So what is the origin of the wedding party, why do we have them? It has quite unromantic roots. The Maid of Honour term was coined in England which means "Female attendant of the Queen" now it's it obviously has taken form to mean the Bride's closest friend or confidant. In some circumstances, in Roman history, the Matron of Honour could not have been married more than once and could not be widowed. Originally bridesmaids were servants of the Bride, quite literally her maids who would tend to her needs. They would dress up the same as the bride, in some cultures to prevent evil spirits from attacking her, but also to confuse anyone that would attempt to kidnap her. In China, during the feudal period, the bride frequently had to be cautious of being kidnapped from rival clans and thugs. Yes, bride theft was common back in the day, so having a heavily veiled entourage as an extra measure of protection was paramount.
Which then leads me to the groomsmen, who have even more sinister origins. There are accounts from as far back as Gothic Germany and Scotland during the 16th-century men would normally marry within their village, but alas, sometimes there weren't enough women to go around, so instead of accepting their loss, they would invade a neighbouring town and forcefully steal a future bride from her family and take her back to their village to eventually wed her to the groom. Obviously kidnap isn't an easy feat, so executing it as a one-man job wasn't feasible, which is where the groomsmen really came into play. Dating apps don't look so bad now huh...
Their job didn't end there though, during the ceremony, the “best man” was said to be the best swordsman and would remain next to the bride, with his best sword fighting hand at the ready which was to keep her from running away or to fight off any jealous suitors that would fight to claim her for themselves or more commonly family members would come swords at the ready to battle and reclaim her, talk about some Game of Thrones type shit!
Thankfully in modern society, we're able to enjoy the freedom to choose our significant other. Although some things remain the same with "stag parties" originating in ancient Sparta, Greece during the fifth century where the groom and his buddies would feast and toast to the marriage the night before the wedding.
Some modern alternatives that I love seeing! MISMATCHED BRIDAL PARTY NUMBERS: I once had a wedding where the Bride had 8 bridesmaids and the groom had 4 Groomsmen. I love that! Never just chuck people in for the sake of having equal numbers, also do not cull anyone to fit a certain requirement. Come from a place of intention who has really played a vital role in your relationship or strongly influenced your life because that is what is important. NON-GENDER BASED: I am loving seeing this more and more in weddings, not basing the squad on gender. Chicks in the groom’s party and vice versa.
PARENTS OR KIDS IN THE BRIDAL PARTY:
It is so freakin' cute! Why shouldn't they be up there with you? Obviously, dependant on your relationship with your folks but I know I would want my mum in my bridal party hands down! And what better way to honour them. This goes for any children you man have, including fur babies haha.
NO BRIDAL PARTY:
We've come a long way since the original kidnap the Bride, but that doesn't mean you need to do it in modern times either. Keep it simple, you can still have your homies come get ready with you and hype you up but don't feel obligated to have a bridal party for the sake of it.