, there’s no need to be dour – keep it light and engaging (and under 10 minutes long) and you’re bound to go down well. It also wouldn’t be out of form to toast either the mothers or the happy couple!
Father of the Groom Speech Examples
We believe every speech should be completely original. So we won’t offer you an interchangeable generic groom babble. But we are delighted to let our clients do the talking for us:
“Speech went very, very well. Quite a few tears and laughs in all the right places. Will use you again without a doubt. Great job.” Peter M (Father of the groom, summer 2015)
Delivering the Speech
When you first think about your speech, the idea of standing up on the wedding day can be daunting. But it needn’t be. There will be a tremendous amount of warmth in the room, and everyone will be on your side. On top of this, once you have content you’re happy with, you’ll start to feel more confident about delivering it.
Work on your posture – stand with feet just under shoulder-width apart, back straight and body language open. Remember that when we are relaxed and chatting to friends, we use hand gestures to make our point. We also smile, raise eyebrows and make other appropriate gestures. Under pressure, there can be a temptation to freeze. We suggest you do the opposite – training yourself to exaggerate body language ever so slightly so that everyone can see throughout the room.
If you’re standing without a lectern, it’s a good idea to print the speech on A6 cards. These will be easier to handle and won’t flap about when you’re speaking. You might be tempted to do without a printed script all together, but this can be a tightrope walk without a safety net. Just ask Ed Milliband. Have the whole speech in front of you, but practice it enough so that you only need to look down occasionally to check your place. This will allow you to make eye contact with your audience too, which will work wonders on engaging with them.
Lastly, take your time. Nobody will understand you if you rush, and (if you’re not already!) you’ll probably become short of breath, which can play havoc on your nerves. Speak loudly, steadily and clearly, emphasising key words. If you insert natural pauses to breathe and allow spaces for applause, toasts and cheers, 8-10 minutes should mean no more than around 1200 words.
Father of the Groom Speech Tips and Checklist
Identify your material
Think about the reaction you want and work back from there
Keep it light – but don’t feel you have to compete for laughs with the best man
If appropriate, say something about the families
Talk about your son as an individual
Talk about your son and your new daughter-in-law as a couple
Speak slowly, clearly, and for no more than 10 minutes
Finish on a toast
Receive your rapturous applause with humility and a smile!