How to Write a Father of the Bride Speech From Start to Finish

Prep for your moment in the spotlight with these tips.
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
by
Lauren Dana Ellman
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
Lauren Dana Ellman
The Knot Contributor
  • Lauren is a contributor for The Knot covering topics such as music, cakes, venues and speeches.
  • She has been published in a wide array of lifetsyle-oriented publications including SELF and Allure.
  • Lauren is a proud graduate of Syracuse University's SI Newhouse School of Public Communication.
Updated Oct 26, 2023

If you're the father of a bride-to-be, you've probably dreamed of (or dreaded!) your daughter's wedding since she was a little girl. Now that the big day is finally here, you'll be tasked with presenting a heartwarming father of the bride speech. Yes, the father of the bride is expected to give a speech—and it's usually a central moment during the wedding reception. So, bring a pack of tissues along for the emotional roller coaster ride and use our helpful father of the bride speech examples and tips to write your own tribute. Plus, we've created an easy-to-follow checklist that you can screenshot or print to make sure you've hit all the important points.

In this article:

Printable Template | How to Write | Examples | Tips | FAQs

Printable Father of the Bride Speech Template

In a pinch? Use our step-by-step father of the bride speech outline to quickly write something in just a few minutes.

printable father of the bride speeches, step-by-step outline
Design: Natalie Romine

How to Write a Father of the Bride Speech Step-by-Step

"This, without a doubt, is one of the most emotional speeches, so there will surely be many tears," says Fátima Falcon of Momentos Weddings and Events in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Emotions are sure to run high on the day of your daughter's wedding, which can make it difficult to deliver a heartfelt wedding toast to your daughter and her new spouse. We've compiled expert public speaking and wedding speech tips to help you write an authentic, tear-jerker father of the bride speech that's sure to wow everyone in the crowd.

1. Start with a welcome greeting.

Begin the speech by introducing yourself as the bride's father (or father figure), including your name.

2. Thank the guests for coming.

Share a few words of gratitude for everyone who attended the wedding—you can even include a brief mention of how much you've been looking forward to this day, especially if you were part of the planning process.

3. Talk about your bond with your daughter.

Consider incorporating memorable moments from years past into your speech to paint a picture of your daughter, like examples of what makes her special and how she's evolved into the person she is today. "Use this writing opportunity to express your love for your daughter and the special bond that you share now and will always share," says wedding planner Lynne Goldberg of Ms. Wedding Planner in South Florida, New York and Las Vegas. "Let her know that even though she is starting a new life, you will always be there for her."

If you're stuck on what to mention, Falcon recommends writing about how it felt when you first found out you were having a little girl, what moments you've most enjoyed with her and the times you felt especially proud of your daughter.

4. Welcome your daughter's partner to the family.

"Make sure you include the person she has chosen to marry in your speech," Goldberg says. Falcon adds: How did you feel when your daughter first met her now-spouse? How has your affection grown for her partner over time? Address your new in-law directly and share a few words about something that's unique to your connection with them.

5. Speak about the couple's relationship.

Take a moment to talk not just about your daughter's partner, but about their relationship with each other. Mention something positive you've noticed about their partnership and congratulate them for taking this next important step. You can also share a few words of encouragement for their next chapter or your best piece of marriage advice.

6. Raise your glass for a toast.

This one's obvious, but it's just as important. Conclude your father of the bride speech by inviting all of the guests to join you in a toast to the newlyweds.

Father of the Bride Speech Examples

Before you begin writing, decide if you want your speech to be short and sweet (check out the one below if you're looking for a shy father of the bride speech example), charming and funny, or simple and to the point. Once you're ready, follow these fill-in-the-blank options.

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Simple Father of the Bride Speech Example

"Welcome everyone. I'm [insert your name], Danielle's dad. On behalf of her mother and I, thank you for joining us tonight. We're incredibly grateful to celebrate the beautiful marriage of Danielle and John. We raised Danielle to be kind, independent and to embrace everything that life has to offer, but we could only hope that she'd someday find her match who embodies all of that and more. John, I'm so happy to say that you're that person, and we're thrilled to welcome you into our family. I admire [insert a characteristic about her partner] most about you, and I know that you're going to be a wonderful lifelong partner for Danielle. If I had one piece of advice for both of you, it's this: 'Whenever you are wrong, admit it. Whenever you are right, shut up!' But seriously, life is too short, so do your best not to sweat the small stuff. Danielle, I'm looking forward to celebrating many more happy moments in the future for you and John. Now, I'll ask that you all join me in raising your glasses for the newlyweds. Here's to a lifetime of love."

Short Father of the Bride Speech Example

"Hello, and thank you everyone for joining us to celebrate Jennifer and Melissa. I'm [insert your name], Jennifer's dad, and I'm so excited for her as she and Melissa take their next step in life together. When Jennifer was a little girl, one of the things I loved most about her was [share a favorite memory or characteristic from her childhood]. I could only hope that someday she'd find a partner who cares about her as much as I do, and Melissa is that person. Melissa, we are so thrilled to have you join our family, and I'm looking forward to many more years of [insert a common interest that you both share]. Cheers and congratulations to you both!"

Funny Father of the Bride Speech Example

"I've long been ridiculed by my wife, family members and now-adult children for my so-called 'awful' dad jokes, so bear with me as I try to keep those to a minimum. As the father of the bride, the pressure is on me to deliver a poignant, powerful speech. Hopefully, I live up to your expectations. If not, there's the door.

I've been picturing Alex's wedding day in my head since we first brought her home from the hospital. Honestly, I'm having trouble wrapping my head around how fast Alex has grown up. It's hard to believe I'm standing here today, in front of you all, giving this speech. When I look into my daughter's eyes, I am amazed. Instead of the little girl who'd force me to play dress-up, watch Disney movies, and host fake tea parties with her stuffed animals, I now see a beautiful bride and an all-around exceptional young woman. And although I will miss being the man you always run to for guidance, I won't miss getting the bills for your designer handbag obsession.

When Alex brought Sam home for the first time, I was terrified at the thought of her leaving the nest. And, I almost didn't want to like Sam—after all, dads aren't supposed to like their daughter's significant others (or, so I've been told by my much-older, less-wiser friends.) But as soon as Sam walked through our door and began chatting me up about the Mets, he nearly swept me off my feet just as they did with Alex. Over time, our casual conversations evolved and our bond became much stronger. She loved Sam, and I did, too.

Sam, you make the perfect addition to our family, and I'm so excited to call you my new [son/daughter/child]. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness. Now that I'm all puffy-eyed, please join me in toasting to this incredible couple before we get back to the dance floor!"

Father of the Bride Speech Tips

Now that we've shared the basics, the next step is to start writing your own father of the bride speech. Here are a few final tips to make note of (and the wedding speech mistakes to avoid).

Kick it off with an anecdote or heartfelt comment.

Figuring out how to start a father of the bride speech can feel like a lot of pressure—you want to capture guests' attention from the start without seeming like you're trying too hard. Once you've introduced yourself, sharing a short anecdote about your daughter or a touching comment about how proud she's made you are two father of the bride speech icebreakers. Whether you mention a funny wedding planning moment that happened leading up to the day, or you share a fond childhood memory that captures her personality, guests will love the personal touch. Not only will this give them a glimpse of your daughter's character, but it will double-down on just how special your relationship is.

Avoid sensitive or embarrassing comments.

Err on the side of caution by avoiding any embarrassing—or potentially awkward— memories, moments or mishaps that could make your daughter, her new spouse or wedding guests feel uncomfortable. This includes past relationships/breakups, mentions of future grandchildren and any other topics that are private or personal.

You'll also want to avoid jokes related to your bank account. "You may have spent a ton on this event, but joking about your now empty bank account will only make people feel awkward," says Katelyn Peterson of Wedding Words, a wedding vow and speech writing service. And while you're at it, steer clear of cliches as well. "We've all heard the line about how you're not losing a daughter, you're gaining a son," Peterson says. "Instead, express how you feel about your new son-in-law or daughter-in-law in your own words."

Conclude with a short and sweet message.

When it comes time to end your speech, think short, sweet and sentimental. "When the father of the bride inspires guests to wipe a tear away, that's when you know you've hit speech writing gold," says Peterson. Alternatively, end with a toast to the couple followed by a "wish for their future together," says Parks.

Father of the Bride Speech Frequently Asked Questions

Are you new to writing father of the bride speeches? No problem. Here's what's expected when it comes to timing and who you should thank once you take the mic.

How long should a father of the bride speech be?

A father of the bride speech can be about three minutes on the short side, and up to 10 minutes long for a more in-depth speech.

According to Falcon, the best father of the bride speeches last around six minutes. She continues, "The tone should be more formal at the beginning and, as the minutes go by, more emotional." But, beware: "Anything over 10 minutes will lose the attention of the guests," advises Joanna Kwok of Honour and Blessing Events in Vancouver, Canada.

When does the father of the bride give a speech?

The father of the bride can expect to make the speech at the start of the wedding reception, "just before dinner is served," says Peterson.

Alternatively, you can also give the father of the bride speech right before the father-daughter dance, says Goldberg. "That way, the very last line in the father of the bride speech can be: 'My beautiful daughter, may I have this dance?'" (I'm not crying—you are!)

Who does the father of the bride thank in his speech?

It's important to thank your wedding guests for attending, especially anyone who traveled from out of town to be present. You can also mention your wife or partner and reflect on how you've bonded as a family throughout the wedding planning process. Lastly, it's nice to give a special shout-out to your new in-laws and anyone else who contributed significantly to the wedding.

However, Peterson warns, "Long thank-yous are boring and not necessary." Instead, she recommends "focus[ing] on the main folks who it would make sense for them to receive a dedicated shout-out."

Samantha Iacia contributed to the reporting of this article.

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