Well, the long awaited day has come. Your little girl is all grown up. She’s engaged, and now she’s planning her wedding and her future with the new man in her life.
It’s an emotional time for any father. But amidst all the mixed emotions, it’s time to think about the role you will be playing in the upcoming wedding festivities.
While there have been many changes to the traditional wedding, much has stayed the same, and the father of the bride has some important responsibilities when it comes to his daughter’s wedding.
So, as the big day approaches, it seems an appropriate time to discuss a few tips for the proud father of bride.
Money, Money, Money
It used to be the rule that the parents of the bride paid for their daughter’s wedding. That is no longer the case, and many couples choose to pay their own way. Still, many fathers feel they have a duty to foot the bill for their little girl’s wedding day. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to talk wedding budgets.
Before any definite plans can be made, you need to set a firm budget and stick to it. You may not take the lead in the actual planning processes, but if you are paying the costs you need to establish a firm budget and make it clear that you need to be consulted on all costs. That includes venue hire, caterers, vendors, and wedding attire.
Lend Them Your Expertise
Again, whether you are paying for the wedding or not, most of the planning will be handled by your daughter and her fiance. That being said, you can play a big part in the planning process by helping them to deal with vendors and contracts, organizing guests and travel arrangements, and booking the venue. You don’t need take control of the wedding plans, but make it clear that you are happy to lend you expertise and time in any way.
The Voice of Reason
Planning a wedding can be a stressful time, and even though you may not be entirely hands on it is your responsibility to keep things running on an even keel.
When your daughter and future son in law become anxious about their wedding plans, you need to be the voice of reason that keeps everyone calm and stress free. In short, you need to be a father and be available to give advice and counsel when needed. When there are arguments (and there will be arguments), you need to be the peacemaker.
If the wedding is going to be formal, you will likely need to rent a tuxedo. Don’t postpone renting your wedding attire. You want to give yourself plenty of time to go in for measurements and fittings. Coordinate with the groom and groomsmen, so that your tuxedos compliment each other. This is also a good time to bond with your future son in law, so consider making the search for suitable wedding attire a project that you can do together.
Prepare a Few Words
It’s traditional for the father of the bride to make a toast, and give a short speech, at both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding reception. This can be intimidating for some, but if you start working on your remarks early you will have plenty of time to find the right things to say, and the best way to say them. If you’re struggling to write a suitable speech, you might want to include some literary quotes to help get you started. These can be a great springboard to help you find the words to express your emotions on the big day. Once your speech is written, practice it a few times so you will fell confident and relaxed when it comes to stand before your family and friends.
The Father Daughter Dance
This is another tradition that isn’t going to disappear any time soon. After the wedding, there is always the father daughter dance. Like the wedding day speech, this can be intimidating for some. Dancing does not come naturally to everyone, and some dads may feel a little self conscious. Not to worry.
If you plan ahead, you can set aside some time for a few dancing lessons to get yourself prepared to shine in the spotlight on the big day. If your future son in law is taking some dancing lessons (and many grooms do), this can be another bonding opportunity for you and your daughter’s fiance.
Finally, on the big day, remember to pace yourself. You will likely be nervous and anxious, and the open bar may look tempting. But be careful with the dutch courage, and keep your head clear. You’re still your little girl’s father, and it’s important that you live up to her expectations on the big day. Stay calm and collected, give your little girl the strong shoulder she needs to lean on, and be available to help with any last minute crisis. If you can manage that, you will be the perfect father of the bride.