Whenever I talk to clients, they are usually like to emphasis just how much they don’t enjoy public speaking, and how much they really would like this speech to be as short and sweet as possible. I totally understand those emotions - I always think it takes a slightly odd person to enjoy standing up, getting everyone to look at them and revel in what they’re about to say. Either they’ve got boundless self confidence, or killer content – probably both.
The most important thing here is not to succumb to those urges and make your father of the bride speech an exercise in speed talking. Everyone understands that you are nervous, and they’re all routing for you, so keep that in mind when you’re Googling ‘father of the bride speech short and sweet’ – it’s the most popular search term for wedding speeches. That in itself should give you the understanding that you’re not alone, but it’s really the only premise of the speech you need to rethink in order for it to become something you’re excited about.
Yes, you can get excited about making a speech if you do just one simple thing: view it as an opportunity rather than a challenge. Think of it not as several minutes of your life you just have to get through, and instead as the one and only opportunity you’re ever going to get to let the world know out loud exactly what your daughter means to you, and it can become game changing.
If you completely reframe it, you stop worrying about what everyone’s thinking about you, what your voice sounds like and if you’re funny enough, and start to get excited about describing the amazing person your daughter is to an awful lot of people. They may know her, but chances are they don’t really know her, and they won’t understand the relationship you have. All parents have varying subtle differences in their relationships with their children, and to have the opportunity to communicate that to a wider audience is a privilege.
It’s also the chance to have a lot fun by mixing up the profound parts with some genuinely funny memories and stories, This is entertainment based emotional catharsis, which pretty much equates to have a laugh with the odd tear streaming down your cheek. The fun and humour in any wedding speech is really important as it’s there to balance out the more meaningful parts, and it also helps to make it a speech that you enjoy giving and one that people enjoy listening to. Don’t forget that you’re the first one up, so if you execute you speech in 2 minutes flat, devoid of humour, or pretty much anything else, you’re setting the worst possible precedent for the subsequent speeches.
However, educating the audience about your daughter has never really the point of the father of the bride speech, it’s always been a lot more obvious than that. It’s your one opportunity to let your daughter know what she means to you. Many parents go a lifetime without successfully communicating that; don’t be one of them.