Wednesday, July 27, 2011

'Always a Bridesmaid?'

One of our favorite 'InnCredible Events' followers, Natalie, asked if we'd do a blog post on the responsibilities of a bridesmaid before, during and after the wedding. Well, of course Natalie...we'd love too!!!

However, (and there's always a 'however' with me, right!) in doing my research for this post, I found some fascinating information on how the tradition of bridesmaids came to be. So I thought I'd share these facts with you so you can see just how far we've come since ancient times.

It seems the tradition of having bridesmaids, and groomsmen as well, can be traced all the way back to early Roman times when bridesmaids would form a 'human shield' to protect the bride from thugs and thieves who might be interested in stealing her, or her dowry, as she made her way to her groom's village. This group of loyal women would dress identically to the bride so these ruffians wouldn't know which lass was the actual bride. Genius, right?

Later, it became Roman law that a bride and groom must have ten witnesses, who again, dressed like the bride and groom. It was believed this would ward off the nasty evil spirits who attended wedding ceremonies to do nothing more than to cause harm.

In 19th century Britain, folks believed that ill-wishers would join in the festivities to bring harm and bad 'juju' to the happy couple. So the tradition of everyone in the bridal party dressing identically continued. If you look at a wedding picture from Victorian England, it's often difficult to tell who the bride and groom are because everyone is wearing similar clothing. Is it the couple in the front, hmmm, no one really knows...LOL!

Others reference the Bible, and the story of Jacob and his two wives, Leah and Rachel, who according to the Book of Genesis, came with their own 'maids'. These 'maids' were actually servants and not chosen friends. :(

And just so we don't leave the grooms out completely, similar traditions were in place for the guys as well. As the story goes, way back when, grooms would have to steal their beloveds from their families who usually weren't as excited about the pending nuptials as the bride and groom. It's believed that the groom would hold his bride by the left hand so he could fight off opponents with the sword in his right hand. This is where many believe the tradition of a bride standing on the left side of her groom at the altar originated. I had no idea!!!! Did you?

Today, we're a bit more civilized and have relaxed these ancient traditions quite a bit. Instead of needing a 'human shield', bride's today choose their best friends and favorite family members to be their bridesmaids. So, what does this honor mean? And what responsibilities does this honor come with? Well, read on....

According to 'The Bride's Maids'...
  • The Bridesmaids are a collection of the most important women in the Brides life. You do not have to like them all, but you do have to get along. Leave all pettiness at home, be gracious - even if it kills you.
  • The Bridesmaids will accompany the bride when she goes shopping for her dress, if the wedding party is large, only the Maid of Honor should accompany the Bride, too many opinions make it difficult for everyone.
  • The Bride and the Bridesmaids will choose the bridesmaids dresses, accessories, shoes and jewelry. This may be a time consuming and expensive shopping trip. Who pays for what will be a big question, each situation is unique. Be sure that everyone is aware of the expectations before committing.
  • Hair and make up expenses are usually paid by the Bridesmaids, if the Bride wants everyone to be made up together, then the Bride should cover part or all of the costs.
  • Help address the invitations.
  • Assist in creating the wedding favors.
  • The Maid of Honor with the Bridesmaids will plan a bridal shower and a bachelorette party.
  • Help to spread the word about where the couple are registered, this is not mentioned in the wedding invitation - ever.
  • Help coordinate the out of town guests, arrange transportation and accommodation, and prepare a welcome basket for the out of towners.
  • Collect the gifts and envelopes at the reception and make sure they are safe.
  • Help direct guests to their seats, making them feel comfortable and generally overseeing the reception.
  • They will need to be trusted friends, and good listeners, carry lots of tissue and do some hand holding.
  • They will make sure you have something to eat, get plenty of rest, and take over where Mom left off.

If you want a complete listing of your duties from 'pre' to 'post' wedding, check out, ''. Here you'll find a printable checklist for you to refer to. This checklist will give you everything you ever wanted to know, and maybe a few things you wish you didn't know, about being a bridesmaid in today's weddings.

There's a lot of information out there on the internet, so if you'd like to do more a little more research, just 'Google' 'bridesmaids responsibilities' and see what comes up!

Until next time....

Making your wedding InnCredible
'InnCredible Events'

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