Wedding Traditions: The Bridal Party

Most brides and grooms enjoy the support of having their family and friends helping them prepare for their wedding day, and playing a key role in the proceedings. At most modern weddings the role of the best man is to arrange the stag, support the groom on the wedding day and to look after the wedding rings before the ceremony. Bridesmaids are usually a little more involved, often helping with the wedding arrangements as well as arranging the hen night and supporting the bride on the day of the wedding. These roles are very ancient and often have the most unusual back-stories.

Bridal Party Belfast Wedding

Would you believe that the initial role of bridesmaids and groomsmen was to serve as protection against jealous spirits that were out to get the bride and groom?

Brides, if you are feeling a little apprehensive about showing your bridesmaids the selection of dresses you have decided on, feel free to tell them that bridesmaids were traditionally dressed the same as the bride to confuse any lurking evil spirits into not knowing who the bride actually was. As fashion moved on the trend shifted to bridesmaids wearing white dresses with short veils to contrast with the overly decorated dresses and huge veils that was the fashion for the brides. It was not until many years later that commercial dyes started being imported from all around the world that the fashion trends switched to colourful dresses for the bridesmaids.

The Best Man & Groomsmen

A man who found a woman he wanted to marry often had to kidnap her especially if her family did not approve. This was a difficult task to accomplish alone so they would bring their friends with them and choose the best swordsman they knew, the “best man” to help them. In some early traditions, the groomsmen were called the Bride’s Knights, they would make sure the bride arrived safely to the church and then on to the groom’s house afterwards. The best man would also stand with the groom during the ceremony sword ready, to fight of evil spirits, ex boyfriends and family members who wanted to stop the wedding.

Groom and Best Man Tullylagan House Wedding
Groom and Groomsmen Beach Wedding

The Maid of Honour & Bridesmaids

Eventually weddings started to become more of a planned event and the maid of honour role was created. A few days before the wedding a maid would attend the bride, her role was to prepare the bride for her wedding and to help get her dressed on the morning of the ceremony. This was an important role, as the bridesmaids would spend all of their time on the lead up to the wedding preparing the wedding feast.

Bridesmaids Ballyscullion Park Wedding
Bride and Bridesmaids Ballymac Lisburn

The Flower Girl

The history of flower girls dates back to ancient Rome. Young girls carrying baskets filled with herbs preceded the bride down the aisle were considered a significant symbol of prosperity and blessings to the ancient Romans. During the Medieval Era, flower girls were armed with garlic in the hope of discouraging any evil spirits from getting too close. As time passed, flower bearers dropped flower petals on the roadway from the bride’s home to the church during the wedding procession

Flower Girl Dunsilly Hotel Wedding
Flower Girls Lusty Beg Wedding

The Page Boy

The word ‘Page’ stems from the medieval term for a young male servant. Historically the role came from Western Europe and then spread to other parts of the world. Page Boys were young male wedding attendants who traditionally attended the bride and helped carry the bride’s train as she walked down the aisle, as the trend was for very long trains.

Page Boy Lusty Beg Wedding
Page Boys Lusty Beg Wedding