The Not So Fun Reason Bridal Parties Originated
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.
Photo Credit: Emma Macaulay Photography from Hayley & Kyle
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!