Weddings have been happening since time began and so many of the traditions we know and practice today have existed for decades. One such interesting tradition is the bridal party.
It’s commonplace to see a squad of women and men flanking the bride and groom on their big day. Usually their closest friends, the bridal party is meant to support and assist the bride and groom throughout the wedding process. However, the origins of the bridal party is pretty unromantic.
The Bible contains one of the earliest references to bridesmaids. In Jacob’s wedding to Leah and Rachel, both women had their literal servant maids present at their ceremony.
In ancient Roman times, there needed to be 10 witnesses at a wedding whilst the couple recited their verses, acting as an early form of the bridal party. While the witnesses were typically all male, eventually it evolved to include women. The women had to wear identical gowns to the bride to confuse vengeful spirits aiming to thwart the newlyweds happiness. This is why bridesmaids typically wear similar outfits today.
Groomsmen of this time had a pretty…interesting role. In various historical cases, groomsmen were said to kidnap brides from her family home and bring her to her groom. They would then stand beside the bride to make sure other suitors or family members couldn’t take her back.
By the Victorian era, the concept of the bridal party as we know it today began to take shape. Speaking to Vogue, luxury wedding and event planner Gina Wade explains: “during that time, bridesmaids organized flowers and party favours but they also walked down the aisle carrying herbs, garlic, and grains to scare away evil spirits.”
Today, brides typically have a maid/matron of honour and however many bridesmaids, and the groom has his best man and groomsmen. Modern couples are moving away from tradition, with some even opting out of having a bridal party altogether. At the end of the day, it’s what feels right for you. Your wedding should be what you want it to be, regardless of tradition.
Also read: Bride chooses grandmothers as bridesmaids
Feature image: Unsplash