By Tim Kearns
I had my second opportunity to be father of the bride on June 1st, 2019 as my youngest daughter wed to a fine southern gentleman from Germantown, Tennessee named Daniel Young. The wedding day preparation is certainly left to the people best equipped to handle that task; the bride, maid of honor and the mother of the bride. I gave my opinion when asked, which was very seldom. The choice of venue, time of year, indoor or outdoor, colors, flowers, dress, showers, number of bride’s maids, bachelorette party, DJ or band, first dances, food, etc., are all topics way over the pay grade of this father of the bride. Yes, there are some financial decisions to discuss, but honestly weddings are very similar to a home renovation; a budget is a benchmark, but in the end you don’t want to shortchange the experience. Other than handling a few small details, the father of the bride’s job all boils down to the wedding day. Emotions are high and you need to be the rock; easier said than done for me: I’m emotional!
I take the honor very seriously because I feel the father of the bride sets the tone for making the wedding guests feel welcome. It’s an opportunity to tell stories, recall memories of meeting the fiancé and how your relationship evolved with time. You introduce guests from both the bride and the groom’s side of the relationship who are meeting each other's family for the first time. The parents of the bride, hopefully, by this point have had opportunity to spend time and get to know the groom’s family. In our case, we actually met Daniel’s parents, Tommy and Gina Young, about four years ago and have spent time with each other in both Germantown and Franklin, staying at each other’s homes, growing as a family even before the “I do’s.”
Your toast also gives you that one last chance to publicly tell your daughter just how proud you are of her and how much you love her! For me, the moment the delivery room doctor uttered the words: “It’s a girl,” my mind raced forward to; first steps, first day of school, little league soccer, teaching her to drive, her first date, high school graduation, college graduation, first job and then walking her down the aisle! As you stand in front of two hundred people with a microphone in your hand, this is your one opportunity to share a lifetime's worth of experience in a few brief minutes. You recall certain memories from childhood that led to her growth and development to the woman she’s become today. Use this as an opportunity to add to that growth and character. It’s not a time for off color jokes or memories that don’t put her in a flattering light. Send her off with her head held high and great memories of her wedding day that she can recall forever.
You also get a beautiful, warm opportunity with a father - daughter dance. Choose a song meant to invoke a memory for each of you. Spend three minutes in private (while in front of two hundred friends), to speak words of wisdom, encouragement and love. I really cherish those three minutes, I held my daughters and told them the hopes and dreams I have for her and the many reasons I will always love her!
I often say the wedding ceremony will be the easiest part of being married. Once reality kicks in and the euphoria of the wedding day and honeymoon are a distant memory, all you have is that love and your relationship to hold things together. As you grow with age, people naturally change. Life changes you, children change you, careers, health, finances and all things that have an opportunity, if you let them, can drive you apart. The key is remembering that day; the day you said I do, the reasons you said I do, the love you have for that person. You want to continually share the type of love that makes the tough days not so bad and the good days that much sweeter. Bess and I celebrated thirty-four years of marriage on May 25th. Daniel’s parents, Tommy and Gina Young, will celebrate thirty-five years on January 21, 2020. So, if anything, Daniel and Taylor were both witnesses to parents who made the decision to love each other forever; fight through the tough days and give thanks for the great days!
If you soon will be a father of the bride or become one years from now; cherish every moment, every memory and take every opportunity to tell your daughter just how much you love her! Make that day special as only a true southern gentleman would!