Is there anyone prouder than the father of the bride? His role is one of the day's most important, for it's he who walks the blushing bride down the aisle and gives her away. There's more to the father of the bride than what you see in the movies, however. Read on for an overview of his duties.
Before the Wedding
Traditionally, the family of the bride pays for most of the wedding, including the wedding reception. Many jokes have been made about the father of the bride's empty wallet, but this isn't always the case. Today's couples do handle more of the expenses themselves. Still, as a gesture, the family of the bride might handle certain elements of the wedding, such the caterer or the liquor.
The bride's father gets to assist in various duties. For instance, if he's paying for the wedding, he might help to choose the reception venue. He can also help plan the menu and arrange for catering, including, and especially, the liquor order. He might also choose to help out of town guests with lodging and transportation. He doesn't necessarily have to pay for lodging, but he might assist in blocking out hotel rooms, if necessary, and arranging for transportation from the airport and to and from the wedding.
Giving the Bride Away
Brides are more independent these days, but it doesn't make the task of "giving the bride away" any less emotional for the bride's father. This is something many dads have looked forward to since their daughters were born.
While technically, he is acknowledging another man in his daughter's life, most dads know a husband is not a replacement for a dad. It's with mixed emotions that the father of the bride hands his daughter over to her intended, because his little girl is all grown up.
The Receiving Line
The bride's father should stand next to his daughter in the receiving line and greet guests as they exit the church or ceremony area. It's not required that he speaks at length with each guest, but he should at least thank them for coming and shake hands.
Father Daughter Dance
The only moment more touching than when the bride's dad walks his daughter down the aisle is the father-daughter dance. Many times there's not a dry eye in the house as the bride and her dad dance to a special song such as "Butterfly Kisses" or "The Way You Look Tonight."
The song for a father daughter dance can be one that has a special meaning for the pair, or it can be a surprise for the father. Be sure to practice dancing together once or twice before the wedding! It'll help to make you look more "polished" when everyone is watching.
There's no law stating the bride's father has to make a speech, but it's a nice gesture, one that's sure to touch the Happy Couple's heart. The toast should be heart felt. Not only should it express the pride a father feels on his daughter's wedding day, but it should also welcome the groom and his family.
During the Reception
During the reception, the father of the bride should see to it all guests are enjoying themselves. If there is a shortage of food or beverages, he should speak to the maitre 'd to be sure it is taken care of immediately. The father of the bride should also stay until the end of the reception and make sure payments are up to date and nothing is left behind. If he can, he should thank each guest for coming.