The Day I Gave My Daughter Away
In the summer of 2014, Martha and I were delighted to add another son to our family when our beautiful daughter Erin married the love of her life, John. My role as father of the bride required me to give a toast to the happy couple during the reception:
My Father of the Bride Speech
Welcome friends and family! This is a day every daddy dreams of – to walk his beloved daughter down the aisle and give her to the man of her dreams. Now I wish all of you to know about a serious family genetic trait that all of our children have inherited, and that trait comes exclusively from the father – me. Want to know what that genetic trait is? Their wise taste in the mates they marry! (Martha smiles and nods approvingly).
My recent role as father-of-the-bride has been a real experience. As you know, Martha and I have bred many babies and books, so I thought I’d write a book entitled Father of the Bride, perhaps modeled after one of my favorite actors in one of my favorite movies, Steve Martin in “Father of the Bride.”
Then, I realized I would have nothing to say except one sentence: “Hand over your credit card and keep your mouth shut!”
I realized that the ladies in our wedding party had the final say, and perhaps the only say!
I also learned a new term – “Bridezilla.” In my experience, Bridezilla is that look that women in the wedding give men who try to voice their opinion, especially if that opinion concerns the wedding wardrobe.
For example, I tried to voice my opinion about how uncomfortable tuxes/monkey suites and those shiny, plastic shoes are by sharing my opinion: “Nobody looks at the man anyway, especially the shoes he wears,” I was met with that Bridezilla look. I even tried a bit of humor, offering: “Maybe the men could come out in Speedos since the wedding reception celebration is around the pool.” More Bridezilla looks!
Wedding day morning appears and that’s where the difference between men and women in the wedding party really, shall we say, shines. For the men, 20 minutes before the wedding starts they turn off the sports event on TV as they realize, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to get dressed for the wedding.” The women’s preparations begin at 9:00 a.m.
9:00 a.m. at our home
Many hours before the ceremony. Enter makeup artists, hairstylists, and some jewel-clad ladies whose purpose I still haven’t figured out. Gradually the women of the wedding party take over our home as the father of the bride is relegated to dressing in the laundry room.
I tried to crack a joke, such as “When do I get my hair done?” Again, it flopped, as Martha reminds me, “Honey, you don’t have enough hair left to style.” Martha has that sweetest look that I have learned to love over the years, that uniquely feminine smile that absolutely disarms a man, and you just want to smile and nod approvingly.
Next, I got my dancing orders: “Remember, Bill, the purpose of the man at any dance is to make the ladies look good.” Another lady in the wedding advised me, “During the dance, the dad is the frame and the daughter is the picture.”
John and Erin, I give you a simple key to a happy marriage that Martha and I have enjoyed for 48 years: “Yes, dear.” In all seriousness, the true key to happiness in marriage is for each of you to adopt the role of “You first, me second.” Make each other’s needs a top priority and before you know it, you will be celebrating 50 years together as husband and wife. I hope you remind yourself of this wisdom each day as you look at the beautiful person you married.
Your mother and I wish you both a long, happy and blessed marriage – and a fruitful marriage, hoping you break our record and have nine children.
Dr. Sears, or Dr. Bill as his “little patients” call him, has been advising busy parents on how to raise healthier families for over 40 years. He received his medical training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the world’s largest children’s hospital, where he was associate ward chief of the newborn intensive care unit before serving as the chief of pediatrics at Toronto Western Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto. He has served as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and University of California: Irvine. As a father of 8 children, he coached Little League sports for 20 years, and together with his wife Martha has written more than 40 best-selling books and countless articles on nutrition, parenting, and healthy aging. He serves as a health consultant for magazines, TV, radio and other media, and his AskDrSears.com website is one of the most popular health and parenting sites. Dr. Sears has appeared on over 100 television programs, including 20/20, Good Morning America, Oprah, Today, The View, and Dr. Phil, and was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in May 2012. He is noted for his science-made-simple-and-fun approach to family health.