father of the groom toast

kriszOctober 11, 2007

Our son is getting married in 3 weeks. It is a rather elaborate affair and we have been left out of most of it.

The bride wanted to plan her own rehearsal dinner so we wrote a check. We have been unable to develop a warm relationship with this girl despite knowing her 3 years. You could describe it as polite but emotionally distant. She simply does not seem interested in our family. We are quite sad our son is marrying this girl. I know that they expect the father of the groom to give a toast at some point, either the rehearsal dinner or the wedding reception or both. My husband is not much of a speaker and doesn't want to be all phony about it and say things we don't feel. Any suggestions for toasts that don't say how happy we are to have her in the family, how we love our daughter-in-law and are glad our son chose her? Just something polite and non offensive is what we'd like.

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First of all -- my sympathies to you. I can only imagine how hard it would be to have my child marry someone who seemed to have no interest in our family. I hope that someday -- perhaps when there are grandchildren, or she just matures a bit -- that will change.

I understand how you feel. And I understand the line you are trying to walk: you want to be polite and not unpleasant, but you don't want to be hypocritical.

I urge you not to try to do that by being terse and distant yourselves, and certainly not in a toast. I fear it will backfire for you. Recently, our very close friends' daughter married a guy they don't especially like, and they really dislike his parents. At the wedding, the bride's brother gave a toast that sounded like he was trying to do exactly what you said you want to do, but his hostility and disappointment were obvious. It made everyone uncomfortable, it probably made his sister unhappy, and it made him look small and mean. The parents had as little to do with their new son-in-law's family as they could all weekend, and they refused to attend the reception his parents gave in their city.

We who love them dearly are watching all this with alarm. They think they are being "true to their feelings." We all see that they couldn't be pushing their beloved daughter away from them more effectively if they were trying. Acceptance does work two ways, even if our child's spouse wouldn't have been our choice. Please don't let that happen with your son.

A toast is like a eulogy -- it's not a time to focus on negatives, and no one thinks it's hypocritical to say nice things that may not quite be true. I would try to choke it back and make as warm and as nice a toast as I could. Start by thanking your hosts and saying how lovely everything is. Then thank all your family and friends from sharing this milestone with you. Now you're halfway through! But eventually you have to say something to the couple, I know. If you simply can't say that you love Petunia and you are so glad your son chose her, perhaps tell a sweet story about when he was a little boy, or pass on a story or bit of wisdom from your own marriage, or how you knew that he was in love with her, or something like that. Then wish them many years of health and happiness -- I assume you do wish that! -- and you are done.

Good luck. I hope it turns out better than you fear.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 9:38PM
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Thank you very much, gellchom. We have never even met her parents so at least we won't have to hide dislike of them.
The mother has already informed me that they will have no time to spend with us the wedding weekend since they have dear friends coming whom they wish to spend time with. The wedding does seem like a death in the family so it will be a like a eulogy. But we will use your advice

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 7:57PM
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Have you spoken to your son? Are you close to him? Do you have other children? Can you ask one of them to talk to him? That they have known each other for 3 years to me indicates that they know each other well enough to get married.

Maybe the MOB told her daughter not to kowtow to you, to avoid problems later?

Does the MOB live in the same area as you? I do undertand her not having time the wedding weekend. Have you spoken to her re dresses, invitation lists, etc.?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 11:33AM
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she doesn't like you much apparently, but is it clear to you that she loves your son?

That would give you something to say: "we have always admired our boy, and are glad to see his bride cherishes him as well"

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 7:48PM
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