1. Create an Outline
Come up with a rough list of the points you’d like to make. Either stick to our no-fail template—deliver an opening line, thank those involved, tell an anecdote, and wrap it up—or come up with your own formula to keep things fresh. This dad structured his speech around his prayers to God for his daughter over the years. First, “Make her like her mother” and “Make her like me,” then “Make her like you,” and finally, “Make her happy.”
2. Be Creative
Is there a fun way to tuck a tale into your toast? This FOB narrated the story of the groom asking for his blessing to propose. When it comes to anecdotes, though, keep these conditions in mind: The story should be positive (don’t embarrass the bride or groom) and something everyone can appreciate (inside jokes won’t translate to outside listeners).
3. Say Thanks
At some point in your spiel, express gratitude for those who were involved in the planning of the day, as well as friends and family who made the trip. People appreciate being acknowledged, and they’ll feel more included and therefore more interested in what you have to say. At the beginning of his toast, this dad recognized his wife, the groom’s parents, the officiant, and the guests.
4. Speak Up
This dad articulated the qualities he adores in his daughter and welcomed his new son-in-law. He mixed in some lighthearted jokes, but most important, he spoke clearly, confidently, and at a steady pace, so that no one missed a moment of his sweet sentiments, including: “I loved and lived more deeply because of what you brought to my life.” All together now: Awww!
5. Entertain the Masses
Mixing in humor, whether through jokes or comical stories, will surely be appreciated. Don’t alienate anyone, though, and be sure to stop cracking people up long enough to get across a more serious message of well wishes. At the beginning of his toast, this father of the bride—a trial lawyer and clearly no stranger to public speaking—told the story of how the hard-working groom had once used a toothbrush to detail his bride’s car. Later in the speech, he gifted the groom a new toothbrush with a note reading, “For John’s car,” hinting that he’d like his own car cleaned as well.
6. Get Sentimental
If there’s ever a time to make a corny comment, this is it. Look back and try to put into words the way you feel about the couple. It may cause some tears to flow, but it will also mean the world to your daughter or son. On behalf of their father, who passed away before the wedding, this bride’s brother gave a short speech and invited friends and family members up for a father-daughter dance in lieu of her late dad.
7. Give the Groom Some Love
Though it may be tempting to talk on and on about your little girl (or guy), spend some time welcoming your new family member and reflecting on how the two complement one another. After all, it is a union you’re there to celebrate.
8. Keep It Short and Simple
Though you undoubtedly have a lot to say about your child’s next chapter, remember that you’re probably one of a handful of speeches, and if it goes too long, listeners will start to get antsy. Focus in on a few key points and aim to talk for no more than three to five minutes. The message this groom’s dad delivered was one of open arms to his son’s bride—a classic choice.
9. Impart Wisdom
Lastly, while you have the floor, use it to offer sage advice for life and love. “Every day should count,” this bride’s pop urged at the end of his speech. “Make it special. Make it real.”