There’s a popular youtube video circulating right now in which the father of the bride makes an inspirational speech before giving his daughter away at her wedding ceremony. His words to the groom are candid, touching, heartfelt and hilarious. It’s captivating to watch:
While I really enjoyed the video, as one who has performed hundreds of weddings, I dread the inevitable imitations that will follow. I fear the moving nature of that dad’s speech and the attention it has received, will motivate thousands of fathers across the country to attempt similar talks. “The Father of the bride speech” could become an expected, and oft-times embarrassing feature of the standard wedding ceremony.
So, as Barney Fife used to say I’d like to, “Nip it in the bud.” This is for all the preachers out there who want to say “no” to this idea but don’t want to offend the guy who is probably writing the check for the minister’s honorarium.
Dads, here are some reasons why you should NOT make a speech at your daughter’s wedding:
You probably are not as talented a speaker as the guy in the video. That father is extremely gifted as a communicator and entertainer. I doubt there is one in a hundred guys who can pull it off. Instead of laughter and tears your talk will more likely elicit nervous giggles and widespread discomfort.
It will greatly increase your anxiety during a very tense time. It‘s all most nervous dads can do to say, “Her mother and I”, when asked, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” One guy blubbered, “My mother and I do.” If you can’t remember one line, how can you deliver a lengthy speech?
Most of you will be extremely emotional. When normal fathers walk their daughters down the aisle they are usually fighting back tears. If you try to make a speech, chances are you’ll get so choked up you can’t talk. That will make the congregation very uncomfortable and embarrass your family…especially your daughter. And isn’t that the last thing you want to do?
You may not like your son-in-law as much as the guy in the video. That speech worked because of the obvious respect and mutual rapport between the dad and the groom. If you’ve got some questions about the worthiness of the guy your daughter is marrying, chances are it’s going to be evident in your talk. Better just say, “Her mother and I do,” and sit down.
You have your chance to talk at the wedding rehearsal dinner and maybe again at the reception. Prepare your remarks for that moment, keep them brief and appropriate and sit down and eat.
It’s your daughter’s time to be in the spotlight. You don’t want the people leaving the wedding talking about the bozo who made the rambling speech. So keep your ego out of it. Face the facts. You’re just a necessary prop at the wedding ceremony. Get over it. Suck it up, write the checks and smile like it doesn’t hurt a bit. And let your daughter be the center of attention. It’s not about you.
You’ll enjoy the wedding a lot more if you don’t have to deliver a speech. You’ll be able to focus on your daughter, reassure your wife and encourage your future son-in-law. This is an occasion for you to take the easy way out. Just say the line, kiss your daughter, shake hands with her new husband, and make everyone happy by keeping quiet…until your new son-in-law asks for a loan. Then it’s probably a time for a speech.