Congratulations! If you’re reading this, most likely your kid is getting married, and you’ve been asked to deliver a speech on their big day.
As a parent, you are in a unique position to deliver a speech that captures who your child is and how they got to where they are today. In your speech, you can shed light on your child’s development and offer context that others in the room may not have. You can also serve as a source of comfort and wisdom, imparting advice and encouragement on their big day.
Below you'll find some tips on how to craft a stellar parent-of-the-bride/groom speech:
Include 2-3 Stories in Your Speech
Stories are the building blocks of a great wedding speech. Given the prospect of selecting just a few may be intimidating, start by deciding on a short list of 2-3 central traits that define your child. These are the qualities that have shaped who they are today.
Once you have your list of traits, try to recall anecdotes that illustrate each one. Think back to times when you’ve described your child to friends or co-workers – what are the stories you’ve told? For each story, free-write the entire tale, including any vivid details or dialogue you can remember.
Weave in Thematic Threads
While the temptation may be to order your speech chronologically, you can also use thematic links and takeaways to connect your stories. As a parent, you have a wealth of context to draw on. Consider tracing the arc of your child’s growth and showing how their central traits have manifested at different stages of their development.
Impart Generational Wisdom or Advice
As a parent, you may have lived longer and experienced more than the other people in the room. Consider sharing some of the lessons you've learned about successful relationships with your child on their wedding day. In doing so, it may be helpful to discuss with other members of your family: parents, siblings, your spouse (we can help). Among the wedding party, you are uniquely positioned to be the voice of the older generations of your family.
Address Your Child’s Needs
You know your child in a way that others in the room may not. Consider what they may need to hear on their wedding day, whether it's words that calm their nerves or ones that ground them in the present moment. As someone who has watched them grow over the years, you are well-equipped to offer reassurance and support.
Welcome Your Child's Partner into the Family
A wedding is not just about the union of two people, but also the union of two families. Consider formally welcoming your child's partner into the family in your speech. You can express gratitude for the positive impact they have had on your child's life, or offer advice or insight to them. This is a special moment to share what you hope for your child and their partner in their future together.