Help me make a toast at my dad's wedding
September 14, 2010 3:25 PM   Subscribe

My dad is getting married. I want to make a toast but I have no idea what to say. Help, please.

My father is getting married for the third time. He's in his late fifties, I'm early thirties. We don't have the closest relationship in the world and although I've met his bride to be maybe a dozen times I don't really feel like I know her very well. I feel like I'm expected to give a toast and I'd really like to do it but I have no idea what to say.

So, what do people say at these things? Can you give me any ideas?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I gave a toast in a similar situation at my mom's recent wedding. I went with keeping it brief-- a light joke about my mom and general good wishes. It went over well.

Don't overthink it... just say something nice.
posted by zvs at 3:36 PM on September 14, 2010

Briefest possible toast:

I'd like to thank everyone for gathering from both near and far to celebrate this joyous occassion I am so glad to be able to share with my dad and Mary today. I'd like to invite everyone to raise your glasses and join me in wishing the new couple a happy and long future together. To John and Mary! (Clink)

posted by DarlingBri at 3:43 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

Briefest possible toast: ...
posted by DarlingBri

Yeah, that's all you need. But the rest is said in body language. Lean towards them. Eye contact, hold the glass up, let the photographer get the shot. For the picture, everyone in the room must be looking at either you or them. Confer with the photographer in advance, so he knows what's coming, and frame it with him. Ideally you are toasting to them, your face is visible, you are foregrounded, they are seen at their table returning the toast. It's tricky, because you are up front gesturing to mid-ground, yet you don't want to turn your back on the camera.

The pictures last forever, the only toasts anyone remembers are the shockingly inappropriate ones.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:57 PM on September 14, 2010

If I were you, I'd use the opportunity of this toast to get off on the right foot with your father's new wife (assuming it would not hurt your own mother to see you do that):

Please join me now in congratulating my father on his good fortune, and in welcoming Mary into the family.


And mean it, if at all possible.
posted by jamjam at 4:29 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

Generally, as a speaker from your Dad's side, people won't expect you to say too much about the bride, beyond a couple of generic nice things (i.e. you know she'll take care of your father, she makes your father happy, you notice that he's happier around her, something random you admire about her personality, etc). The weddings i've been to have had speakers from both sides to balance this out.

What you should say about your father is a little trickier: generally i try to write speeches that express what i like/admire about the subject, with some illustrative examples. Do you remember anything from your childhood where your father demonstrated a personal quality that made an impression? Particularly one that other people in the audience probably see in him too?

Personally, i like to use back-handed compliments (make a small amount of fun of the person i'm speaking about), to keep my speech from getting too sappy, though you should probably avoid this if you're not confident at public speaking.
posted by nml at 8:20 PM on September 14, 2010

If the general atmosphere allows for that kind of things, you could definitely mention that it is usually the fathers who have to sweat their kid's wedding speech and that you were nearly, hum, speechless when you found yourself in the reverse position (better don't say "again", of course). As to the bride whom you don't know well... a friendly face, a few nice words, and wishing them both all the luck of the world should do the trick.
posted by Namlit at 9:10 AM on September 15, 2010

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