His wedding day could be the happiest day in your son’s life. The last thing you want to do is ruin it with a bad speech. However, giving no speech also isn’t an option. You raised the groom so people will want to hear how you feel about him, the wedding, and his bride-to-be.
Remember that the speech doesn’t need to be Shakespeare. Speaking honestly from the heart will always take you a lot further than a long and droning quote from a book or “the Oxford English Dictionary definition for ‘love’ is….” Being honest will keep everyone satisfied and smiling.
If you’re unsure where to start with your father or the groom’s speech, you should first learn about your role as the groom’s father at a wedding. Then you can move on to opening lines, themes, and other content.
You want your son’s wedding ceremony to be unique, and a little bit of preparation can go a long way. Read on to learn how to write a solid father of the groom speech.
The Role of the Groom’s Father for a Wedding
You might want to include the various tasks you’ve performed for the wedding in your speech. Obviously, this isn’t the place to complain about contacting forty different venues and how much the party will hurt your wallet.
However, some nice callbacks to your role in the ceremony and planning will show the wedding party and their guest that you’re essential and care about everyone having a good time.
Before the Wedding
The first thing you’ll want to do is order a tux or suit. Unless you moonlight as an agent for MI6, it’s not unusual to have no formal clothes fancy enough for a beautiful wedding. You can tag along with the groom and other groomsmen or rent/buy one on your own.
You should also be prepared to participate in wedding planning and budget conversations with the bride’s family and be available to help with booking and other financing decisions. Finally, you’ll need to attend the rehearsal dinner and spend time with the groomsmen during the bachelor party.
Most importantly, you need to be there for your son. Weddings are full of second guesses, butterflies, and fear of the future. As a man of wisdom, you need to help your son get through the rough patches and make sure he’s happy and confident when he reaches the altar.
During the Wedding
While the groom’s father doesn’t have as central a role as the bride’s father, you are still a part of the wedding party. That means you will be walking down the aisle during the ceremony with the mother of the groom.
You’ll also need to greet wedding guests in the receiving line (as they enter the wedding reception) with the other parents of the happy couple. During this time, you can thank them for coming and catch up with familiar faces. Also, take the opportunity to meet members of the bride’s family.
It’s also typical for the groom’s father to dance with the bride and her mother during the reception. Finally, you’ll need to make a toast, which is when you can deliver your speech.
Best Opening Lines for a Father of the Groom Speech
Every great speech needs a great opening line. It will set the tone for the whole address. Will it be funny, heartfelt, a passing along of wisdom, or a trainwreck full of dad jokes and clichés?
For our suggestions, we used the names “John” and “Jane” to take the place of the bride and groom’s names.
“When I first met John….”
It can be a hilarious way to start your speech if you’re the groom’s biological father. You can follow up with “he was crying uncontrollably and covered in blood.” This will set the tone of a comedic speech and help break the ice and get the room on your side.
If you’re not the groom’s biological father, then you can use this as a moment to mention the first time you met your son and how your relationship blossomed from there. It’s a good starting point to tell the story of your connection to the groom.
“When I first met Jane….”
Our significant others are always concerned about how their in-laws feel about them. The wedding toast is an excellent chance to ease their minds and show you appreciate them. You can tell the story of when you first met or even reveal some honest first impressions.
Remember, if your first impressions are a bit frank, to always soften the blow with a “but as I got to know her I realized…” or “now I couldn’t be happier with who John chose….” This little touch will ensure the bride’s family doesn’t want to kill you after you finish talking.
“Love is never easy.”
Regardless of your current relationship status, the younger people in the room will be looking to you for advice and wisdom regarding this journey on which they’re about to embark. You can move on to tell them about all the work that goes into a healthy marriage, making time for each other, never going to bed angry, etc.
Again, be sure to end on a positive note. No one wants to hear the groom’s father make a pessimistic indictment of love at the reception. It’s ok to get real and a little dark with this type of speech as long as you put a happy ending on it.
“Let me tell you some things you probably don’t know about John.”
The guests will be looking for how close you are to the groom in your speech. You can tell by the intimacy of the groom’s father’s speech how close the groom and his devoted father are to one another.
A speech that starts like this will open the doors for you to showcase your relationship. You can include obscure information, stories, and even some of your son’s struggles in life that you watched him go through or even helped him through.
Themes for a Father of the Groom Speech
The theme you choose for a father of the groom speech will say a lot about your relationship with the groom. Were you always the fun dad that nobody could take too seriously? Maybe you’re the wise old parent whose knee he sat upon when he needed answers.
Maybe you’re still working to build a better relationship. No matter what the relationship is, you can pick one or two of these themes as a guiding light to keep your speech coherent.
Humor is a phenomenal structural tool for wedding speeches. It can be incredibly intimate and also surprisingly impersonal, depending on how you work it. A few laughs also help lighten the mood when you’ve touched upon a deep topic.
For humorous speeches, it’s always important to start on a light note. You don’t want to start with something heavy then crack a joke because people might get lost and not know whether to laugh or cry.
Remember that not every joke needs a stand-up comedian’s delivery. You can just as easily crack a one-liner as you can an extended bit with a heavy punchline at the end. Always ensure you know your audience. If the bride’s family is very reserved, you might want to avoid dirty jokes.
Thoughtful and Reflective
If you know the groom and bride’s relationship exceptionally well, then this might be the best speech theme to choose. You and the audience can reflect together on the early stages of their relationship, the obstacles they overcame, and when you realized they were soulmates.
During one of these speeches, stories will help to drive your points home. A story about a dinner or party with the bride and groom is a lot more effective than simply saying “and then they fell in love.”
If you feel like you’ve been around the block a few times and want to pass down some experience, then try giving some advice in your speech. It won’t sound vain to act like you know a thing or two. The married couple will happily accept any help they can get on the exciting journey through life to come.
Other Content Ideas for a Father of the Groom Speech
If you’re still missing some parts of your speech, then try these fillers to get it done.
Stories are way better at illustrating emotions and relationships than statements. Telling a story about how you supported the groom is better than just saying, “I’d do anything for John.”
In today’s world of social media, a visual aid is always welcome. Bring some photos from the groom’s childhood as well as their adult life and pictures with their beautiful bride. You can share stories behind the images you present to make it more exciting.
Don’t be nervous! By reading this article, you’ve already proven that this speech is important to you, and that’s all that matters. It isn’t an audition for Saturday Night Live. Putting effort in is all any wedding party can ask.