A wedding speech made by the father of the bride should include the following basic elements: a welcome to the wedding in which he thanks the guests for coming, some thoughts or memories about the bride, along with some brief comments on her new spouse, and finally a toast to them both. The father of the bride's speech is traditionally the first speech given, and may be formal or casual, as dictated by the tone of the occasion.
When discussing the bride, some ideas of topics to touch on include:
- Memories of the birth
- Childhood memories
- Proud memories, such as educational or career achievements
When discussing the groom, there will likely be fewer memories to work with, but things to touch upon include:
- His positive traits
- His suitability for the bride
- Some advice for marriage (if the father of the bride has been married himself)
Humor is a great way to keep the speech interesting, but there is a balance to keep in mind. So-called "embarrassing" stories, for instance, can very quickly go awry — whether graphically discussing the bride's potty training or reminiscing about squeaky floorboards the first time her boyfriend stayed over. Such stories are not always to everybody's taste and might well destroy the bride's day. Likewise, playfully threatening the groom not to break the bride's heart could easily be taken the wrong way. As a general rule, it is best to keep things positive.