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Father of The Bride

By: Lisa Thiel - Updated: 26 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Father bride groom responsibilities

So it’s official – you’ve been asked for permission and now your daughter’s on the way to swapping your surname for somebody else’s. You might be formally entrusting her care to another man but don’t think your duties end with giving your blessing to the engagement. The father of the bride’s got a whole bunch of responsibilities to fulfil on the big day – and a hefty bill to foot at the end of it.

Paying for the Wedding

Tradition dictates that the bride’s dad will shoulder the majority of marriage costs, including the bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses, the flowers, venue hire, catering and photography. Be prepared to make a sizeable dent in your bank balance – the average UK wedding bill’s now hovering around the £20,000 mark.

If your funds simply won’t stretch to paying for the whole wedding, don’t start mortgaging your soul just to give your little girl the day she’s dreaming of. Once you’ve got an idea of the date and the number of guests, set a realistic budget, tell your daughter what you can afford and be prepared to stick to it.

Your daughter might offer to shoulder some of the wedding costs, and the groom’s family may even want to chip in. If anyone but you is footing the bills for certain items, make sure you keep track of who is supposed to be paying for what. Keep copies of all invoices as well, so questions about amounts can be cleared up.

Giving the Bride Away

This will be the moment when everyone’s looking at you, so it’s important to make sure you’ve dressed up for the role. Talk to the groom to find out what he’s wearing and make sure you co-ordinate – if he’s wearing full morning dress, you’ll need to do the same, while ordinary suits can be dressed up with different ties or waistcoats. You can afford to go for colours or detailing a bit more showy than the ushers’ outfits, but don’t let your choice upstage the groom!

The process of giving the bride away starts when you collect her to make the trip to the church. It’s probably the only time you’ll spend alone with your daughter all day, so make the most of it. Bear in mind she’s likely to be very nervous, so any words of comfort or wisdom you can offer will be appreciated – as will tissues in case of tears.

After the walk down the aisle and the initial formalities, the process of giving the bride away begins when the priest asks who will be doing the job. The bride will pass her bouquet to the chief bridesmaid. You then take her right hand and give it to the priest, who passes it on to the groom. Job done, you can sit down next to the bride’s mother and enjoy the rest of the ceremony.

Giving a Speech

The father of the bride’s speech is traditionally the first in a series by the groom, best man and, increasingly, the bride. You’ll be invited to give a toast to the newlyweds by the MC, which is your cue to begin. As the funds behind the wedding, you’ll be expected to welcome the guests and thank them for coming, before moving on to reminiscences about your daughter and the first time you met the groom.

Don’t feel obliged to give a long, involved discourse on every aspect of the bride’s life – a short, heartfelt speech will be much more warmly received than a tedious oration. Make sure you note down the main things you want to say on some speech cards, practise beforehand, and smile when you get up to begin. Nobody wants you to fail and everybody will be listening attentively, so enjoy the limelight.

Finally, don’t spend so much time fretting about your obligations on the day that you forget to enjoy yourself. Remember, without you, there wouldn’t be a wedding – or, come to think of it, a bride. Take time out to relax, chat to people and accept compliments before you start worrying about paying for the next daughter’s wedding!

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