DOUG'S FATHER OF THE BRIDE SPEECH
June 19, 2012
Doug was referred to us by his daughter (the bride) who wanted to make sure her dad was getting a bit of extra help (read: supervision) with the words he would speak at her wedding. We worked with Doug to create a heartfelt yet funny speech that Lauren loved.
Doug’s father of the bride speech:
Hello everyone and welcome. My name is Doug, and I am the father of the bride. I am extremely happy and proud to be here today, and I’m very excited to share this wonderful event with the people who are most dear to Lauren and Cal.
I would like to take a moment to say a few things about my big girl, the couple, and the things I wish for them in their lives together. Lauren, I know you are very good at holding your breath because I taught you this at a very young age. However, I will not embarrass you today so please relax and enjoy… and breathe freely!
My big girl used to actually be a little girl – you’ll notice she’s all grown up and married (it’s hard to believe!). But when she was five years old, Vanessa and I bought her a bicycle and we taught her how to ride it. She was a natural and was as graceful and able as anyone. Fitness has always been an important part of my life, and I instilled that in Lauren from an early age. We used to partake in long-distance activities together where she rode her bike and I ran a hard 5 to 8 miles, often racing her all the way to the finish. We’d go out for several miles and then turn to race home. Often in the first year of these rides she’d tell me she was tired and couldn’t make it back. It wasn’t easy, but I would always tell her that “Van de Berg’s Never Give Up,” and that she could make it back if she really tried. Plus, I knew there was no way I was able to push her all the way back on that bicycle! So try she did – she learned her amazingly tenacious spirit in those long-distance triumphs. She made it back every time, and by the time she was seven she was riding circles around me telling me “Van de Berg’s Never Give Up, Daddy.” I knew then I had created a little monster who would one day become this great person we know and love.
It’s really is amazing to watch a person grow up, to try your best to teach them and encourage them, and then see them grow into a wonderful, successful, funny, intelligent, and beautiful adult. And it’s amazing what you pass down to them whether on purpose or not – I know Cal isn’t always terribly thrilled about the sense of humor that Lauren and I seem to exclusively share. Lauren is an amazing, talented, hard-working person, and I am very happy that she and Cal have chosen to become man and wife today. I met Cal for the first time about 6 years ago – I will avoid a certain story about that first meeting because Lauren would never forgive me for mentioning it at this formal event, but let me say this, I knew he was the one from that day forward. I have always found him to be an excellent man, and, most of all, could not be happier that he and Lauren make each other happy. They love each other dearly and that’s really all a father can ask for his daughter and new son-in-law.
Like any father, I never feel like I get to see enough of my daughter, even though we are fortunate not to live far apart. But preparing for this wedding, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Lauren for weekly dance classes. I have to say, I was almost as surprised as she was to see that I could still dance after 35 years of hanging up my shoes from my high school thespian training. Sometimes your kids think they know everything about you but then you bust out some Jitterbug and really catch them off guard. And even though I probably spent too much time trying to convince her that she should let me flip her over my shoulder during our dance – she still doesn’t always catch on when her dad is teasing her – all in all, the dance classes were a great experience to share with my daughter. And, even with my size 15s and her size 11s, we managed not to step on each other’s toes even once… really.
Because this is your wedding day, Lauren and Cal, and because I have the microphone, I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words of fatherly advice. Lauren – take another deep breath now. And don’t worry, sweetie, I’m not up to any of my old tricks today. And I didn’t even bring my spear gun tonight. So you can keep on breathing easy.
On your wedding day, I could give you the advice to never go to sleep angry with each other. I could advise you to always remember to laugh, to not take things so seriously, and to remember to always play together. I could advise you to make sure you take time to walk on the beach. I could encourage you to be spontaneous and do some dancing in the kitchen. I could council you to always sleep naked too. All of this is good advice but what I really want to share with you is far more important. These are two major points that I have learned, sometimes the hard way, over my 37 years of marriage.
The first piece of advice is regarding the synergistic effect between love and respect. What I mean by this is that every day you will have to push yourself to continue to express love and show respect to your spouse. This sounds easy but it is something that needs to be focused on to truly be successful at. Listen to your spouse with both your heart and mind and never jump to negative assumptions. Keep your heart and mind open, even when it seems like you’re not in a good place. Always treat your spouse with respect that is at the level of commitment and love that you want your marriage to be at. Only with both love and respect will you be able to forge a strong bond over many years together.
The second piece of advice is to focus on improving and maintaining your body, mind and spirit. You have worked hard for many months to look perfect for this very important day (and you certainly do!) but remember that today is just “Day One of the Rest of Your Life.” This is a joyful time when you will begin your married life together, always having the love and support of your spouse. But, in terms of bettering yourself, of staying sharp in the mind and fit in the body, this is not the time to relax. This is the time to double down and continue to improve, and to remember the phrase that I taught you so long ago: “Van de Berg’s Never Give Up!”. The best gift you can give to your spouse is to be the best person you can be. So continue to improve yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally from this day forward. For yourself, and for each other.
But don’t worry, Lauren, you can do this without all the stressful wedding planning.
Lauren and Cal, my one wish for you is that you have a relationship as wonderful and loving as my father and mother had for their nearly 70 years of marriage. God bless you both.
And with that, I would love if everyone would raise their glasses in celebration of this fine day, and toast to my lovely daughter and her Prince Charming – may the two of you laugh together and love each other always. Cheers!
photo via Flutter Glass Photography