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Father of the Bride Speeches At Weddings
Odds are good that, by this point in time, your hair is just a little thinner, or a little more gray. There's lines on your face that you never noticed before. You knew this was coming. As soon as you found out, either by ultrasound or at her birth, or from the moment you adopted her, or as soon as you found her in the cabbage patch; odds were good that she was going to want a wedding.
You're never going to forget those numbers the various agents of darkness quoted you. The wedding photographer, the caterer, the planner. Perfectly pleasant people who all announce, quite cheerfully, that they are going to do everything they can to make you broke.
Say what you will about our society. It's still generally daddy signing the checks. And, aside from his signature, there's precious little else in the way of his contributions that will be tolerated. Don't blame her mother. Men's chromosomes decide the gender of the child; it's our fault.
There is, however, something of traditional importance that overshadows even the expense. I am talking about the father of the bride speeches. Everyone is cloistered together, the ceremony has run its course and there are bubbly drinks everywhere.
Anyone will tell you that this whole thing has, for the most part, been for her. Maybe for her mother, too, a little bit. However, as you raise that glass and look at a married couple where previously there was just your daughter and the guy who was whisking her away, I want you to remember that this moment is, just a little bit, for you.
In some ways, it's goodbye. It's hard not to feel older in that moment, but there is an ancient balm for that sensation. And it is called laughter.
Drink it in. She's going to be terrified that you're going to embarrass her. First and foremost, I authorize you to capitalize on that. You wrote the checks, you did the footwork, survived the hysterics. Get your digs in.
Do not crack jokes. If you have something that you think is golden, but you can just "hear" the rimshot after you say it, then omit it. Comedy is good, but this isn't stand-up. Even so, there's a lot of tension there. It's family, for a start, but also, everyone holds their breath in those moments, earlier. Now, everyone's ready to relax, and you can get them there. Champagne helps, too.
Delivery is essential to comedy, as is timing. You've got to budget your words, or your sentiment will be more and more lost. And besides, as the father of the bride, you will probably be giving the first wedding speech of the evening and there will be a few more speakers to follow. So, make your speech accommodating.
Don't be afraid to be a little more honest than you might usually be. Often, it is the truth that most inspires us to laugh. Again, don't go too far. That is vital. Set boundaries for yourself.
First impressions are a classic topic, often good for a laugh. Most of us can sympathize, so it can be a good place to really begin, after you've opened. Leave the cliche'd stuff out, though. The father polishing his shotgun image is classic, but overdone. Even if that is actually how it went, don't go with that. Your experiences are unique in some way; discover what that is and share it with the crowd.
Share that experience with them; getting to know this person, seeing another side of your daughter. People are about wedding-ed out by this point, so while I recommend you share one or two of the "highlights" of the process, don't wax poetical about it.
If you go for laughs, people expect cornball. The father of the bride speech is classically riddled with cheese-y jokes. Surprise your audience. Your daughter, and her wedding party, will all appreciate it. I cannot stress this enough; this is not stand-up. You're not delivering punchlines. Life does that for you. You're just sharing the naturally occurring punchlines of existence with these people.
Most of us have family in one form or another. Laughter is how we empathize with others. Even if people might not be privy to some of your family inside jokes, context plays a big role in understanding, and if they hear your family laugh, they will understand.
That said, try not to make the whole thing just about the particulars of family alone. It depends on the audience, but if you're using too many nuanced in-jokes, you might as well be speaking in code. You'll probably get awkward laughter, which, in my opinion, is worse than no laughter at all.
Everyone is looking to laugh. They've traveled far, literally or otherwise, and they just want to relax. Laughter is contagious and it has healing properties. It puts people at ease and lowers blood pressure.
Don't be afraid to laugh. Not at yourself, or the absurdity of your experiences. As fathers of the bride, we sort of get shuffled off into the broom closet until we are needed again. Let this be your time to connect to everyone else.
Everyone has their own tastes, but speaking for myself, I wouldn't recommend closing on a laugh. Few people do. Because, after laughter has purified them, I find that most men realize the full extent of their feelings in that moment and, whatever came before, they can't help but express all their love for their little girl, and wish the both of them all the happiness that they can find.
Close well. Be concise, but open. And when you've said what needs to be said, don't stammer your way back to your seat. A good speech, funny or otherwise, isn't about speaking a long time, but about saying the most with the least words. Brevity, as they say, is the soul of wit.
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