The Origin Of The Bridal Party

Wedding season is in high swing. Couples have spent months planning their special day. The dress. The tux. The flowers. The bridal party. Putting together a wedding takes time and a lot of thought. Choosing the bridal party can be overwhelming because it’s such an emotional task. To alleviate a little stress, read on for a few fun facts on the history of the bridal party.

Ancient Roman Wedding Traditions

The bridal party tradition may have its roots in Ancient Rome where if a wedding was to be considered legally binding, there were to be 10 witnesses. Ancient Rome was also a suspicious society and the 10 witnesses served as a protection for the wedding couple. They may not have been referred to as bridesmaids and groomsmen yet. Dressed in the same clothes as the bride and groom, the role of these early bridal attendants was to prevent evil spirits from recognizing the couple and causing them harm. In another protective show of force, groomsmen accompanied the bride to the celebration to protect the her from thieves who wanted to steal her dowry. Imagine the burden of protecting a bride from evil spirits and thieves!

Here Come the Bride’s Knights

Like weddings of the Ancient Romans, Anglo-Saxon marriages also included a bridal party whose primary purpose was protection of the bride and her dowry. Friends of the groom were charged with guarding the bride. They were to ensure her safe arrival to the wedding and then later to the groom’s home. There would have been great trouble if the bride arrived at either place without her dowry or her dignity. The Anglo-Saxons called these protectors bride’s knights. Over time, they were known as bridesmen, then groomsmen.

The Victorians

During the Victorian era, the role of the wedding party was more relaxed. Unlike the Ancient Romans, who married for financial reasons, the Victorians were all about romance. Effort was placed on making frilly and elegant party favors and organizing wedding flowers. Bridesmaids helped with both. They also accompanied the bride on her wedding walk down the aisle. Ancient wedding traditions weren’t completely thrown out. Victorian bridesmaids carried herbs, grains, and garlic to keep evil spirits away. Thankfully, Victorian bridal bouquets contained a variety of sweet smelling flowers!

Children in the Wedding Party

The Victorians were also responsible for first including children in the wedding party. This practice is still popular. Remember, children made-up the main part of the bridal party at the most recent royal wedding. The flower girl tradition began during the Victorian era. Her role was to entertain guests and help create a more relaxed atmosphere at the wedding. She also represented hope for a fruitful union. Today, wedding guests still enjoy seeing a tiny girl walking in front of the bride, dropping flower petals. Boys had a more practical role in weddings. They typically held the bride’s train and carried the wedding ring.

The Modern Bridal Party

The Bride and Groom no longer expect their attendants to protect the bride. While some traditions are carried on for family or religious reasons, most couples today choose friends and relatives to be part of the wedding because of their close relationships. Some couples decide not to have a bridal party at all. Whatever form the bridal party takes, the roles bridesmaids and groomsmen play are more about fun things like any pre-wedding parties.

The bridal party has functioned as a support team for the wedding couple for centuries. They no longer worry about the bride’s dowry or warding off evil spirits. Instead, they stand with the bride and groom and celebrate with them on the happiest day of their lives. They may not dress like the wedding couple. They may not all wear the same style or color of wedding attire. But one thing hasn’t changed since ancient times. They are still there to support the bride and groom.

Contact Fritzler Wedding Films to capture the fun you have with your bridal party on your day!