I got a lot of emails from my readers asking “does the father of the groom give a speech at the wedding?”, so I decided to write this short article to clarify this.
The answer is a bit more complicated than you would expect. I can’t just say “yes” or “no”, although both answers would be good (I lost you here, right? Keep reading and you’ll understand). The idea is, the answer to this question depends on multiple things and I’ll present them below.
1) First, it depends on your culture and tradition. For example, in most countries like those from Europe or Asia, the groom’s father doesn’t give any speech at the wedding. The typical speeches in those cultures are groom’s speech, best man’s, bride’s father and eventually the maid of honor can give a toast if the newlyweds ask her to. While, in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, father of the groom speeches are quite often a mandatory part of a typical wedding reception. Or take UK for example, the groom’s father isn’t always supposed to give a speech, while the bride’s father pretty much has to do it, whether he likes it or not.
2) The next point, which is also very important, is how the groom’s father feels about this. If you don’t want to give a speech for whatever reasons (fear of public speaking, not liking to have everyone’s attention on you, etc), that’s ok, you don’t have to.
I’ve been to a wedding of a friend of mine whose son got married and he had to give a speech because his son asked him to. Well, my friend isn’t really that kind of guy to give toasts or talk easily in front of large audiences and it was pretty obvious he wasn’t feeling good about this, and honestly, his speech was a complete failure, even though at the end, he tried to spice things up with a few jokes. After that, I went to him and asked why he gave a speech if it was obvious he wasn’t enjoying it and he said his son told him he has to do it. NEVER EVER DO THAT!
This is complete crap, you don’t have to do something if you really don’t want it or you think it could be a complete fail. Trust me, a boring speech of 10 minutes, coming from someone who hates it as much as people hate listening to it, can really ruin the reception. So, the bottom line is, if you think it is too big of a challenge for you to give a wedding toast in front of a few hundred guests, then don’t do it and kindly explain to your son that this is the wisest thing to do.
3) The final point is a tricky one because it involves your wife also. If she wants to say a few words to the happy couple, but she doesn’t want to do it alone, it’s pretty common that both the mother and the father of the groom give a speech together. This is in many cases simple, funnier and…easier for both of you. It’s easier because if you hate being in the center of attention and hate it when everybody is staring at you, now people’s attention will be divided to both of you so this takes a lot of pressure of your shoulders. And also you can make it funnier, like you can complete her or she can complete you with some funny stuff, but again, as with every funny speech, it should use gentle comedy and not make the groom or the bride feel awkward.
So, to sum up, if you were wondering if you really have to give a father of the groom speech at your son’s wedding, the short answer is no. Do it only if you feel you can pull it off right and you know your people will love it, otherwise, it’s not worth taking the chance.