For the Fathers of the Bride and Groom

Weddings are always big occasions no matter what size the budget is.  Whatever culture it may be, it is always that a wedding is something worth celebrating.  It is a rite of passage for the engaged couple and for the parents of the Bride and the Groom.  That is why there is always a big fuss be it in the family or the community, whenever preparation for a wedding takes place.  In most Filipino families, it is the bride and the groom who make the final decision on their wedding arrangements but their mothers are there to support and lend guidance. However, it seems that the Fathers are most of the time left out in the preparation and they only become “relavant” when there are bills to settle, virtually making them the “living ATM machines” of their respective families.

So what does a father do once a son goes to him and says he’s getting married?  So what is a father to do once a daughter hugs him, shows him a ring and asks for him to help in the wedding expenses?  What is exactly the role of the Fathers of the Bride and Groom before, during and after the wedding (aside from being the ATM machine of the family)?

Pre-Wedding Planning

More often than not, the financial side of the wedding falls on the Father whether it be the Bride’s side or the Groom’s side.  Without good planning and some temperance, the family resources can really be jeopardized.  Thus, here are some tips dads may want to consider during the planning stage:

  • Be clear on your budget.  If you are requested to share in the expenses, then keep in mind that this is an important event in your family but do not lose your head and get your house mortgaged.  Just be clear with your child how much your budget is and where would you want it spent if you have a preference on where you want your money spent (e.g. reception, church, flowers, etc.).  This manages expectations and also aids the engaged couple in setting their wedding plans.
  • Offer alternatives.  You don’t have to give plain cash all the time.  Instead, you may offer to shoulder just the cost of the honeymoon or maybe give them a slightly used car or a house if you can afford it.

On the Wedding Day

Fathers of the bride and groom play an important role on the wedding day itself.  To avoid getting lost in all the frenzy, here are some of the more important things to mull over:

  • Most weddings still have the tradition of the fathers “handing over” their daughters as brides to their grooms to show their approval of the occasion.  If you are the bride’s father, and you agreed to take part in the ceremony but may have some slight reservations towards the groom, well, this is not the time to show it.  The “handing over”, no matter how dreadful it is to you, should be done graciously.
  • At the reception, be ready to give a toast or say something warm and refreshing and memorable to the couple.  As such, it is good to be guided by the following tips:
  1. Be prepared.  Know that you will be asked to speak one way or the other so craft your speech well in advance.
  2. Speak from the heart.  After all this is a family affair so avoid being cold and stiff.  Speak warmly and sincerely.
  3. Make it short but meaningful.  To give a mouthful would be inappropriate.  It would be good nevertheless, to say something really personal and meaningful to the couple.
  4. To toast is not to roast, but to honor.  Avoid saying something embarrassing.  This is not the time to spill-out the family’s “dark” secrets.  Keep in mind that you are making a toast to honor the couple, so say something valuable and worthwhile, if not heart-rending.
  5. Be a perfect gentleman.  Make eye contact with the couple and guests as you speak.  Raise your glass, say your piece, and take a sip (don’t drink it up!) at the end of the toast.
  • Recall your dance steps as you will be expected to dance and lead the guests to dance during the reception.  Practice dancing with your wife and your daughter, if she is the bride to be, long before the wedding occasion and relive those almost forgotten sways, twists and turns.

Weddings can be challenging times for fathers – emotionally, financially, even physically, what with all the dance steps they have to remember.  Plus, they are expected to keep their feelings in check. Such big roles they have to take – and yet, sometimes we get to overlook them. And so on this month of Weddings and Fathers, we honor you, the Fathers of the Bride and Groom!