At first glance it may appear that the father of the groom does not play a particularly big role in the wedding ceremony, being overshadowed by the father of the bride. Whilst the responsibilities of the father of the groom are not high profile, they are very important.
Support your son
First and foremost, your job is to support your son. As you may know from personal experience, getting married is a big step in any man’s life. You should be a source of advice and help where needed. You can also help your son with any nerves on the big day.
Who pays the bill?
Whilst it is traditionally the father of the bride’s responsibility to pay for his daughter’s wedding, in modern times the arrangements can be more flexible. You may be contributing to the cost of the wedding or even footing the whole bill. If so, you can expect to have some input into the decision-making process, although you should try not to be seen as interfering.
Sort out your relatives
You can take the lead in shepherding your side of the family. When the couple announce their wedding date, and you know who is to be invited, make sure all the guests in your family know the date as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, some people will always be slow to respond to a wedding invitation. Are any of your relatives dragging their feet? If so, get on the phone and give them a gentle chase.
Before the day, the couple will probably indicate what they would like you to wear.
Commonly the father of the bride and father of the groom wear the same outfits as the groom, best man and ushers, to indicate their special status at the wedding.
Traditional wedding attire is morning dress – a long black morning coat and grey thinly striped trousers. Read more on our groom’s outfit page.
On the day itself, your son’s best man should be looking after him, but you can do the same. At the ceremony the best man sits next to the groom, but you should usually be on the same row, or the row behind. If your son is nervous, reassure him.
After the ceremony there will usually be a few formal photographs, and you may be in quite a few of them, so don’t disappear. Again you can help here by shepherding your own family for any photos for which they are required. Photographers have a really tough job collecting people for these family shots.
The receiving line
At the reception, there may be a receiving line. The order for this is usually mother of the bride, father of the bride, mother of the groom, father of the groom, bride, groom. Do your bit to greet the guests, and make a special effort to remember names of people you haven’t met before.
Remember that receiving lines are very difficult to organise and you can’t allow yourself to be drawn into long conversations. Try not to hold up the line!
During the meal, there is likely to be a top table. Usually seats are arranged along one side of the table only. The bride and groom obviously sit in the middle.
The conventional seating order then puts the bride’s mother next to the groom, followed by you and then the chief bridesmaid on the end. On the other side, the bride’s father sits next to the bride, then it’s the groom’s mother and then the best man on the end.
This means you’ll be chatting to the bride’s mother and the chief bridesmaid. Try to make sure than no-one is left out of conversation (especially the chief bridesmaid on the end).
After the meal, the speeches will take place. The traditional speeches are the father of the bride, the groom, and then the best man. The father of the groom is not expected to make a speech – it’s the best man’s job to speak about your son and to “introduce him” to the bride’s family.
However, fathers of the groom do sometimes break with convention, particularly if they are paying for part of the wedding and therefore a “co-host”. If you want to do this it is a good idea to check with you son and future daughter-in-law that they don’t mind.
There is no rule about where you slot in the running order, but the best place is probably after your son. The best man’s speech is really the highlight, and you don’t want to come after and risk either upstaging him, or being seen a damp squib.
Father of the Groom Speech
While the father of the groom is usually not expected to make a speech, if you do follow this guide:
- Greeting To the Guests
- Comments About the Bride and Groom
- Thank You To Organizers
- Motivational or Humorous Quote
- Toast To the Couple
Not everyone at the wedding knows everyone else, so the groom’s father should introduce himself. The introduction should be brief. This day is about the bride and groom.
Greeting To the Guests
Welcome the guests to the wedding and tell them how happy you are that they’re all celebrating the joyous occasion with the couple and your families.
Comments About the Couple
First, talk about your son and why he’s such an exceptional person. You may share a story from his childhood, how he overcame an obstacle, or what he does to help other people.
Then talk about your new daughter-in-law, what makes her so unique, and why you’re happy to be welcoming her into your family. A nice touch is to thank the bride’s parents for raising such an outstanding young woman.
After your remarks about the couple, talk about marriage and what they can do to have a healthy relationship. Stress that all couples have differences of opinion and even though their needs aren’t always the same, they can make their marriage work by being patient and understanding. The remarks can be in the form of life lessons. You may share how you and your spouse handle challenges.
Thanks To Everyone Who Made the Day Memorable
Thank everyone who helped to organize the wedding and all who participated in the ceremony. Make sure to mention family members who made the day special. Friends or family members may have decorated the ceremony site and reception venue. Let them know you appreciate all they’ve done.
A Motivational or Humorous Quote
You may use one of your son’s favorite funny or motivational quotes that will bring a touch of humor into your remarks.
Finish up your speech with words to the bride and groom about how important it is always to be mindful of each other’s needs, to be understanding and always there for each other. You may finish on a lighter note by adding that it helps to be open-minded and respectful of each other.
At the conclusion of your speech, ask the guests to raise their glasses and toast to a happy life for the couple.
The first dance
If there’s a disco, there will probably be a first dance. Check with your son in advance, but many couples like to have the parents, best man and bridesmaids come onto the floor a few minutes into the first dance, to detract attention from them!
Be a low key host
On the day you should otherwise act as a low key host, not stealing the limelight, but making sure that the guests are happy and having a good time. Try to speak to as many people as you can. You should also be one of the last to leave, making sure that everyone has got home safely. You can also help the ushers and best man with any situations that crop up.