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You Asked: I Don't Want His Dad Speaking at Our Wedding

You Asked: I Don't Want His Dad Speaking at Our Wedding

Dear Sugar,

My fiancé and I are getting married in August, but we're having some issues in regards to toasts and speeches at the reception. Currently, my fiancé's father is planning on speaking. Neither my fiancé or I ever asked him to do so, he's just decided it's what he wants since he's paying for a majority of the wedding.

To make matters worse, we never would have asked him because he's terribly awkward and is known to tell inappropriate family stories. He's long winded, too! I'm terrified that he's going to go on for an hour and completely humiliate us. My fiancé would prefer we just take our chances, rather than tell his dad "no," but I just can't bear the idea of him talking. How can we compromise on this?

— No Speech Please Paula

To see DearSugar's answer,

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Dear No Speech Please Paula,

This is a very difficult situation, and I don't blame you for being worried. I've seen many weddings where a painfully long or uncomfortably told speech put a damper on the dinner. As far as tradition and etiquette are concerned, if the father of the groom is contributing in the wedding then he is usually expected to offer a thank you to the guests and some words of encouragement to the bride and groom. Instead of asking him not to speak, which will surely be offensive, I think it might be better to come up with some other solutions.

Discuss some of the anecdotal stories he can use that are funny but not embarrassing, and ask to hear his speech beforehand. If he wants it to be a surprise, tell him that the wedding planner needs a copy of it in order to set aside the proper amount of time at the reception. You can also have your fiancé's mother join him in the toast. If they give it together she'll be able to watch for time and steer him in the right direction should he stray from his speech.

As for the worst-case scenario, ask the best man or another trusted family member to jump in if things get too uncomfortable. Even if he is completely awkward, do keep in mind that as long as his heart is in the right place everything will turn out fine. You'd be surprised how easily an embarrassing story can become an endearing one when it's told at wedding.

To see all of our wedding coverage, check out IDoSugar.com.

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snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Okay I know I already commented on this and it's very old now, but hopefully the poster will come back and read this. I was thinking about this post tonight because it was the first time I hung out with my fiance's family since we got engaged. I understand people post on here because they have the feeling they might be overreacting and are being a little irrational, and don't deserve to be attacked, but seriously, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!?Maybe you don't have the sort of relationship I have with my fiance's family, I don't have a great relationship with my own family, so I can understand. But clearly his dad cares about you because he is paying for a lot of the wedding, and he wants to speak at it!! So please stop being so ungrateful and really see how crazy and mean your attitude is!! I, and I am sure many other people won't even get the pleasure of having their fathers and father-in laws at a wedding because they have passed on or don't give a shit or something. So just be grateful you are loved to the extent the man is willing to pay and speak. And really, what's the worst that could happen? If he is a huge jerk and says mean things, it's only going to make him look bad. Arhghgh okaY! End rant.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Okay I know I already commented on this and it's very old now, but hopefully the poster will come back and read this. I was thinking about this post tonight because it was the first time I hung out with my fiance's family since we got engaged. I understand people post on here because they have the feeling they might be overreacting and are being a little irrational, and don't deserve to be attacked, but seriously, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!? Maybe you don't have the sort of relationship I have with my fiance's family, I don't have a great relationship with my own family, so I can understand. But clearly his dad cares about you because he is paying for a lot of the wedding, and he wants to speak at it!! So please stop being so ungrateful and really see how crazy and mean your attitude is!! I, and I am sure many other people won't even get the pleasure of having their fathers and father-in laws at a wedding because they have passed on or don't give a shit or something. So just be grateful you are loved to the extent the man is willing to pay and speak. And really, what's the worst that could happen? If he is a huge jerk and says mean things, it's only going to make him look bad. Arhghgh okaY! End rant.
gossipqueen gossipqueen 8 years
WOW! poor guy! money for the wedding, the groom's FATHER....holy, if that doesn't deserve speech time...I don't know what does. Let him talk ungrateful couple of.... :rant: :P
MissChita MissChita 8 years
I agree w/ some of the other posters. You do sound a little selfish in the fact that he can pay for the wedding, but not speak?? You are embarrased by his awkwardness, but not by him pulling out his $$ to take care of your day?? Come on now!! Now, I can understand that he is long winded and has the habit of overtalking. So on that note, let him know that you would love for him to speak at your wedding, but along with him and everyone else, keep it to a minimum (I think three min is good). That way, he may want to do something prepared to make sure he stays within his time limit. Just an idea. I hope it works out for you.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Get it on tape, really its what weddings are all about! long winded speeches, the flower girl saying "i have to go potty" in the middle of the vows, Aunt Marge thinking she can dance to "brick house", the man is paying for your wedding stop being selfish and live a little.
nikecold nikecold 8 years
I agree with Sporky, my dad is the same way he has money so he gives expecting you to give something in return. He can never just help you out for the sake of being his son/daughter. Anyway my point is nobody in my family likes my father,actually we can't stand him. And while my brother already got married and I can't remeber if my dad spoke or not, I'm sure if they were to get married NOW my sister in law wouldn't want him to speak. Hell, I'm his daughter and I wouldn't want him to speak at my wedding, just because it would seem hypocritical and attentionwhorish and I hate that kind of thing. So while the situation is a bit different I understand why you would maybe not want him to speak but like everyone else has said, he is paying for most of your wedding so he kind of has the right. I think your fiance should ask his mom to keep his dad in check, that way the speech will still be a surprise but the level of inappropriateness may be lower.
sladjipadji sladjipadji 8 years
wooow, this just sounds very selfish on your part. At my brother's wedding both parents spoke and they made mistakes but we just laughed it of. I can't believe you would even consider not letting him make the speech. Have some respect..it is your father-in-law for gods sake.
onabanana onabanana 8 years
The man is paying for part of the wedding then he gets to speak! If his words are not good enough for you then you shouldn't take his money. A wedding is not just about you, ti's about family so even if he wasn't paying for the wedding he should have the opportunity to say something.
tejo14 tejo14 8 years
He pays, he speaks. You don't say how old you are, but family is going to be around a long time (if you are lucky) and you need to suck some stuff up. If you wanted just "your day" you should pay for it. That being said - give him a time limit, and remember that if he says something stupid, people will remind him of it for many years, you won't have to.
geebers geebers 8 years
I think you can perhaps give him a poem or something REALLY special to you and say you would be honored if he would read that and hope he does it. I suggest having your MIL involved and ask her to ensure it is short and that you would love to have him speak but also want to ensure everyone else has time to speak also (maybe mention that people want to eat etc). Good luck.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Oh my gosh, this makes me feel SO bad for the dad! His son is getting married, this isn't just your day, it's a family event. Marriage about family, not just the tablecloths you pick on your big day! People today kill me with these wedding fantasies of perfection. Who cares if it's perfect, it won't kill you to make someone happy. And he's PAYING for the majority of your wedding on top of it!? It's entirely appropriate to ask him to keep it short, and suggest him running it by another family member, but geeez....
yadiet yadiet 8 years
MAYBE YOU SHOULD LET HIM SPEAK. HE MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING EXTREMELY NICE TO SAY ABOUT YOU AND YOUR LOVE TO BE.
Sporky Sporky 8 years
I agree with everyone that if he's paying he should be allowed to speak but he shouldn't be allowed to ruin an important day for you, and you (and his son) have every right to ask him to keep it a little short and appropriate. It may sting a little for him, but he needs to know that it bothers you. It's your special day! If he's going to pay for it, it doesn't give him the right to create a dark spot on that day with inappropriateness. Otherwise I'd tell him to forget it, and pay for it another way. This is a subject near and dear to my heart because my own mom is this way, she has a lot of money and uses it to justify her actions, which are sometimes downright rude. I ended up eloping with my ex because of it!
Alisha_Stiletto Alisha_Stiletto 8 years
I think that this is your first lesson in how to compromise. Your husband wants to let him speak, so let him. Grow up. The man is paying for the whole wedding, his son is getting married and its as big a deal for him as it is for his son. For you to say that he's akward, and tells long stories just makes you sound judgemental and just -stank. I think you're childish and selfish, but hey thats just me.
drhotie92 drhotie92 8 years
I think that you should let him speak but let him know ahead of time how you feel about him speaking that way he'll know what not ot do.
happiness80 happiness80 8 years
The whole letter sounds a bit ungrateful IMO. He pays, he speaks. You should never be embarrassed by family. PS: Even if you are, you can always fast forward the wedding tapes.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
Traditionally the father of the groom does not, in fact, make a speech (some say the father of the groom speaks after the father of the bride, but I guess it depends on who you listen to). At my brother's wedding my dad did not make a speech (and he's an EXCELLENT speaker). It's not because my brother wouldn't have wanted him to, but it's supposed to be an opportunity for the father of the bride to give away his daughter and so make a speech. Instead, my father spoke at the engagement party and also pre & post wedding activities (dinners and brunches etc). Personally, I think your father in law shouldn't make a formal speech during 'the speeches' - but rather make a toast to the couple and to your parents later on during the reception (maybe before/after dessert, or when the cake is cut). That way he can be included, but won't overshadow your dad's speech. Regardless of protocol, If he wants to say something you shouldn't deny him that - just let it happen in such a way that everyone's happy. Approach him and say, 'we'd love it if you made a toast to us before our first dance' or whatever you like.
plus_2_kid plus_2_kid 8 years
Weddings should be for the family first. It's as big a deal to him as you so sit back, and enjoy the ride. Let it go, and let him speak.
MindayH MindayH 8 years
Tough. If he is paying for the majority, he gets to talk. Suck it up, and fast forward through that part when you go back and watch the video later. Good idea to have the mom talk to him about the toast, to keep it short and appropriate. If she tells him certain things are offensive, he may listen to her. It may be your day, but he is paying for your day.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I'd tell him that he has a time limit and jokingly tell him that someone will interrupt if he gets too embarrassing or long winded. That way he knows even if he thinks you're just kidding. Tell him that you want to hear it beforehand kinda kills the speech but if you're truly worried about it than it might be best to ask. Sarah_bellum had a great idea finding something for him to read. That would solve the whole problem altogether. Also keep in mind that whatever he says at the wedding is in no way a reflection of you or your husband. He kinda has the right to say whatever he wants without being censored, he's not your friend he's your husband's Dad and he's paying for the wedding.
lms lms 8 years
This is a funny thing for me. My father, father in law, my uncle, his uncle, best man, mother and pastor all spoke at my reception. Half of them weren't supposed to and I think they were all trying to out do the other one. They went on and on forever and I was so annoyed. They took up so much time yapping away that we had to pay for another hour just to have some dance time. The worst speech of all was the one that my father gave. I guess I blocked out whatever he said, but my aunt just reminded me the other day about his horrible speech. I would try to keep the speeches to a minimum if possible, but don't really think there is much you can do about it since he is paying for it. The old folks tend to just get up and start going off at the mouth when it suits them.
sarah_bellum sarah_bellum 8 years
I agree with hotstuff. You can guarantee yourself some harmony with the in-laws (and some bargaining chips for future conflicts with the husband) if you just suck it up a little. And don't make the mistake of thinking everyone's too stupid to distinguish the words that come out of your F.I.L.'s mouth as your own. If you really think he's going to turn the reception into a car wreck, maybe you and your intended can dig up a special poem or some other reading that has some personal meaning or reminds your groom of his relationship with his dad, and then explain that it makes you guys think of him and were wondering if he would oblige you two by sharing it with the guests. You know, flatter him into doing what you're more comfortable with.
hotstuff hotstuff 8 years
Come on, I think your being a bit ridiculous. The man is paying for a majority of the wedding for goodness sakes and even more important than that, he's the DAD of the GROOM! Let him make the speech and stop worrying. Isn't this what weddings and family events are all about? Letting loved ones participate and if he messes up you'll have jokes for years. Don't disrepect your father in law by asking him not to speak and don't ruin his joy by hovering over him either. Your so lucky to have a father in law caring enough to pay for your wedding. Just relax and enjoy the day...and speeches. And seriously who would seriously want their son and daughter in law to see their speech ahead of time, doesn't that make it less special?
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
sorry to tell you but he who pays speaks (if they want). also, father of both the bride and the groom traditionally make a toast as well. no one expects him to be perfect (except maybe you and his son). remember, it's a big day for him too, his son is getting married. so what if the speech won't win any awards. it's not a movie it's a family event and other people aren't scripted they get to be themselves. if the speech gets to long i suggest your dh stepping in with a thanks for his very generous support of your special day that made it possible.
sass317 sass317 8 years
Get your fiance's mother to preview the speech so that she can make sure that he doesnt say anything that will embarrass you both and have her time it "for the event planner" to make sure it isnt too long. At my wedding both the fathers, both our brothers and my maid of honor spoke. They all kept it short, but my brother didnt write his or rehearse it beforehand- luckily I was so happy I didnt get upset, but some of the things he said werent really appropriate. When he saw the video later he was a little embarrassed and told me he was sorry he wasnt better prepared, but he didnt think it would be hard to get up to give a toast (the fact that I am his only sibling and younger sister and this was the first toast he had EVER given didnt occur to him) I think he didnt want to get to emotional, so it was easier to go for humor.
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