the father/mother of the bride/groom’s speech

Traditionally, the father/mother of the bride/groom is the first speaker proper – apart from a brief introduction from the best man - so your speech is a sort of scene-setter for what’s to come. The idea behind this is doubtless linked with the fact that the father of the bride was always supposed to foot the bill for the wedding - so if you're paying, you should at least be allowed to get your oar in first! Even today, fathers of brides are often advised to begin, as a 'gesture of humility', by thanking anyone else who has contributed to the cost of the wedding.

In your speech, you'll probably want to talk about your daughter/son, as - again, as the tradition would have it - you hand her over from your care into that of her new partner. Fathers and daughters Mothers/Sons are always thought to have very special relationships, but try and avoid the clichés and talk realistically and affectionately about your own specific relationship: its ups and downs, the funny foibles and the silly stories.

Your speech also offers the chance to officially welcome the groom into your family, so you may want to talk about how your side first got to know him, what your first impressions were etc. You may also want to take the opportunity to welcome the joining together of your family and the groom's. Here, you might mention happy times the two families have already shared and/or look forward to the prospect of getting to know each other better.

Of course, your remarks will be made on behalf of both yourself and your partner, as a couple (unless, of course, your partner is speaking too). If your partner has died, this may be the moment to say a few words in his/her memory, and to say some words of approval and welcome to bride and groom on her behalf too.

father/mother of the bride/groom’s speech checklist

Points you may like to include:

Opening remarks - perhaps mention the success of the wedding so far, any amusing incidents etc.

Thank everyone for attending, perhaps making special mention of those who've come a long way.

Stories and remarks about your daughter/son, watching her grow up and change. Your hopes for her, the ways in which she has foiled or surpassed your expectations etc.

Stories and remarks about her/him and the bride/groom - how he/she was first introduced to you (and your partner), what you thought of him/her, how your relationship has developed, how you feel he/she complements your daughter/son etc.

Say something about the groom/bride that has surprised you or something that you've learnt from him/her.

Make sure your comments include your own partner too - especially if she/he is not speaking her/himself.

Finish with a toast to the health and happiness of the bride and groom.