Your daughter’s wedding day is all about the happy couple, but you do have an important role to play as the father of the bride. You’re writing checks, fighting back tears of sadness about losing your little girl, and potentially taking dance lessons with your daughter to wow her guests. You’re also responsible for giving a speech at your daughter’s wedding, and that fun fact might keep you up at night. What do you say to your daughter on her wedding day that’s representative of both her and the man she’s making your son-in-law? While no one can tell you what to say about your little girl on her big day, here are a few starting points, tips, and sage pieces of advice to help you get started writing your father of the bride speech.

Make it About the Bride and Groom

You are the man giving away your daughter on her wedding day, and it doesn’t matter whether you’ve done this before with your other daughters. It never gets easier. The bond between a father and a daughter is a strong one. She loves you, and you love her, but there is a new man in her life who will keep her safe, protect her, and love her. You have to trust you’ve done a good enough job raising her that she chose a man who is a lot like you.

You must also remember this is about the bride and groom. This is not about you. Make sure your speech touches on the fact that they are the special couple, and you are proud to have this new young man become part of your family. As much as you might want to remind him that she is your daughter first and foremost, she is now his wife. On second thought, maybe you should throw a friendly reminder in there about how this is about them, but it’s really just about your daughter and all you’ll do to protect her. It doesn’t hurt for him to get a laugh out of your thinly veiled promise.

Celebrate the Happy Couple

Now is a great time to celebrate this couple with a few fun stories about their time together. What about that one time he came to your home for the first time to meet the family? Tell the family members in the room all about the time your new son-in-law showed up at your house to ask you if he could marry your daughter, and you told him he was the third person to ask the same question that day. Those are the kind of stories people want to hear, and they are the kind of stories that make the happy couple feel amazing about their new love. Don’t forget to celebrate their love for one another by welcoming him to the family, and then make it a little funnier by reminding him this is a final deal and there are no returns.

Throw in A Funny Anecdote

You raised this little girl from the time she was born until the day she got married, and there is no time like the present to throw in a funny anecdote or two about her when she was growing up. Her friends and her groom’s family want to hear about the time she told you she didn’t want to get married because boys are gross, or that one time her new boyfriend – the groom – came over with flowers your wife and daughter are both allergic to. These are the funny stories that make the entire day more fun, more relatable, and so much less emotional. This is your little girl’s big day, and your speech should make her laugh, make her cry, and make her feel excited about her future with her new husband. And it should make your son in law excited about starting a family of his own so he can stand up at his own daughter’s wedding one day and tell similar funny stories.

Say Kind Words about Your Son in Law

There was a time when you were a younger man getting ready to marry the love of your life, and your bride’s father scared you just a little bit. You were nervous that he didn’t think you were good enough for his little girl, and there is a man standing in front of you right now thinking the very same thing. Put yourself in his shoes for a moment, and remind him that you were once where he was. Say something kind about him. Tell the room what makes the groom such a welcome addition to your family, and speak highly of him and how you all love him.

Keep in Mind the Family Members Present

Funny stories, inappropriate humor, and stories that make everyone laugh are always fun during a speech but do remain cognizant of the people present when you make your speech. Your conservative mother-in-law might not like to hear a speech riddled with certain stories. The groom’s father might not be open to hearing a few, either. Keep in mind the family who are present, and edit your speech to include the respect they deserve. It’s also helpful to say a few things about the groom’s family to make them feel welcome and included in your own family. This day is so much more about the bride than anyone else, and the groom’s family sometimes feels left out and somewhat less important.

Be Proud of the Woman She Is Today

The woman she is today is here because of the way you raised your daughter. She is who she is because of the values she learned at home, the way she was raised, and the way you set an example for her. Tell the world what a wonderful young woman she is and how proud you are of her and her accomplishments. When you tell them how proud you are of who she’s become these days, you get to tell the world that she’s chosen the right man. That will make her feel emotional, excited, and appreciative for the way she was raised, for you, and for the man she will now call her husband.

Sign off With Wishes for A Happy Marriage

You don’t want to stand up in front of your friends and family and talk for hours, so you’ll want to keep your speech to just a few minutes. When it’s time to wrap it up, you want to sign off with wishes for a happy marriage. If you have any helpful tips and advice that worked for you and your spouse, offer them up now. It’s best if you keep your advice aimed at your daughter’s new husband in a sort of man to man conversation. Let him know he’ll make mistakes, but so will she. Let him know that it’s up to him to keep her safe and to protect her, and let him know that you trust he is the kind of man you always hoped your daughter would choose.

This is an emotional day, and it’s all right to allow yourself to feel a little vulnerable when giving your speech. All your friends have been there or will be there at some point, and there is nothing wrong with being sentimental and a little sad. This is a happy day for your daughter and her new husband, but it’s also a little sad. It’s a milestone, and your father of the bride speech is going to be the one everyone is talking about on your little girl’s wedding day.