ASK PETE: More than one father of the bride speech

Bridesmaid Figurines on Wedding Cake

I’m due to speak at my daughter’s wedding, where she’s getting married to another woman. So there are going to be two father of the bride speeches. I’ve looked around but can’t find anything that tells me what I should do here – can you help?

– LP, UK


Pete Says:

This is more and more common, but can throw people into a tailspin because it doesn’t seem to fit into the traditional list of speeches in books and on websites.

But there’s good news: as I always say, it really isn’t as complicated as you might think.

First, here are the key things to bear in mind (and these apply to any type of wedding speech):

  • Remember the most important people on the day: the newly-weds. It’s their day, so make sure that whatever you do keeps them happy.
  • So you all want to avoid looking uncoordinated or – worse – like you’re trying to outdo each other. Speechmakers arguing over who gets to say the most, or deliberately doing stuff to make a point will only ruin things and make themselves look petty.
  • But just as important are the audience, so bear in mind the length and number of speeches – the speeches usually come at the end of a long day, when people have just eaten and drunk their fill. If there are loads of long speeches then everyone listening will get restless and switch off.

So here are three general principles for you:

  • Understand what the happy couple want. Speak to them, find out what they want and make sure you all stick to that. If they only want you to say a few short words then do so – you just need to find the words which sum up what you want to say. And remember…
  • Less is more! This especially applies to wedding speeches – speeches which are short and to the point will go down much better than those which ramble on and cover everything. Especially at the end of a long day!
  • Speak to the other speechmakers and agree an approach. Bearing in mind what the happy couple want, agree what you are all going to say and then to stick to it. It’s also worth checking in with each other when you’ve got a draft speech – if only to make sure you’re not saying the same thing. Better to iron this out in advance than have a last minute panic on the day.

Bearing that in mind, here’s what I’d say in your position:

  • Introduce yourself, and maybe have a short opening joke.
  • Tell a short story (maybe from growing up) which sums up what your daughter’s like and what she means to you.
  • Say a few words about how happy you are for them both – including something nice about her new wife.
  • End on a toast – it would be perfectly acceptable for both fathers to say the same one (“My daughter and [x]: the happy couple!”) but if you’d both like to say a different one there are no hard and fast rules here – as long as you agree it with all the other speechmakers to ensure there are no duplications or missing bits.

Of course, the above is just as relevant if there are two men getting married, but also if it’s a man and a woman and both sets of parents want to say something. The main thing to remember in all this is less is more!

**If you have any comments, or questions that you’d like Pete to answer, feel free to comment below or on my Facebook page**




Peter D Oxley
Pete Oxley is a freelance writer and business manager who lives in the English Home Counties. He enjoys reading and writing in a wide range of areas but his main passions are sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction and Steampunk. Influences include HG Wells, Charles Dickens, Neil Gaiman, KW Jeter, Scott Lynch, Clive Barker and Joss Whedon. Author of the non-fiction book "The Wedding Speech Manual" and the historical fantasy series "The Infernal Aether". He lives with his wife, two young sons and a slowly growing guitar collection. Probably a masochist: aside from writing and willingly speaking in front of large crowds of strangers, Pete spends his spare time playing music badly and supporting football teams that play badly.

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