Bridesmaids are typically female members of the brides wedding party. Usually they are women of marriageable age who are close friends or family members, such as sisters or cousins, chosen by the bride to be a part of her wedding. They are friends and loved ones considered dear to the bride and who have supported the marrying couple from the beginning of their relationship. Often the bride will have a principal bridesmaid called a maid of honour, if she is unmarried, or matron of honour if she is married, she will also be an official witness to the wedding. On this exciting yet at times stressful occasion the bridesmaids have the honour of providing the bride with any type of support she may need during the wedding planning and on the big day. Not only are the bridesmaids and maid of honour there to comfort and offer emotional support, they have certain responsibilities and can be tasked with important duties. These include assisting the bride-to-be with any problems that may arise in wedding preparations, hosting the bridal shower, helping choose her dream wedding gown, sending invitations and thank you cards, helping the bride get ready and dressed on the wedding day and generally making sure everything goes as planed on the day. On the wedding day the maid of honour is in charge of holding the brides bouquet, being on hand to take care of any last minute errands and perhaps giving a toast during the reception.
Though the tradition of bridesmaids is generally unknown, some believe it may have origins in the Biblical story of Jacob, whose two wives Leah and Rachel each brought their own maids to the wedding. Another theory is that the tradition dates to ancient Rome where having witnesses at a wedding was required by law. The Romans thought that having ten bridesmaids and groomsmen dressed similarly to the bride and groom would confuse and hopefully scare away any evil spirits present, as well as any possible real suitors. Today the choice in number of attendants included in the wedding party is entirely up to the brides and grooms preferences, there are no rules, you may have just one bridesmaid and groomsman or up to twelve depending on the size of your wedding.
The options are truly endless when deciding how your bridesmaids should look, whether its choosing identical dresses or different styles with a common theme. Without taking any attention away from the bride, bridesmaids will also want to look their best on your wedding day, so help them find dresses they look and feel great in. Hopefully the dresses you choose will be in a style that the bridesmaids will be able to wear again after the wedding ceremony, or that they can alter and still wear post-wedding. Simple and classic designs that are flattering to the shape and size of each individual bridesmaid are ideal.
Though there are no specific rules to follow, the dresses should in some way complement the brides wedding gown, creating an overall beautiful wedding aesthetic. If you’re wedding dress is strapless and structured, for example, bridesmaids dresses may also be strapless or with simple necklines rather than long sleeved in a romantic style. Dress materials can be selected according to the time of year and by how formal your wedding will be, lighter fabrics such as chiffon and organza would be better suited for a summer or day time wedding, while richer materials work well for evening receptions and cooler weather. Different dress lengths, whether tea-length or long, and styles in cut can be can be tied together by deciding on a common colour scheme and the same fabric for all bridesmaid dresses. Keeping in mind the colour scheme of the ceremony and reception, the right choice of bridesmaid dress colour can also play an important part in setting a tone for the wedding, vibrant colours can add a sense of playfulness while neutral colours like black or taupe bring a touch of elegance, the dresses may all be in exactly the same colour or in various shades of a specific hue. Sequins, beading and other detailing on the dress could match those of the brides wedding gown. Each bridesmaid may wish to personalise her look with accessories, jewelry, shoes, or a different hairstyle, these personal touches can be decided upon after consulting the bride-to-be.