Friday, October 2, 2015

Historical Roles of Best Man and Bridesmaids

Best man was chosen because he was "best" with a sword.
Most wedding traditions stem from unusual origins. For instance, the wedding party of today is nothing like a couple hundred centuries ago. For instance, the original duty of the "Best Man" wasn't to throw a bachelor party, hold on to the ring, or to make the wedding toast.
Bride kidnapping

History of Best Man

Centuries ago, the Best Man served as armed backup for the groom just in case he was forced to kidnap his intended bride from disapproving parents. Even the word "best" didn't mean best friend. It' meant he was best with a sword in case it was needed.

Origins of the "best man" tradition is thought to be Germanic Goth when the people were expected to take a bride from within the community. With an inadequate supply of local women, eligible bachelors were forced to seek out and capture a bride from a neighboring community. This practice is linked to the reason the bride stands to the left of the groom during the wedding ceremony until this day. You see, the groom had to keep his right hand free for defense.

The best man stood guard beside the groom until wedding vows were exchanged. After the wedding, he stood outside the newlyweds' bed chamber door. He was a guard of sorts. He was there in case anyone decided to attack, and he was also in the event that the bride decided she wanted to run.

Bridesmaids wore dresses similar to the bride.


History of Bridesmaids

As for bridesmaids, historically they wore dresses similar to that of the bride, so that as the group approached the church it would be difficult for any evil spirits or former beaus to spot the bride. Evil spirits were also the reason the bride wore a veil, to hide from those spirits waiting to steal away her happiness. But having the bridesmaids dress similarly made it more difficult for possible kidnappers or those planning to throw rocks. 

The same held true for the men. They wore matching suits to save the groom from curses, rocks or kidnapping, too.


As for the Maid of Honor, she was responsible for making all the wedding decorations and putting them up herself.

Photo credits: wikimedia, wikimedia, wikimedia

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