So your daughter is about to flee the nest. The date is set and the venue is booked. You've been tapped for a hefty contribution towards the planning of the day. You're keeping lips sealed about the cost of roses versus peonies, Champagne versus Prosecco, starters versus canapés, the necessities of wedding favours, embossed invitations and petals strewn on tables. You really couldn't be more supportive of your daughter's choice of husband and you've been charming to her new in-laws. The Speech.
It is the speech that will be remembered when the food, flowers and invitations are forgotten. Without coming across as too gushing, smug or sentimental. Here are some tips to achieve the right balance:
• Don't turn your speech into a job application or a CV. Yes it's fine to mention some of your daughter's achievements, but weave these around the speech rather than listing facts and figures, grades and graduations in a chronological order.
• Minimise the gush: Father-of-the-Bride speeches have a reputation for being a bit sentimental. It's fine to tell the guests how proud you are of her, but try to pepper the gush with some lighter teasing to balance it up.
• Ask around: Ask her friends for stories from school, college or work, your other children for their version of events from the early years, her fiancé about his first impressions of her and your wife for any memorable stories, to get a good, mixed content.
• Consult the other speakers: Your biggest risk is covering ground that will be repeated later on in the other speeches. I would strongly recommend that however original you think your speech may be, you have a quick chat with the Groom and Best Man to ensure there is no frustrating overlap.
• Be nice to her new family: This is not the time to offend your daughter's in-laws! If you're mentioning your own family, it would be courteous to mention how welcoming the Groom's family have been to your daughter and your extended family. This is also the time to thank them for any contribution they've made to the wedding.
• Peter who?: Although your primary purpose is to talk about your daughter, don't make the mistake of forgetting to mention your new son-in-law. • It's not all about you: It may be tempting to focus your speech solely on your own relationship with your daughter, or indeed your own marriage - reminiscing back to your own wedding.