My slot is three minutes. THREE MINUTES! How am I supposed to condense my speech into 180 seconds? It’s preposterous.

Ah well. As father of the bride that’s all I’ve been given to tell guests what a truly amazing daughter we have and how lucky Tadhg is to be getting her. 180 seconds will go by in a flash, too little time to say all that I want to say about my little girl who has now grown up and is currently working in Hong Kong of all places. What a great excuse it was last year to pop over and see her!

How do you sum up your daughter and your love for her in 180 seconds? I’ve had a peek at some father of the bride speeches and they all seem way better than what I can come up with. But we’ll give it a bash.

Many years ago I attended a wedding where the father of the bride gave one of the most excruciating speeches I ever heard. Embarrassing doesn’t do the speech justice. On and on he droned, each comment shocking guests and further humiliating his daughter. I determined then that I wouldn’t make any jokes about Sarah Jane on her wedding day – well, maybe a small one. After all, this is her big day, not mine.

I have a few ideas to put into words, but having had a sneak look at what I’m supposed to say – and when – I can see this will be a real test of my editing skills. Now you might think a guy who spent almost 40 years editing newspapers for a living might find this task less than difficult but you couldn’t be more wrong. After all, I want to say the right thing, avoid silly puns, or jokes that fall flat on their arse, and recalling episodes with Sarah Jane that should remain firmly locked away in the family vault of ‘don’t go there’ memories.

180 seconds isn’t a lot to play with. In fact, some guides suggest I stretch it to 7 or 8 minutes, but nothing longer. Of course I haven’t written the speech yet, haven’t tried out some judicious anecdotes, etc. Maybe I’ll need half an hour (if you’re reading this Sarah Jane, I’m joking. Seriously!)

In any case I’d better get cracking as the wedding is in May and I’m more nervous than the future bride. My hands are shaking and I’ve yet to write a word. Yikes. Wish me luck.