What not to do in a father of the bride speech

What Not to Do in a Father of the Bride Speech

This is a sponsored post by Speechy

The father of the bride speech can be one of the wedding day highlights but it’s a daunting honour. To help you avoid the usual father of the bride pitfalls, we talked to the wedding speech experts at Speechy.


Writing a father of the bride speech isn’t easy! No wonder so many poor dads resort to cliches, lame wedding gags and talking about their daughter as a baby (note: all babies stay awake too much and poo a lot). Here are 10 things to avoid in your father of the bride speech.

Don’t Go Posh

No need to be formal just because you’ve got a new suit on. Your speech needs warmth and wit, not old-fashioned etiquette. Remember, you’re among friends (even if you’ve still to meet half of them!).

Speechy’s Heidi Ellert-McDermott says: “Introduce yourself if it’s a large wedding but crack on with it. Depending on the style of the wedding, there’s no need to address friends and family as ‘ladies and gentleman’.”

Don’t Go On

As a rough guide your speech should be about seven minutes long or just under a thousand words.

“Once you start writing, you may feel there’s a lot to say but your speech is not meant to chronical every era of your daughter’s life. Instead, it’s a tribute to her character, your love for her and hopes for her marriage. The guests do not need a run through of her CV or know that she won the Butlins talent contest with her Beyonce impression,” says Heidi.

If you find yourself writing more than 1,300 words, you’ve gone too far. No one has ever listened to a speech and thought ‘if only it was longer’. Get chopping!

Don’t Forget the Fun

Yes, your speech should be heart-warming and poignant but it also needs to be entertaining, fun and silly too.

Ideally, you want to get guests laughing within the first couple of lines. An audience often feels on edge until they know they’re in safe hands. A joke will reassure them of this.

But – and it’s a big ‘but’ – the joke needs to be a good one. It can’t be one that you’ve cut and pasted from a template and it can’t be a ‘wedding joke’ that you’ve googled.

Heidi says: “The humour should be unique to the wedding and its guests. If your daughter’s invited a load of hipsters, maybe it’s something simple like you ‘haven’t seen this many beards since the ZZ Top Farewell Tour’ (surely they’ve had one?). Just something that brings a smile to people’s faces.”

Don’t Steal the Groom’s Thunder

Yes, it’s your job is to welcome all the guests but some dads take this too literally; studying the invite list and evaluating who’s worth a namecheck. The trouble with this is once you start mentioning certain people, others wonder why they’re not worthy.

The best advice is keep your welcome heartfelt but inclusive & concise. And of course, it’s actually the groom’s job to thank people.

Don’t Pretend Your Daughter’s Perfect

Heidi says “A heart-warming tribute to your daughter should be the focus of your speech but, generally, all dads think their daughters are beautiful, clever and kind. So concentrate on what makes your daughter unique.”

Is she a gym addict with a hardcore Haribo habit? An intellectual library-lover who spends her evenings watching Selling Sunset? A competitive gamer who loves to cheat?

It’s these sort of descriptions that prove you know and love your daughter for who she really is.

Don’t Rely on Adjectives 

Rather than just using adjectives and generic bridal clichés, think of stories that illustrate her character in action.

For example, rather than saying she’s ‘determined and hard-working’, tell the story about how she sold the contents of the family’s biscuit tin to her friends for at least three months before you found out.

As Heidi explains, “A good writer proves and doesn’t just tell.”

Don’t Forget The Groom

Feel free to have fun with your initial scepticism of the groom (though this is easier to pull off if you’re no longer sceptical!) but quickly move on to your wholehearted approval.

Avoid the usual platitudes and try to pay a tribute to his unique character. Is he a tech-nerd, a deluded West Brom fan or a closet crossword enthusiast? Find something fun to play with.

Heidi says: “As well as appreciating what the groom has brought to your daughter’s life, pinpoint the areas that you’ve bonded over too, even if it’s just a mutual appreciation of malt whiskey.”

Don’t Forget Mum

Whether or not you’re still together, we think it is a good idea to acknowledge the contribution your daughter’s mum has made to her upbringing.

Don’t Be Scared to Be A Bit Soppy

Your father of the bride speech is a big deal. It’s one of those special moments in life that you and your daughter will remember for the rest of your lives. It’s fine to get a bit soppy and emotional.

If you’re struggling to find the words to express the depths of your love, here’s a tip… steal the words of others! Sometimes your favourite author or musician will have already managed to articulate what you can’t, and as long as you credit them with as the source of the quote, it’s completely legit.

Heidi adds “Think about the books you used to read together, or the songs you’ve bonded over and see if that inspires the perfect words.”

Don’t Resort to a Tradtional Toast

Traditionally a dad toasts the ‘health and happiness of the happy couple’ but try to make it a bit more interesting than that – something that genuinely reflects the character of the couple and echoes the themes of your speech.

Heidi suggests “It doesn’t need to be overly poetic – something simple like toasting ‘a lifetime of dancing on tables’ always works.”

For more information about Speechy’s services, visit their website here

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