Legal & Controversies

I’m Not Allowing My Dad to Give His Speech at My Wedding

People close to us often want the honor of being part of our wedding by giving a short speech. While these speeches are usually well-intentioned, even those with the best intentions can sometimes turn things upside down, making the moment about themselves instead.

He shared his story on the Internet.

“My fiancée and I (both 20s) are getting married in a month and there’s a dispute with my dad now and he claims I’m being unfair, but I wanted to get some thoughts on it. Dad decided he was going to give a speech at the wedding without saying anything first. He had shared the contents of said speech with his sister, my aunt, and she knew the speech would not sit well with me and mentioned his plan to me.”

“So in this speech he already wrote he talks a lot about how his wife is the love of his life, how amazing she is, etc. It’s very similar to the speech he gave at their vow renewal 10 years ago. He hasn’t shied away from expressing in front of me and to me that he never loved anyone like he loved his wife, and how all his past relationships pale in comparison. And that includes my mom who was his first wife, who left him widowed with an 8-year-old son at the time.

To make it even more difficult to hear. The vow renewal was held on my 18th birthday and I got to celebrate my birthday by hearing Dad talk about how mom meant nothing because his second wife was so much better. They had been married for 8 years at the time. But a lot of family and friends didn’t attend their actual wedding and they decided they’d have a second one to celebrate and they decided my birthday was the perfect time to do this.”

“Anyway, the speech he wrote for my wedding had a lot of this content from what my aunt heard from my dad and read herself. She knew on my wedding day the last thing I needed to hear was how much he adores his wife when he does so in a way that said my mom meant nothing to him.

I told him I knew about the speech and he didn’t have permission to give the speech at my wedding. Dad asked why not and I told him I didn’t want him to use my wedding to praise his wife. He said she means the world to us so why would I say that? I told him she meant the world to him. But she pales in comparison to my mom who meant the world to me and still does. I told him he might have decided Mom meant nothing but that didn’t mean I shared his feelings. He accused me of being sensitive and then said it seemed like I didn’t care about his wife at all, and then he said she was a good mom to me for the 8 years she raised me. I told him she was never anything more than his wife.”

“My mom died when I was 8 and I didn’t get a new one. And the last thing I need to hear is how little she meant on my wedding day. Dad told me to be reasonable and the parents of the bride and groom typically say something. I told him nothing he had to say had a place at my wedding. That this is mine and my fiancée’s wedding, not his. I told him to get married again if all he wanted to do was praise his wife. But it was not happening at mine.

He told me to stop acting like a little boy and grow up. I left. Then his wife called crying about the fight Dad and I had. Which led to Dad calling me again and telling me to grow up again.”

What people had to say

  • “I’d talk to his wife and explain the situation. I’d be mortified if I were her, and tell him to not mention me at all. But if she’s narcissistic (which would account for the dad’s irrational need to praise her [edit: also why there is no mention of your mother, and why they keep stealing the attention from your celebration days]) she’ll think you have the problem. And if that’s the case then you’re right to enforce no speech.” sejgalloway / Reddit
    • “She knows. She was crying on the phone at me because I didn’t want Dad to give the speech.” New-Usual4257 / Reddit
  • “It’s your wedding. Your father is the one being insensitive here and ’acting like a little boy.’ Even if he had good intentions when he wrote the speech, your talk with him should have made it very clear that it would be inappropriate to say those things at your wedding. He needs to swallow his pride and accept that on your wedding day, everything should be focused on elevating you and your fiancé, not his wife, and certainly not on downplaying the importance of your mother.” gordonf23 / Reddit
  • “You know he is going to try to give this speech anyway. Let your DJ or whoever is running the show at the reception that they are not to stop to allow him to give any speech. Put your foot down with Daddy and let him know that if he does usurp your reception to fawn all over this woman you are going full no contact. Don’t let anyone give a speech at the reception — it will open the door. Just a quick toast then let the party begin.” SusanfromMA / Reddit
  • “Without knowing the history of this relationship I would debate whether he should be allowed there. He is very inclined to make the speech and seemingly does not respect your opinions on it otherwise he would not have been so insensitive on your birthday or trying a similar thing on your wedding day. Either way, you know what the speech he wants to give and you don’t want that at the wedding, so no speech.” RandomSupDevGuy / Reddit
  • “Your wedding day isn’t the appropriate place for him to wax poetic about how great his wife is. When parents of the groom/bride give speeches, they’re supposed to be about their child and their soon-to-be child-in-law. If he wants to waste that opportunity to talk about himself and his wife instead, then you’re 100% entitled to remove the opportunity altogether.” FilteredRiddle / Reddit
  • “I had 2 stepmothers, and they are both good people who would be horrified by this scenario. And my stepfather and I still talk (positively) about his first wife who he lost to cancer at a very young age. He never had kids with his first wife, was an amazing stepdad to us, and Dad to my half-brother, his child with my mother. Your father and stepmother are cruel beyond understanding. The Evil Stepmother trope in Fairytales was meant as a warning, not a goal to aim for.

    If they come to your wedding, make sure the DJ knows to cut the microphone if your father gets his hands on it or play something to drown him out if he tries to go acoustic. I am so sorry that your father has seen fit to disrespect you and your mother so much, and if you refer to your speech as ‘My Mother, the first love of my life, who showed me who to strive to become when I grew up’ I’m sure nobody will blame you (except Evil Stepmother, and your father). Wishing you a drama-free wedding and a joyous marriage.” Heeler_Haven / Reddit

  • “If he can’t respect your wishes or even promise to limit the wife’s praise, he doesn’t deserve to give a speech. He should be lucky you aren’t uninviting him to your wedding.” HolSmGamer / Reddit
  • “You know, it’s ok to be ‘sensitive’ about losing your mother. This doesn’t make you soft or weak. It makes you human. Feel your feelings and great job letting your dad know your boundaries.” BabalonBimbo / Reddit

Creating a wedding guest list is both exciting and stressful. Couples have their preferences, often clashing with family opinions. However, excluding your sister while inviting her ex is unusual. Read about this woman’s experience here.

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