Making up a traditional part of a Wedding party is the Maid of Honor and her handful of Bridesmaids. The Maid of Honor has long held high-standing in Wedding ceremonies because the chosen party would be responsible for helping the Bride get ready for her nuptials. The Maid of Honor is the organizer and the one who is there getting manicures and pedicures, makeup and hairdo’s with the Bride. She is the one organizing the themed Bridal Shower, the Bachelorette Party and the one who will be there tending to the Bride’s needs on the big day.
A customary role for the Maid of Honor to this day is to ensure the that Bride is picture perfect before going down the aisle, that her veil is not crumpled, that the bouquet is all in order and that the train, should there be one, is running smoothly out behind the dress. So she has some important duties to perform for the Bride and she will be first down the aisle behind her as well. But as much as there is to do for the modern Maid of Honor, it’s nothing compared to the duties that they had to perform. In days of yore, the Maid of Honor would have to not only create, but put up all of the wedding decorations on her own.
So the Maid of Honor remains the head of the Bridal party. So if the Maid of Honor is there to serve the Bride and bear witness to the legal union, where do the Bridesmaids come into all of this? Well, the origins of the Bridesmaid is somewhat unusual. They weren’t just there to add a bit of glitz and glamor to proceedings, nor were they an evil creation invented by a bride in order to make herself look ever more spectacular on her wedding day by having a bunch of other women stand around in undesirable dowdy-looking dresses.
The role of the Bridesmaids was to lay down a veil of deception. That’s right, they were there to trick any evil spirits or jealous ex-lovers. The reasoning was that if the Bridesmaids all wore similar dresses to that of the Bride herself, then anyone wishing to cause a spot of bother at the ceremony, such as an evil spirit spitting out a curse or an ex-lover trying to jump out of the aisle and kidnap her, would be confused as to which one the ill-will should be directed towards. It doesn’t make particularly sound reasoning as the one woman standing at the altar reciting vows would have been a pretty big giveaway.
But that’s where the role of the Bridesmaid comes from. They were covert operators, the security detail for the Bride. Actually that is the same roll that Groomsmen take on as well, which is why they are all decked out the same, but obviously in protection of the Groom. Other old traditions surrounding Bridesmaids goes back to Roman times when it was law that ten witnesses had to be at the ceremony, for no other reason than to get the better of any evil spirits (who seem to have had nothing better to do than hex engaged couples it would seem). There is also reference to Bridesmaids in Bible times as well, when Jacob, Leah and Rachel all brought attendants (or perhaps servants) to their wedding to help out.