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Does The Father Of The Bride Give A Speech? [Or Have To?]

As a father, your daughter’s wedding can be one of the most anticipated life events of both your and her life. It’s exciting and emotional, but it can come with its fair share of anxiety and pressure. Besides, with weddings come the anticipated speeches. But do you need to give one as the father of the bride? Is it expected of you, and must it be given? Well, here is all you are going to need to know.

So, does the father of the bride give a speech? It is customary for the father of the bride to give a heart-filled speech. This is often given during the wedding reception, just before or after dinner. He will typically go first. However, if the father of the bride really does not feel comfortable giving a speech, there are alternatives, such as a poem, a slideshow, or forgoing it altogether. 

In reality, we are not all cut out for speaking in front of crowds. 

It’s totally ok and natural to feel nervous.

But if you can remember that this speech is for your daughter and if you can stand up to say a few words, it will really be appreciated by her and the rest of the guests. 

If the nerves are really hitting you hard, then thankfully, there are some other things you can do instead.

So, if you are a father of the bride embarking on their first speech-giving journey, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about giving this important wedding day speech. 

When Are Fathers Of The Bride Expected To Give A Speech?

Fathers of the bride are expected to give a speech during or just after the reception evening meal, traditionally, they give their speech first, and the groom and best man follow.

However, this order is not definitive and can be changed depending on the individual speech giver’s preferences and those of the newly wedded couple (so long as it is agreed beforehand). 

At the same time, the place and time of the speeches have been known to change, too.

While it is generally accepted that most speeches happen at some stage during the evening reception – or afternoon reception if the couple is getting married in the morning, this is not always the case. 

Each wedding is highly unique and organized around the couple, so you may find that speeches are held before the reception, sometimes just after the couple has said their I do’s.

One really sweet time for a father of the bride to give his speech is right before the father-daughter dance. 

This gives him the option to close his speech with the line, ‘My radiant daughter, please may I have this dance?’.

Does The Father Of The Bride Have To Give A Speech?

The father of the bride does not have to give a speech, although it is something that will likely be expected from guests and appreciated if given. At the very least, it should be discussed with the wedded couple ahead of time.

The thing is, the father of the bride’s speech is one of the most traditional parts of a wedding.

So if you are able to give one, this would be best.

Many brides look forward to a speech full of laughs and love from their dad. 

If anything, aside from marrying the man they love, it can be one of the most important parts of their wedding. 

A few words from the first man they ever loved. So, writing off the father of the bride’s speech from the get-go can be a bit of a shame.

Some of the things you can do if you are feeling a little nervous but want to give your daughter that special speech moment is:

  • Practice your speech in front of people before the wedding
  • Get to know the venue
  • Film your speech so you don’t have to stand up on the day itself
  • Have a quick drink – but not too much. No one likes a drunk dad
  • Have someone stand with you while you give your speech
  • Focus on your daughter as you give your speech to help you forget about everyone else

Just like everything else in a wedding, nothing has to be done.

Tradition isn’t something many of us follow very closely anymore, so if you don’t want to give a speech, have this important conversation with the bride long before the wedding date, and you may even be able to pass this speech on to someone else, like a brother or uncle.

Or, the bride may be quite happy to scrap the speech altogether. 

How Long Should A Father Of The Bride Speech Be?

On average, most fathers of the bride’s speeches are around 5 or so minutes long. Just enough to include some funny memories and wishes for the future but not long enough to lose the interest of the crowd.

There are no hard or fast rules when it comes to how long your father of the bride speech should be, but if you are cracking on for a good 10 minutes long during your practices, your speech is quite possibly too long. 

Remember, your practice speech doesn’t factor in the possibility of pauses for the crowds laughing, clapping, or having a little cheer, which can then make your speech even longer.

The old saying ‘leave them wanting more’ is always a good motto to think of when you are crafting your speech. 

It’s easy to add in more when you’re under the spotlight if you feel as though you haven’t said enough, but you can’t take back a 15-minute speech after it’s done. 

What Does A Father Of The Bride Say In His Speech?

The father of the bride should include a number of thank-yous, acknowledge the guests, and share some loving and special memories with his daughter and the groom. 

Writing your speech can be a tricky fellow to master, and you’ll usually find that starting is the hardest bit. 

Once your ideas start flowing, funny memories come to mind, what you hope for the couple’s futures, and perhaps a joke or two, you’ll have your speech written in no time.

Here are a few ideas for what you can include in your father of the bride speech and a couple you really shouldn’t.

DO Welcome All The Guests

It’s important to welcome and thank everyone who has taken the time to join you as you celebrate your daughter’s wedding day. 

This is a great way to break into your speech with ease and also gets all of the respectful thankyou obligations out of the way early.

DO Thank Your Partner

Whether they are another parent or step-parent to your daughter. 

Always take the time to give them a hand and thank them for any support they have given you during the process of your father of the bride duties. 

Also, make sure they are given a heartfelt thanks for all the help they may have given during all the wedding preparations. 

Oftentimes, those not giving speeches help out just as much but aren’t given as many thanks. I’m sure they don’t expect it, but it can be nice to get a little recognition.

DO Thank Her Spouse’s Parents

The groom’s or spouse’s parents are often not a part of the speech giving part of the festivities unless they have specifically asked if they can. 

So, it can be a lovely homage to the parents of your daughter’s new husband by recognizing their efforts as the wedding planning has proceeded and also if they have been particularly supportive.

DO Include Some Memories

It’s this part of the father of the bride speech that tends to lend a few giggles and even tears.

Share some really memorable moments from your life with your daughter. 

Memories that tell people who she is.

It may be her stubbornness to learn to ride a bike, how it felt when she was first born, or even a little funny one from when she wore a matching costume with the family dog. 

Don’t forget to include how proud you are of her and what it is that makes her special.

DO Speak To Her New Spouse

As important as your daughter is to you, her spouse is now an important part of the next stage of her life. 

Include a quick welcome to the family mention or even a memory you have of them. 

Such as how you felt the first time you met or how much you have grown to see them as another child.

DO Share Some Marriage Advice

This is another great way to end your speech. 

With some wishes for the future and a little marriage advice for the newly wedded couple. 

It can be tips on how to maintain a healthy marriage, how to solve conflicts, or if you haven’t had that great a track record with relationships yourself, you can share a few ‘what not to do’s’ which will no doubt invite a few chuckles.

DON’T Talk About Any Exes

This is an obvious no-no, but you would be surprised by the number of fathers of the brides who forget, only to include a memory about an ex or how they think they moved on to a better partner. 

This can sometimes make the couple and even the guests a little uncomfortable.

So, no matter how much you want to include a story of an ex, don’t. Exes have no place at the wedding.

DON’T Joke About Money

Weddings are expensive, everyone knows this but try to avoid jokes about how much you have spent on the wedding. 

This can come across as begrudging at times and bragging at others. 

It’s another topic that can leave people feeling very uncomfortable. 


The father of the bride’s speech can be one of the best parts of a wedding. Full of laughs, promises, memories, and advice. 

But at the same time, if you are not comfortable standing up in front of people or giving speeches, it can end up being quite a stressful, even an awkward experience.

So, you are going to need to spend some time planning your speech and practicing it.

Otherwise, if it does feel too much, it’s best to talk to your daughter and her upcoming groom. And do this well ahead of the day itself. 

Just remember, if you can get up and say a few words, it will go a long way. Your daughter and family will treasure the memory of her father taking the time to make her wedding that little bit extra special.

Even more so if he’s overcome any reservations and nerves to deliver his speech.

Are you wondering who else needs to give a speech? Then my following guides may be for you: