Advice for the Father of the Bride

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Wedding Toast and Speech

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This entry was posted on 8/4/2006 10:27 AM and is filed under Wedding Day Etiquette.

Toasts and Speeches
One of the few commonly recognized responsibilities for the father of the bride is giving a wedding day toast.  You should also be prepared to give a toast at the rehearsal dinner. Here is a chance for you to shine or fall on your sword. Both happen on a regular basis on wedding days.  Following the ceremony there is usually a cocktail reception that occurs while pictures are being taken of the wedding party.  The bride and groom and wedding party will form a receiving line to welcome the guests into the dinning facility.  The bride and groom are announced as they enter and then the toasts begin.  Below is the usual order for toasts, but you don’t have to follow it.

1. Best Man
2. Fathers (groom’s then bride’s)
3. Groom
4. Bride
5. Maid/Matron of Honor
6. Mothers (groom’s then bride’s)
7. The Father of the Bride announcing the start of the meal and festivities

Personally, I prefer to have non-official toasts (everyone else) to occur periodically during the meal.  The individual stands up and toasts the couple. You can help this to occur by having a relative or friend start it off sometime during the meal.  Others will catch on.

Toast Notes
Don’t wing the toast.  Prepare ahead of time and know what you’re going to say. Practice your toast, but do your practice standing up as you will be delivering the toast at the reception.  You’ll be surprised at how fast the blood can drain out of your body as you stand up to give a toast if you haven’t practiced it.  Think about what elements that you want to include in your toast.  Be leery of sarcastic jokes, they have a tendency to backfire and be remembered long after the wedding.  Above all, don’t build up your toast courage through mass consumption of alcohol.  Too much alcohol is almost guaranteed to release any inhibitions you’re trying to keep in check on your daughter’s wedding day.

The following is a list of wedding toasting suggestions for your wedding toasts/speeches.

1. Know your toast, know what order the toasting will occur, and ensure that all concerned (the other toasters) know what order the toasts are to be given.

2. Prepare your toast ahead of time, but use your own words and speak from the heart. If you do this and you forget some of the prepared words it’s easier to continue.

3. Keep the toast within a two to three minutes timeframe. Your guests are interested, but they’re also thinking of the food being placed in front of them.

4. The toast is not a time to question your daughter’s marital choice.  This is the day set to honor their joining and the joining of your families.  Take the high road.

5. Remember this is a toast and not a roast. The purpose of a toast is to say something nice about the people being honored.

6. Ensure that during the toasts that you look around the room and make eye contact with others.  You are one of the main stars at this event and your guests want to feel connected to you. Also take time during the dinner to walk around and thank people for coming.

Templates and Sample Toasts
What I have tried to do is to give you a concept (what information you should convey) and a sample of what that information could be.  Use any or all of the suggestions here to make the toast your own.

1. Thank your guests for coming and sharing in this event and remind them what the focus of the event is.

Good evening. I hope you are all enjoying yourselves and thank you for coming. You are the people who have had a major influence on Kate and Jason as they grew up or in their adult lives. All of you have made a significant commitment to be here today.  On behalf of Kathleen and Jason, Jason's mother, my wife Susan and I, we welcome you all and thank you for sharing this special day with us.

2. Recognize your new son-in-law and welcome him to the family.

Every father hopes that his daughter will some day find a man who he believes is worthy of his daughter.  That is not an easy set of requirements to fulfill.  In Jason, I have seen a commitment to Kate that goes well beyond any physical attraction that may have brought the two of them together. Jason has demonstrated thousands of times in his thoughts and actions that he considers Kathleen the most important person in his life.  This is something that has become rare today. So I must say, I am a happy father today.

3. Recognize your new daughter, her uniqueness and present her as a new member of your son-in-law’s family.

Our daughter Kathleen is a source of happiness, good humor, and is a joy to us. She has demonstrated a strength of character that is beyond what Susan and I could ever have hoped for.  On a personal note, Susan and I are pleased that her goals in life have evolved beyond her original goal of becoming a Kung Fu master in the Shaolin Wu-Tang style.

4. Congratulate the couple and wish them a happy future.

Kathleen and Jason, your life together is just starting and it will take many turns along the way. You'll have your glory days and you'll have your sad days. However, if you have each other, you will have all you need. Cling to each other, communicate with each other, and make each other number one in your lives. With these tools, you will have a successful marriage.

We love you, we cherish you and we wish you well! Congratulations!



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    Page: 1 of 1
    • 10/20/2006 12:06 PM Don wrote:
      Gray on white may look chic, but it's hard to read.
      Reply to this
    • 10/30/2006 2:17 PM BrideBlog wrote:
      Don't forget to talk to the bride about your intentions to do a toast or not... Its actually not as common now days as it used to be, according to my wedding co-ordinator most often just the maid of honor and best man give toasts.

      It honestly hadn't ocurred to me that my dad would want to give a toast. When he made his desire known I was of course thrilled, but because my wedding planner and I had my entire reception down on a timeline we had to rejigger the events of the reception a bit to make it work.

      One other word of advice is to do the toasts towards the beginning of the reception around the dinner. Its a more 'mellow' part of the evening. The last wedding I went to they tried to interrupt the dancing to do a speach and people were having such a great time out on the dance floor that the DJ was reluctant to bring the energy down again.
      Reply to this
    • 8/16/2008 6:28 AM Dale wrote:
      The Father of the Bride toast template is most helpful. Noting a few specific attributes of groom, i.e. his ability to make wireless routers work, download google earth on our blackberries, etc. adds sincerity. Same for daughter and their relationship. I'm considering asking god parents to say a few heartfelt/advice things - probably at rehearsal dinner.

      Sounds good. The book I wrote, Men of the Wedding - The Final Week, has several more sample toasts in it and some other tips.  Enjoy the wedding.

      Reply to this
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