Whether it's your first father of the bride speech and you're feeling nervous, or you've got a band of daughters to rival Pride And Prejudice and are something of an old hand, a little bit of advice can go a long way. Picture the scene: it's your daughter's big day. The vows have been taken, food devoured and now it's your moment to make your father of the bride speech and share your thoughts with friends, family and guests. Customarily if there isn't a master of ceremonies, the FOTB - that's you - will be introduced by the best man after his best man speech. The father of the bride is typically the first to present his speech. By tradition, you'll start by welcoming guests and thanking them for being a part of the day. After that, it's over to you and those hard-spent late night speech writing hours.
Every dad wants their moment to be memorable (read: go down in history as legendary). Here are our tips on how to get it spot-on:
1. Share childhood stories
Stories from the past alway go down a treat in a father of the bride speech - after all, you're one of only two people who have known her for her whole life. Funny moments of tantrums past and snippets of her character forming at a young age make a great ice breaker - and guarantee smiles all round. Move on to talk about her teenage years, her achievements and things that you are proud of now that your little girl is a fully-fledged (and now married) woman.
2. Talk about your son-in-law
The second essential of a father of the bride speech is to talk about your new son-in-law. Perhaps mention what happened when he met the family (a great opportunity for a funny story to delight your guests and make him squirm) or an experience you both shared that made you realise that he was the one for her. Either way, a balance of funny, charming and heart-warming - these bits are best saved to round up this section of your speech - will do the trick.
3. Share stories about love from your own experience
Take a stance as one of the more experienced men in the room, and add your own words of wisdom about relationships, love and marriage.
4. Add in funny moments...
Funny anecdotes, especially at the beginning of your speech, will warm up your audience. Crucially, getting a few laughs is a great confidence boost if you're feeling nervous.
5. …But keep them
Your daughter will be expecting to blush but she won't want to be left mortified by any stories - about you or her! With that in mind, it's best to leave the really naughty anecdotes to the best man.
6. Serious moments are just as important too
When it comes to the jokes, it's all things in moderation. Don't push too hard for endless gags: your audience - an of course your daughter - will really appreciate the heart-felt moments.
7. Make the groom's family feel welcome
The father of the bride speech is a great way to let your daughter's new family know that you can't wait to spend time with them too. It's likely you'll cross paths at a number of other important occasions in the future such as Christmas, birthdays and christenings so it's important to welcome them with open arms.
8. Keep an eye on the time
While we have no doubt that the crowd will be hanging on your every word, it's best to try to keep your father of the bride speech around the 10-minute mark. It's worth doing a rehearsal (or three) before your big moment too to smooth out any potential hiccups.
9. Add a personal touch with props
Is there a teddy bear or doll that your little girl just couldn't live without when she was younger? Send her on a trip down memory lane by pulling it out during your speech.
10. Finish with a toast
Follow tradition and round up your speech by asking everyone to stand and toast the bride and groom. Then smile, breath, and clap - you've done it! Now time to enjoy the party...