Did Bridesmaid’s Role Change During Time?

Someone you care deeply for is getting married. They reach out to you and ask you to be their bridesmaid. This is a great honor. But, before you accept, there are some things you need to know.

When you accept the honor of being a bridesmaid, you are agreeing to dedicate much of your time over the next months to help pull together a wedding. You are promising to be there when you are needed and to participate in all the events and activities that go along with a wedding. You are agreeing to buy a dress which chosen for you by the bride. Liking the dress is not a requirement, but paying for it, and wearing the dress is. If the wedding is a destination wedding, you are required to travel at your expense unless the bride and groom are feeling generous. These are just a few of the responsibilities presented to you before the wedding. Your services will be required before, during, and immediately after the wedding.

How did we get here?

The position of bridesmaids and groomsmen date back to the ancient Romans. In Roman law, there had to be 10 witnesses to a wedding. At the time, there were rituals that had to do with protection from evil spirits. These two traditions came together this way. The bride and groom would each choose 10 people to stand with them at their wedding. Each woman was dressed exactly like the bride and each groomsman was dressed exactly like the groom. This was to fool the spirit that would try to take over the young couple. Over the years as things began to change.

As early as the 1920s and 1930s, bridesmaids were at the beacon call of the bride. They dressed her and undressed her. They stayed with her for a period of time before the wedding to ensure she needed for nothing. One of their jobs was to go over every inch of the bridal gown to ensure there were no sewing pins left in the material. A pin left in the dress was bad luck.

A bride that opted to wear white on her wedding day, was wearing a very delicate and much-loved dress. It had nothing to with purity. In the days before washing machines and detergent, a white dress was a luxury. They were difficult to wash. Bridesmaids went to great lengths to protect the dress.

The maid of honor stayed by the bride’s side for up to two weeks before the wedding. She took care of the bride, leaving her little to do. Any wish she had, the MOH would handle.


Brides and their wedding party no longer have to select a dress to be made for them. Industry leaders like Azazie keep their inventory ready with the latest trends and accessories. Bridesmaids are given a bit of room to help the bride select the styles and colors of the bridesmaids’ attire. The bride has the final word. The MOH still must do the running of errands, follow-ups and helping the bride, but the bridesmaids are not used as much. Bridesmaids show up, dressed correctly, smile, pose for photos, attend the parties, and throw a shower.

At the end of the day, it is an honor to be included in someone’s wedding. Before you accept, you need to find out how much time, money, and work you will be expected to contribute. If it is more than you can handle at this point and time, respectfully decline the offer. It is important that the right people are in that position as it is a major responsibility and it is kind of you, to be honest with the bride before she begins to count on you.

The wedding of your friend or family member is important. So are the people who stand with them. If you accept an invitation to be part of this, give it all you’ve got. Hold yourself to the highest standards and everything will turn out beautifully.