Perhaps the family would rather a close friend to speak than a parent, or you are a recent step-parent or perhaps you are asked to speak in the unfortunate event of the father’s death or absence. But whatever the reason, if you are the person to stand and make that first speech, then this is the article for you.
Where do you start?
For a general guide to preparing a speech – and quelling your nerves – see our article on speeches. Each speech serves a purpose, and the first speech of the reception usually comes from the father of the bride who would traditionally be the host of the wedding. Even when the financial responsibilities are split, this speech concentrates on the bride and her pre-wedding years before welcoming the groom into his new family and proposing a toast:
- Introduce yourself and briefly explain your relation to the bride (and groom).
- If one of the bride or groom’s parents has passed away, see our article Gone But Not Forgotten for ideas on how to honour them within your speech.
- Thank the guests for joining the celebrations.
- Thank all those who have paid for any part of the wedding and helped to organise the day.
- Compliment the bride.
- Welcome the groom.
- Propose a toast to the bride and groom.
Here are some suggested lines for your speech that may help you create your own. For more ideas, take a look at our Father of the Bride and Suggested Speech Games articles:
1) The Introduction
- “I am delighted to be here and feel very privileged to have been Nicola’s step-father for the last 15 years.”
- “I am honoured to stand here and speak on behalf of my father, who would have loved to see my sister Nicola, marry John.”
- “As Nicola’s godfather, her parents have kindly asked me to welcome you all to her wedding and say a few words about their beautiful daughter.”
2) The Thanks You’s
- “Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to thank you all for being here today to witness the marriage between Nicola and John.”
- “Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m delighted to see so many of you her today to share this special day with Nicola and John.”
- “Ladies and Gentlemen, I know how delighted Nicola and John are to see so many of their friends and relatives on their special day/the most important day of their lives.”
3) Thanking Contributors
- “Today would not have been possible without the generous help of both sets of parents, Ken and Angela and Fred and Jane, and I know that the couple are very grateful for the extra help.”
- “Nicola and John have done a wonderful job with the wedding but they would like to make a special mention of Vikki, who very generously donated the magnificent flowers.”
4) Compliment the Bride
If you have been asked to give this speech, you will probably have known the bride for a number of years but take the time to speak to her family, especially her mother who, traditionally, plays a silent role in the day. In this section we have given you a few options to cut and paste into your own speech:
- “I know that Ken and Angela are so proud of their daughter, Nicola. She has worked so hard to get where she is today (name her career or mention what she is studying at university) and is a beautiful/radiant/ gorgeous bride. But I will always remember her as a scruffy/inquisitive/mischievous baby/child/adolescent.”
- “Nicola makes a glamorous/radiant/gorgeous/lovely bride but, to me, she will always be a scruffy/mischievous/solemn/beautiful baby/child/teenager. Her family and friends are so proud of her, not only because she has been so successful in (name her career/studying/hobbies or achievements), but because she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the inside/a generous, warm-hearted and loving woman.
- “Seeing her here today, looking so beautiful/radiant/happy, I would never recognise the baby/child/(rebellious) teenager I remember who loved nothing better than to (sweet anecdote e.g. play with caterpillars/climb tress/play weddings with her dolls etc.). I am honoured/proud to be here today, speaking on behalf of her family and I know that Ken and Angela are so proud that she has grown into such a wonderful/sweet-natured/kind woman.
5) Welcome the Groom
- “I am not only delighted for Nicola on her wedding day, but also for John. He is a good man and I know that Ken and Angela are delighted to welcome him into their family. They make a beautiful couple and have a lot in common. I am sure that they will be as happy in twenty years as they are today.”
- “John, you are the perfect man for Nicola. You are kind, warm-hearted and generous and she deserves nothing less. On behalf of Ken and Angela, I am delighted to welcome you into the family.”
- “I always thought that it would be hard for Nicola to find any man who deserved her but I was wrong. John is perfect for her and I know that I speak on behalf of Ken and Angela when I say how delighted we are that you have married Nicola.”
6) Toast the Bride and Groom
Wait for all of the glasses to be filled before asking guests to stand for the first toast. Remember to wait for silence before starting the toast as you don’t want to be drowned out by scraping chairs.
- “Ladies and Gentlemen, please be upstanding and raise your glasses. I give you. the bride and groom.”
- “Ladies and Gentlemen, please be upstanding and charge your glasses. I give you. the bride and groom.”
- “Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding and join me in a toast to. the bride and groom.”