Some fathers love the limelight, so when it comes time for these dads to pen their father of the bride speeches, the material comes spilling out. But others feel shy about the experience—and for good reason! On such an important day, in a room filled with important people, it's easy to let emotion get the best of you. That's why we caught up with Balraj Arunasalam, president of Toastmasters International, an organization that specializes in communication and leadership development. Not only is he an expert in delivering an incredible speech under any circumstances, but he's also in the process of drafting a reception toast for his own daughter's wedding. He was kind enough to share some tips on the process, offering practical advice that can help even the shyest dad have his moment to shine.
Wait to Write
Arunasalam suggests dads first focus on what they want to say rather than worry about how they want to say it. "Take time two to three weeks prior to the ceremony to write several thoughts on the occasion," he says. "Make sure you have all your thoughts together first, then play around with the words."
Use Your Expertise
If you're not sure where to start, begin with what you know best: your daughter. "Add your favorite memories... when her first smile captured your heart, a first day of school, and so forth," says Arunasalam. From there, he suggests hitting foolproof beats like welcoming the spouse to your family and wishing the bride and groom a happy, prosperous life together.
Practice Your Speech
Once you have your words down, practice, practice, practice. And don't underestimate the power of reading it aloud in front of a mirror. What sounds good in your head may trip you up when you hear it spoken, so be sure to get comfortable well before the reception.
Let It Flow
"Deliver your speech from the heart," says Arunasalam. The father of the bride's toast is such an emotional moment between dad and daughter, and it's one that will make everyone in the room teary as soon as you stand up. Know that no matter what you say, your little girl will love every second of it. Just as much as she already loves you.