It’s that time again, Monday seems to roll around at an ever increasing speed!
This week I have been taking a look at the tradition of the wedding party, why do we have bridesmaids and groomsmen on our big day? This tradition is one of my favourite, so keep reading to learn your ‘something new’ for today.
We’ll begin with the groomsmen as they initiated the custom of the wedding party (sorry ladies). This tradition originated from Anglo-Saxon times when friends of the groom were to ensure that the bride arrived safely to the wedding and, afterwards, to the groom’s home. She was to arrive there with her dowry(money,goods or property that a bride brings to her husband and his family in marriage) and herself intact. They were initially called the bridesmen as they acted as bodyguards for the bride, but this later changed to groomsmen.
In a few marriages, the groom would kidnap the bride from her village with the help of his friends. If the bride’s family tried to stop this, the groom’s friends would fend them off whilst the groom escaped with his bride.
Now for the bridesmaids. The maid of honour had the responsibility of attending to the bride for a few days before her wedding. She was also present on the wedding day when she would ensure the bride looked as beautiful as possible. The other bridesmaids, or brideswomen had their own duties which included helping the bride to dress for the wedding, as well as helping with the decorations.
In Roman law, ten witnesses were required to attend the wedding in order to confuse evil spirits that were said to attend marriage ceremonies. The bridesmaids and groomsmen would dress in very similar clothing to the bride and groom, so that the evil spirits wouldn’t know who was getting married.
With regards to the best man, his place was originally next to the bride at the altar. The best man was to continue protecting the bride throughout the ceremony. However, some best men apparently took their roles too far which caused jealousy amongst the grooms. As a result, the best man no longer stood with the bridal party and from then has stood next to the groom at the altar.
Children also play an important part in wedding party history. Flower girls originated from the Victorian era, when their role was to entertain the guests. A cute, little girl sprinkling flowers was thought to create a more calm and enjoyable atmosphere at the wedding.
Young boys were often included in the bridal party, and they had the role of holding the bride’s train, as well as carrying the wedding rings. The young boys were dressed as pages in velvet jackets and short pants, which gave them the name pageboys.
So that is the story behind the wedding party, and it is an interesting one at that! You can join me at the same time next week for the final post in our wedding tradition series, and of course we kept the best until last!