Monday, 3 September 2012

Origins of the Bridemaids; chief bridesmaid...

 I was the chief bridesmaid at the wedding of my aunt  recently and my oh my was it an interestingly challenging moment for me, I was there at the beck and call of the bride, meeting her needs and  picking up money they spray both the bride and the groom.. whew! but that got me into think....
When  and where did the concept of  the Brides made originate from?

The Western bridesmaid tradition is thought to have originated from Roman Law, which required ten witnesses at a wedding in order to outsmart evil spirits (believed to attend marriage ceremonies) by dressing in identical clothing to the bride and groom, so that the evil spirits would not know who was getting married. Even as late as 19th century England, there was a belief that ill-wishers could administer curses and taint the wedding. In Victorian wedding photographs, for example, the bride and groom are frequently dressed in the same fashion as other members of the bridal party.[4]
Other people cite the Biblical story of Jacob, and his two wives Leah and Rachel, who both literally came with their own maids as detailed in the Book of Genesis (29:24, 46:18) as the origin of bridesmaids. These women were handmaidens (servants or slaves) instead of social peers.

The Chief Bridesmaid (or Maid of Honour / Matron of Honour, call it what you like) is the Bride’s rock – Ms. Dependable who always knows what to do in a crisis. This article takes a closer look at the role of the Chief Bridesmaid and highlights her duties and responsibilites before, during and after the big day.

Role of the Chief Bridesmaid
First up, if you have been lucky enough to be chosen as a Chief Bridesmaid, then congratulations, you are obviously doing something right! But whilst it may be both an honour and a priviledge to have been chosen, the task ahead is by no means a cakewalk. As with all members of the wedding party, there are duties that need to be picked up and the Chief Bridesmaid definitely gets her fair share.

From the moment the wedding is announced, right through to the big day itself, there is plenty to keep the Chief Bridesmaid occupied, and depending upon the preferences of the Bride and Groom, these could range from the traditional Maid of Honour tasks, right through to a wide and eclectic range of duties to perform. Whatever Chief Bridesamaid duties are allocated, you/she should be happy and willing to oblige with all of them.

Traditional Chief Bridesmaid Duties
Let’s start by taking a look at those duties that every Chief Bridesmaid across the country will be getting stuck into:

Weddingsday Be a shoulder to cry on for when the Bride’s down, an expert listener for when she has a lot to get off her chest and a stand-up comic when she just needs a good old laugh!

Weddingsday Organise the Hen Night – for ideas and help with this, check out our Stag & Hen articles.

Weddingsday Assist the Bride in choosing suitable Bridesmaid outfits – it is important to go along with whatever the Bride wants, but at least you will have an opportunity to steer her away from the dress that would look more at home on Joan Collins in an episode of Dallas!

Weddingsday Attend all relevant dress fittings and ensuring that all the other Bridesmaids do likewise.

Weddingsday Attend any Wedding rehearsals and making sure that the other Bridesmaids do likewise.

Weddingsday Help the Bride to get dressed on the day of the wedding.

Weddingsday Make sure all Bridesmaids are ready in good time with hair and make-up sorted and dresses in place (you’d probably notice if the latter was missing!). You should also ensure that each Bridesmaid has the correct bouquet and that none of them get in the way of the Brides preparations.

Weddingsday Travel to the wedding ceremony venue with the other Bridesmaids and Mother of the Bride.

Weddingsday Assist the Bride out of the vehicle she has travelled in to the ceremony and help her with any last minute adjustments to the dress and veil.

Weddingsday Hold the Bride’s bouquet during the wedding service.

Weddingsday Accompany the Best Man (on his left hand side) as you depart the wedding ceremony.

Weddingsday Stand in the receiving Line to greet the guests.

Weddingsday Dance with the Best Man as part of the first dance (you never know, if he’s single and you’re single….)

Optional Chief Bridesmaid Duties
As well as the traditional Chief Bridesmaid duties, there are also a number of other tasks that may be passed across, notably:

Weddingsday Help to arrange anything and everything, from transport and stationery through to decorations and entertainment – you name it may very well be thrown your way.

Weddingsday Helping to put together and having quick and easy access to the Bride’s ‘emergency kit’ at all times during the day. Comprising essentials such as spare tights/stockings, make-up, deodorant, perfume, headache tablets, tissues, hairspray, a nail file and a packet of mints – this is one goody bag that the Bride hopefully won’t need, but if she does you’re a lifesaver!

Weddingsday Keeping an eye on any Flower Girls or Page Boys (perhaps with the help of the other Bridesmaids or Groomsmen), making sure that they are in the right place at the right time, doing what they are supposed to be doing, and most importantly are enjoying themselves!

Weddingsday Being able to assist guests with any queries they may have, or at the very least, being able to point them the way of the Ushers!

Weddingsday Carrying out a small toast to the Bride and Groom following the Best Man’s speech. It is a fashion that is creeping into UK Weddings having originated in the good old US of A and is catching on slowly but surely on these shores.

Weddingsday Taking time to dance with all the Groomsmen at some stage during the evening (you hussy!)

Weddingsday Helping the Bride get ready to go away on her honeymoon and looking after her dress whilst she’s gone.

If the thought of everything that lies ahead scares the ‘you know what’ out of you, then you must be sure that whilst daunted, you are definitely up for the challenge. The last thing the Bride needs is her right-hand gal dropping just before the Big Day, so if you simply cannot face it, make sure that she knows well in advance. Many other first choice Maid’s in the past have politely said no, so you won’t on your own there. If you are pregnant, otherwise engaged or even have a history with the Groom then these are all perfectly acceptable reasons for relinquishing the role of a Chief Bridesmaid, but just because you don’t want to take the day off work or ‘don’t look good in dresses’ are not satisfactory excuses.

We can't promise you that what lies ahead will be easy, but it certainly is rewarding. Your best friend’s wedding is so important and exciting for her, and we have a niggling feeling you’ll feel that way too!

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