At last! Your daughter is getting married - but what about the father of the bride speech?


Traditionally the Father of the Bride Speech is the first speech to be given, after an introduction from the Best Man. Today is not the day to worry about remembering words. As an emotional father, your main aim for the big day is to survive it!

Father of the bride

A proud father with his daughter 1956

Who will be listening?

Before you start to write your speech there's something you need to find out. This may seem obvious but you need to know what sort of audience you will have. I know it's a wedding reception but will there be elderly relatives who may be hard of hearing or young children who can't sit still for very long. Unlike the best man you won't need to alter the content to suit the audience but you may want to take these things into account when delivering the speech.

Don't apologise for mistakes

The audience won't care if you make a mistake in your father of the bride speech. It may seem like a huge mistake to you, but unless you stand there and make huge apologies they probably won't even notice - especially after a few drinks. You're the father of the bride and you are allowed to be upset and proud all at the same time.

Have a conversation

As a starting point for your speech think of it as a converstaion with lots of people. If a new work colleague were to ask you about your daughter for the first time, how would you describe her. Is she funny, serious, hard working, has she done anything silly in her life?

The information is very similar to what you'll give in your father of the bride speech, the difference being that the relatives at the wedding won't get a chance to interact with you.

Slow down

The main criticism of anyone giving a speech is that they tend to speak too fast. We all need to slow down and make use of the pause.

This pause gives us a chance to take a breath and also gives the listeners time to take in what you've just said. If you've just said something funny they might even have time to laugh!

Don't talk to the mice!

Once you've slowed down make sure that you direct the sound towards the audience. This means looking at them. Don't lower your head to talk to the ground - unless the wedding party is made up of mice!

Clothes

Strangely enough what you wear can effect how you speak. Your suit may feel a bit tight or you might feel too hot, it might be a style you'd never, ever wear in your ordinary life. Learning how to deliver your father of the bride speech when you feel self conscious about your wedding suit is possible. Even fathers who wear an ordinary everyday suit can feel uncomfortable.

My dad managed to give a short speech but I've never seen him look so uncomfortable - and it wasn't the speech that worried him - he was just so uncomfortable in what he was wearing and I didn't make him get dressed up either!

My dad was a wholesale fish merchant and never, ever wore a suit. He couldn't wait to get changed back into his tee shirt!

'm', 'n' or 'b'?

If you've got some elderly people at the reception make extra sure that you sound the last consonant in every word. If you don't emphasize the last consonant of a word the people sitting at the back and those with hearing problems will find it almost impossible to distinguish between words.

For example, the difference between rum, run and rub is only the last letter. If your audience can't hear the last sound all they will hear is 'ru..'. They will have to guess which word you have spoken.

Exercises to practise at home can be found here. Taking the time to finish these words will also slow your speech down.

Smile

If you feel your mouth drying out, try to smile. This causes saliva to be present in the mouth!!

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This short course will teach you how to speak clearly and show you how to make what you say sound interesting. It is very much like the first lesson I would teach you face to face but you have the added advantage that you can watch it over and over again.

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What people say.....

You are a "Guru" (teacher) in the true sense of the word, as you impart and share your knowledge in totality, and I'm lucky to have you as a teacher. Kavita.

I would like to thank you for helping me have confidence in my speech today. It is because of you I did much better than I have before when presenting as speech. I was a little shaky, but other than that my voice sounded fine and I pronounced every word slowly and with emphasis on those that I wanted people to hear! Elections are tomorrow. Without you, this would not have happened! You are an inspiration! Thank you so much, Joe from New York

At the end of last term my son went for head boy and delivered an amazing speech, something we never imagined he would put himself forward for. Many of the teachers complimented him and were taken aback by his confidence and presence, he buzzed with excitement for days afterwards and said he loved speaking in public. It is through all your hard work that he has this turn around in his approach to speaking and for this we will be forever grateful. Elaine

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