Does your Father of the Bride toast have any of these common mistakes?

The father of the bride gets a rum deal. He’s on duty all day long from giving his daughter away at the start of the wedding to buying everyone drinks at the reception. On top of that he also has to give the first of the speeches. Some people think the best man has the hardest job, but by the time he his to speak the audience have been already enjoyed at least 2 speeches and are starting to feel nice and drunk. The father of the Bride gets to be the warm up man. With so much pressure on the Father of the Bride’s a lot of their speeches go wrong upsetting their daughter, boring the guests, or leaving everyone feeling uncomfortable.

Like this speech for example.

Hopefully your speech is already better than that. (And if it’s not I recommend getting the perfect Father of the Bride Speech written for you) But it’s possible that you’ve made one of these other mistakes instead.

1. Being too funny

You’re a funny guy. You come out with lines that have everyone in their office laughing their heads off. But jokes that work in the office probably won’t work at a wedding. Even Jeff Dunham’s jokes, floundered when he first did stand up in LA. And you don’t have the benefit of several years of practice to get it right.

How to avoid it

Don’t tell jokes. Instead, stick to telling stories. Keep them short and keep them personal and pick stories that show the funny, or sweet side of your daughter. You don’t want to embarrass her by talking about her previous boyfriends, or her yo yo dieting.

2. Getting too emotional

This is the reverse of the too-funny coin. Yes she’s your daughter, yes she’s the light of your life, your angel, your pookey-poo, your perfect princess or whatever. But your guests have just eaten, and they’d like to their food down! No one likes a Public Display of Affection whether it’s making out at a train station or blubbing during your wedding speech.

How to avoid it

Classically the sweet part of a speech is the last third,  just before the toast. You’ve spent the first two thirds telling funny stories about her and now you get to praise her instead. But you don’t have to stick to that. Just make sure that for every sweet memory you tell you have at least once funny story as well, or even better try to find sweet stories that are funny too.

“Jennifer’s little sister always wanted to fly when she was very small, and Jennifer decided to help her as well which was lovely, the perfect big sister thing to do. Except Jennifer’s way of helping her sister to fly was to hold her out of a 3rd story window by her ankles.”

3, Listing her achievements like you’re reading her CV

Of course she’s achieved a lot in her life. She’s your daughter after all, a chip off the old block. But you’re not trying to sell her to the highest bidder, you’re just helping the guests get to know her a little better and understand why the groom is so in love with her.

How to avoid it

Pick 3 things you daughter has achieved and talk about those. No more. Even if she’s cured cancer, wiped out world hunger, sailed around the world in a one man dingy and written a series of best selling novels, you can only fit 3 of them in your speech.

4. Talking too much about your daughter and forgetting about everyone else

it’s her big day, but its also his big day, and your wife’s big day, and the best man’s big day, and the the bridesmaids’ big day and so on and so forth ad-nauseum. Though no-one will hate you for spend it the whole time talking about your daughter, they’ll be a lot happier, and a lot more likely to buy you a drink, if you fit them into the speech as well.

How to avoid it

For a start make sure to mention the groom. How has your daughter’s life changed since he came into her life? What do you like about him? Mention the bridemaids as well, a line about how your daughter knows them or how they’ve helped out with the day. And don’t forget to mention your wife no matter what you do.

5. Talking for far too long

Father of the bride’s are the worst perpetrators of speech boredom. A wedding speech should never be more than 10 minutes. 5-8 minutes is about the best length possible. Any less than that and your daughter will feel short changed. Any more and she will probably start to wish she hadn’t invited you. If you’re talking for 15 minutes you’re doing it wrong.

How to avoid it

Find the theme of your speech and stick to it. “Jennifer’s always been a princess”,  “Sarah’s my little tomboy”, “Raquel always achieves what she sets her mind too.” You should be able to sum up your  speech in a tweet. Take your points from key 3, make sure they fit the theme and put them in. Then say a little about the groom, about your wife, and about the bridesmaids before the final toast. If it’s still longer than 10 minutes (about 1,200 words) read it to your wife and note the parts she stops paying attention to.


In conclusion

You love your daughter. She’s your world. And it’s her big day. And that puts pressure on you to get the speech right. Fortunately it’s not too hard to write a reasonable father of the bride speech. It just takes some planning, some editing and some restraint.

Imagine that you’re be sat in the audience listening to your own speech. Would you be enjoying it or would you be impatiently waiting for the bar to re-open? If you’re not hooked to every word, then your guests won’t be either.

Keep it personal, original, simple, entertaining and short, and you’ll get it right every time.

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