I am a wedding celebrant and over the past 7 years I have noticed that if most couples wish to include a touch of originality in their destination wedding ceremony, they also choose to keep some traditional elements often found in a church ceremony.
One of these traditional elements is the bridal party composed of page boys, flower girls, best men, ushers, maid of honour and bridesmaids. But what is their real purpose ? If their main role during the ceremony is to announce the arrival of the bride, it is certainly not limited to that.
Bridal parties date back to Ancient Rome: Romans thought that surrounding the bride & groom with young people dressed in the same way would confuse evil spirits and encouraged them not to bother the newlyweds. As of the 18th century, particularly in England and the US, single ladies would be chosen as bridesmaids to be shown off to potential grooms. To this day, bridal parties are still hugely popular and it is not uncommon to have up to 10 ushers and bridesmaids to accompany the wedded couple!
In France, the number of bridesmaids and ushers is not as significant, however this trend is increasingly more popular as it enables the bride to make a grand entrance.
The main role of the bridesmaid is to announce the bride entrance, however she is not just expected to do a catwalk and stand quietly near the bride. In fact, the role of bridesmaid is usually combined with a hugely difficult job: Volunteered Wedding Planner!
1° Hen night Organiser: The maid of honour is often required to organise the Hen night (which can also be a whole weekend abroad!). To complete her mission, she must be extremely resourceful, lead the other bridesmaids, delegate tasks and take care of the whole planning (transport, accommodation, accessories, surprises, etc.) in order to ensure that the bride enjoys her party to the full.
2° Create decoration items: The bridesmaid is often required by the bride to contribute to the making of decoration items and must be prepared to spend all of her spare time for 6 months to learn how to print and decorate invitation cards, fold paper hearts, attach trims and ribbons to jam jars, etc.