How To Thank The Bridesmaids

When you're making a wedding speech, you have to fulfil three sacred duties in order to pass through the experience unscathed. First, you must pay respectful homage to the married couple and their kin. Second, you should be as entertaining as it is humanly possible for you to be. And last but by no means least, you must thank a bunch of people for basically doing nothing but standing there and looking pretty.

Acknowledging how lovely the bridesmaids look is an obligation all Best Men, Grooms and Father's of the Bride must fulfil. But depending on your role and indeed the tone of the day, this brief dispensing of praise can often be harder than it looks. Luckily for you, we've got your back, so here are a few ideas to help you thank the bridesmaids without looking like a pervert.

Father of the Bride

To avoid seeming lecherous, the Father of the Bride should pay general, non-specific comments to the bridesmaids which veer towards beauty rather than sexuality. Words like beautiful and elegant are far better than stunning, cute and gorgeous. And commenting on endless legs and busty displays will only get you a few weird stares and a punch under the table from the missus.

This isn't the Daily Mail; it's your daughter's wedding day. Be refined, be generous and be gentlemanlike in your praise. Do this, and you'll come across as the sophisticated and charming older man, rather than the grubby old deviant you secretly are:

  1. "On behalf of myself and my wife, I'd like to thank Imogen's bridesmaids for everything they've done for our little girl. Not just today, which was a considerable effort in itself, but throughout your years of friendship. No doubt you've been a drunken shoulder to lean on many times for our Imogen, and I expect that'll be evident shortly after the bar opens... but for that, and all the support you've given her over the years, we thank you."

Alternatively, if you're feeling bullish and you're confident that a more risqué tone would go down well, you could try your luck with this little number which subverts a typical dad line to good effect. Be warned, though; you can probably only pull this off if you're handsome. I'm talking guy on the packet of Just For Men handsome here. That's the level you'll need:

  1. "Martha, Harriett, Joanne, Alannah; what can I say. You four look magnificent. Honestly, if I were twenty-five years younger, I'd be too scared to talk to any of you and I'd spend the whole night sitting in the corner nursing a beer and eating a whole pizza to myself."

The Groom

Unless you're a complete and utter cradle snatcher, it is safe to assume that your wife's bridesmaids will be reasonably similar in age to you, the Groom. As such, you can get away with a little bit more than the Father of the Bride. But you can also trip up in some other places too. This isn't the time to say you've always fancied your new wife's friend, and nor is it appropriate to insinuate that they're even close to outdoing her in any way shape or form.

Keep it classy, keep it brief and keep it complimentary. Oh, and you'd better be hilarious too. The Groom's speech often follows a toast towards the bridesmaids from the Father of the Bride. So not only must you riff on that to continue the acknowledgements, but you've also got to open up your own speech with a bang:

  1. "I'd like to echo what Gary said there and thank Mel, Violet, Cathy and Leah for not only helping my wife prepare for today but also making such a huge effort and looking so magnificent. Not that any effort was needed, mind. Unlike myself, who had to spend hours grooming, plucking, waxing and scrubbing to bring myself up to the standard of your average dole queue."

Mentioning the appearance of the bridesmaids may not be appropriate for a number of reasons. Perhaps one of them is your sister, and it'd make you feel weird to say she's pretty. Perhaps one of them is a bit, you know, and she'd be all self-conscious. Or maybe your wife's just a nutter, and the mere mentioning of another woman's beauty is enough to get a heel through your nutsack. If so, try this alternative line instead:

  1. "And as for the bridesmaids, well, ladies you've been a wonderful help to Amanda, and I know that if the brutally patriarchal wedding customs allowed it, she'd thank you herself. But they don't, so thank you from me instead."

Making yourself the focus at a wedding is by no means a problem. Another example of this can be seen here, where the best man thanks the bridesmaidsbest man thanks the bridesmaids and segues into a bit about his groomsmen and his own particular talents.

The Best Man

Best Men get to go further than most regarding the tone of their wedding speech, and this is no more evident than during the acknowledgement of the bridesmaids. Tradition dictates you must dance with the chief bridesmaid, and male pride requires you to at least take a crack at seducing her at some point in the night. Both of these things can be referenced during a wedding acknowledgement, as can the relative restraint shown by your previous speakers:

  1. "Thank you to both Ian and Liam for their kind words regarding the services of myself, my fellow groomsmen and the bridesmaids this evening. You were correct, we have indeed done a bang-up job, and it feels good to receive validation of that fact. However, Liam, my friend, one thing I would say is that you could've gone much further with your compliments towards these beautiful young women. You could've called them sexy, ravishing, titillating, or jaw-dropping, but I respect the fact that you didn't. As a married man myself, I can see you've learned your place faster than I ever did. Well played sir, well played."

Another source of material is the notoriously competitive nature of today's bridesmaids, who often seek to out-do each other in various bizarre ways. Tapping into this world will provide you with plenty of ammunition to send a few light jibes in their direction, so why not try something like this next snippet to reference one of the unspoken truths of modern weddings:

  1. "Also, it would be remiss of me not to thank the bridesmaids, who look wonderful and have performed their roles well, despite the well-known rivalry which tends to erupt between such ladies. In fact, just before the service, I overheard a furious sisterly argument about who was going to be first to dance with the Best Man. But ladies, this was all for nothing. Phillip (Father of the Bride) and I intend to buck tradition once and for all; we've been practicing the Foxtrot for months. Then you can all take a number and wait your turn."

So there you have it. If truth be told, nobody really expects much from the formalities segment of a wedding speech. You could say nothing of interest whatsoever, and you'd still get a round of applause for even the slightest hint of a compliment. But by adding a few jokes and sentiments into this otherwise bland material, you'll give your speech the extra spark it needs to become truly, truly memorable.