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Wednesdays are reserved for wanderlust thoughts and adventures, my day to day life, my thoughts on life, how God is working in and through me, and poems typically. Today I wanted to mix it up a little and provide you a history lesson! As you probably know by now, I love weddings, love, and all things bride.
In this coming year two of my best friends are getting married, one in January and one in September and I am honored to get to stand by their side on their big day. But in order to do this well, I thought I should learn and compile some of the history of what it means to be a bridesmaid, so here is what I found:
Standing By Her Side:
A brief history and perspective for you
A bridesmaid is a woman (or a man) who has stood by the bride-to-be’s side throughout her single life and into her relationship with her groom. It is one who has loved and supported through the positives, the negatives, the tears, the laughs, the bad hair days, the “running through a field of buttercups” happy days, and the everyday life of the bride.
Whether they’ve been there from the beginning like brothers and sisters or cousins or childhood friends, or they are newer relationships like coworkers or college roommates, they are loved by the bride-to-be and love her deeply.
So why not just call them your BFFL (best friend for life) or tell them you LYLAS (love you like a sister) like elementary school yearbook pages and summer camp bracelets taught us? Why pick pretty dresses and stand them by the bride’s side as she glides gracefully down the aisle to the man of her dreams?
Well that’s simple and like many answers to the “why” questions of wedding planning, the answer is: Because it is tradition!
The tradition began in the oh so superstitious Ancient Rome.
In Ancient Rome it was tradition for ten maids and ten men to stand by the bride and groom dressed completely identical to the happy couple. This identical attire and grooming was to protect the bride and groom from evil spirits. Due to the identical dress it confused the evil spirits as to who was the bride and groom and the vile demons would not harm them as they said their “I do’s.”
Another part of this tradition was the tradition for the ten men to accompany the bride to the wedding processional in order to ensure no thieves would attempt to steal her dowry (the price and pride of the bride).
As time marched on (most likely to the tune of “Here Comes the Bride”) the concerns of evil spirits and guarding the bride price has faded, thus leading to the lack of identical dress (however, fun fact, bridesmaids in Victorian times were still required to wear shorter white dresses and a matching veil to the bride).
Nowadays being a bridesmaid is a little less serious than literally protecting the life and wealth of the bride and groom, however being a ‘maid is still very serious and special.
Bridesmaids are there for support and companionship: this includes not letting the bride lose her mind, stuffing and sealing 500 envelopes, tying countless ribbons, hugging her and ensuring that her groom is perfect for her and reminding her of how much she loves her groom-to-be.
Though responsibilities have changed over the years, the “standing up for your sister” in support of her and her love is the most import job and tradition of a bridesmaid.
Bridesmaids from the beginning of time are protectors of the bond between the bride and groom. This is serious, special, and an honor. As we recognize the many traditions of weddings and the tradition of what it means to “stand by her side,” we share in the Bridal Cup, bonding the bride and groom in love.
But also, it binds the bride and her maids in love.