The role of bridesmaids and groomsmen have changed and evolved over the years. Back then, the bridal party didn’t just help plan the wedding and be there for emotional support. The bridal party had more of an important role. Here are some interesting facts about the history of bridesmaids and groomsmen!
Jen and Chris’ Four Seasons Wedding
Photographer: Zorn Photography
It Was The Law
In ancient Roman times there was a law that required witnesses to be present at the wedding, ten witnesses to be exact; five bridesmaids and five groomsmen. During this time the bridal party dressed like the bride and groom in order to confuse the evil spirits or jealous guests so neither one could harm the newlywed.
Ellen and Robbby’s Organic Mountain Wedding
Photographer: Ampersand Family
In an Anglo-Saxon tradition, the groomsmen, also known as the bride’s knights, would fend off the angry mobs and family members that would interfere with the kidnapping of the bride whether the bride was willing to go or not. Groomsmen were also in charge of the bride’s safety during her transportation to the wedding and then to the groom’s home.
Jessie and Trever’s Spruce Mountain Ranch Wedding
Photographer: Frances Photography
The role of the best man originated from the Germanic Goths in the 16th century. The best man was the “best man” for helping the bride escape from her disapproving family. It was most likely that he was the best swordsman. During the wedding, the best man would stand next to the bride at all times, even during the ceremony. This was to make sure that no one could harm or steal the bride or to make sure she didn’t run away.
Stacy and Gideon’s Winter Wedding
Photographer: Frances Photography
The bridesmaids would assist the bride in decorating for the wedding and anything else the bride needed help with. In the medieval times, the bridesmaids would also give the bride tons of gifts before the wedding in case her father didn’t approve of her groom. If he didn’t approve then the father wouldn’t provide a sufficient amount of money for the dowry for his daughter to marry. The gifts that the bridesmaids gave would become the dowry.
Maria and Craig’s Scottish Wedding
Photographer: Connie Whitlock
Matron of Honor
In ancient Roman weddings, the matron of honor, an older and married version of the maid of honor and also known as a senior maid, needed to attend to the bride a couple of days before the wedding. She stood by the bride on her wedding day to constantly make sure the bride looked absolutely stunning at all times. In order for one to be a matron of honor, they had to be married only once and they couldn’t of been a widow. The matron of honor also joined the right hands of the couple for the first time during the ceremony.
Brandelin and Austin’s Spruce Mountain Ranch Wedding
Photographer: Elevate Photography
During Anglo-Saxon times, instead of a bouquet, brides would throw shoes at the bridesmaids to see which one of them would marry next. Whoever caught the shoe would then throw the shoe at the groomsmen, and the first guy they hit would be the lucky fellow to marry the bridesmaid. Imagine if the bride or bridesmaid had terrible aim? That could go on forever! Or even yet, what if they had a hard throw? The shoe could seriously hurt someone! Luckily a bouquet is used in today’s’ weddings. It does less harm than a shoe!
“Shoes White Wedding Slippers Bouquet Femane” by Canon EOS Rebel T3i is licensed under CC0 1.0
The reason for having a wedding part has changed over decades. In today’s weddings, bridesmaids and groomsmen are used for different reasons. It’s a way to incorporate close relatives and/or friends in your ceremony; to show that the relationship and the person is special to you. Some couples choose not to incorporate bridesmaids or groomsmen in their wedding. That is perfectly OK. Whether the couple is leaning more towards having a bridal party or not having one will not matter as long as the couple is happy and comfortable with their decision. There is not a “right” and “wrong” wedding. It’s all about personal preferences!
Allison and Andrew’s Highlands Ranch Mansion Wedding
Photographer: Photogenic Lab