Why Bridesmaids & Groomsmen?

So last week I wrote blog post about why brides wear white wedding dresses and it’s led to a lot of other questions about the wedding planning process. In light of that, I decided that I should investigate more of these “traditions” to see where they came from. Now – why do we have bridesmaids and groomsmen?

Turns out that unlike the white wedding dress, the bridemaids and groomsmen is truly a “tradition” that stands the test of time.  There are several different version of the history out there, so I’ll just try to compile it the best way I can….

happy groomsmen at a modern day wedding! photo from The Wedding Lens!

Best Man & Groomsmen

So the long & the short of it is that the best man and the groomsmen have always been the guys who would say to the groom “dude, I got your back.”

Somewhere in the early A.D. era, there were when a dude couldn’t find a wife, he and his buddies would go to the next village over and steal a future wife. Yes, steal. The buddies not only helped with the stealing but they’d “get the groom’s back” during the wedding ceremony — you know, just in case the bride’s family wanted her back or something.

Other stories say that the groomsmen helped escort the bride to the wedding (even when she was a willing participant). 

bridesmaids at a modern day wedding, photo from The Wedding Lens

Maid of Honor & Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids were involved in the wedding ceremony for two reasons: to be a witness to the wedding and to confuse the evil spirits. Roman law required witnesses be present at the wedding — so that’s why the bridesmaids were there! Even today, many bridesmaids (or perhaps just the maid of honor) can serve as a witness to a wedding ceremony.

The evil spirit thing has to do with…. attire!

Attire

In the case of both the brides and the grooms, the groups would dress very similar to the bride & groom. Why? To ward off evil spirits of course! The idea was that the evil spirits would get confused by the similarity in dress. Which seems (to me) that maaybe those evil spirits weren’t so bright.

Anyway, “we’ve” kept the tradition of the bridesmaids dressing the same as each other, but not so much as the bride. Perhaps this is because the brides have recently adopted the tradition of wearing white instead of any old color. Obviously the groomsmen still dress very similarly to the groom.

So that’s the story of the bridesmaids & groomsmen. IS there anything you want to know the history of? Email me! natasha@theweddinglens.com.

~ Natasha

Round-Up: All Things Gift Related

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Because I’ve written so much about gifts and gift-related things, I thought it might be nice to put it all in one nice little blog post for easy access! AND if you, dear readers, have questions I didn’t cover, ask me! editor@theweddinglens.com and I’ll cover it ASAP!

How to Ask for Gift Cards or Money (instead of gifts!)

Tips on the Gift Registry

What To Do About Wedding Gifts (for both the couple & the guests)

Green Wedding Gift Ideas

Gift-Giving Etiquette

Etiquette on Giving Bridal Shower, Wedding Shower, AND Wedding Gifts

Gifts for the Best Man

Maid of Honor Gift Ideas

Out of Town Gift Bags

How To Deal with Anonymous or Unlabeled Gifts

Writing to Say Thanks!

Did I miss anything? Wanna give the gift of an online wedding photo album?

~ Natasha

How to Be a Maid of Honor

You are SO excited that your friend picked you to be her Maid of Honor (MOH)!! But wait, now what? What are you supposed to do as a MOH? How do you help? Where do you begin?

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Well, obviously this role is going to change, depending on the bride and the couple. For example, I was a co-MOH in a wedding, so I did some things and the other MOH did other things. And we both helped out the bride wherever we could! That said, it’s nice to have an idea of what is in store for you. So here you go!

If you want to go above and beyond, here are some ideas for things you can do to be that much nicer!

You can also check out pictures of real bridesmaids to see how others held up on the big day! If you have other responsibilities that I’m missing, let us know!

~ Natasha

Best of The Wedding Lens Blog

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided that it would be nice to review some of the “Best of” blogs.  This is based on your comments, number of views, and the feedback that I have received. So without further ado….

Since those posts were created, we also developed two FABULOUS lists. One is 75 Cheap Wedding Tips and the other is 50 Green Wedding Tips. We think these lists will help you plan cost-effective, green weddings by doing small things that don’t compromise the quality, class, and dream wedding you’ve always imagined. 

Also, always remember to consider our FREE photo albums for your wedding!

Do you have other favorites? Tell us!

~ Natasha

How to Write a Maid of Honor Speech

One of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do is write a Maid of Honor speech.  I was flattered to be chosen as one of the MOHs and I was excited that I would be able to tell all the guests what a great friend the bride is, how much I adore her, and how fabulous the bride and groom are as a couple.  But once I opened up the blank Word document to start writing, I couldn’t think of anything.  I came up with a lot of stories, but I wanted to be cautious about what I said — after all, there was going to be family there!

I reflected on some of the speeches I had heard at other weddings and tried to draw from them.  In the end, I came up with some great stories and the speech went well!  Both the groom and I cried during the speech and I received many compliments afterwards.

Here are some tips for the MOH speech:

  • Make the speech family friendly! I kept picturing myself telling the speech to the bride’s parents. It ensured I stuck to appropriate stories and didn’t have too many inside jokes. 
  • Don’t forget to thank the families. Regardless of who’s paying for the wedding (and sometimes it is the bride and groom), the families should be mentioned. After all, they’re responsible for bringing both the bride and groom into the world and/or raising them!
  • Tell stories about the bride, the groom, or the bride and groom.  Sound obvious, right?  But once you start telling a story, it’s very easy to end up speaking more about yourself than the couple.  One of the worst speeches I ever heard was a Best Man who told stories about how he and the groom used to compete in high school sports and how he (the Best Man) was a much better athlete than the groom.  Remember: it is THEIR day, not yours! 
  • Make it personal.  I know I just said to make sure the stories are about the bride and groom, but you should be sure it has to do with you! After all, you were selected because you are a good friend and vice versa.  Share stories of times when you were with them.  That’s much more meaningful than a list of reasons why marriage is sacred.
  • Keep it relatively short! It doesn’t need to be a minute, but it shouldn’t drone on either. A few quick stories, maybe a how you met the bride or groom, and a toast should suffice!
  • Try not to read.  Obviously you’re nervous and you’re afraid you’re going to forget something, but do your best not to read.  Some people like to take a few notes up to the microphone, while others feel more comfortable with the full speech written out.  I did not bring anything with me because I didn’t want it to sound too rehearsed.  I was talking about my friend, not doing a closing argument!  In retrospect, sure, I forgot some things — but no one knows but me!  
  • Try not to be nervous! The Wedding Maid of Honor Speech Blog suggests introducing yourself, talking about how you met, and introducing humor to make the speech more relaxed.  

If you happen to start crying in the middle of the speech, like I did,  or if you forget what you were going to say, then just take a minute, breathe, and move on.  It felt like ages when I paused to wipe the tears, but when I saw the video afterwards, I realized it wasn’t nearly as long as I thought it was.  Good luck!

~Natasha

5 Gift Ideas For The Maid Of Honor

The Maid or Matron of Honor is the bride’s ultimate sidekick for a wedding ceremony.  She is the head of the bridal party, she holds the flowers during the vows, she gives a speech on your behalf at the reception.  They are generally one of the most important people you may have involved in your wedding, so why not get them a special gift that shows your heartfelt appreciation for all that they do? Here are some great gift ideas for your maid of honor.

Will you be my Maid of Honor?

What a better way to ask your maid of honor to be a part of your special day than with a cutesy little maid of honor invite card? You can choose to make your own, or you may special order them.  This is definitely a unique way to ask your maid of honor to be a part of your special day.

Maid of Honor Picture Frame

A personalized picture frame is a very nice gift idea for the maid of honor. You can choose to buy a plain picture frame and decorate it yourself or you can special order the frame. A nice finishing touch would be adding a wedding photo of you and your maid of honor together.  I chose this route for my wedding 9 years ago and she still holds it dear to this day.

Maid of Honor tote bag

This is nice especially if you have “Maid of Honor” embroidered on the front. You can either get the tote in your wedding colors or her favorite colors.  Fill the tote with goodies and your good to go.  This idea is great for those who love any type of bags from totes to handbags.

Maid of Honor Pendant

The maid of honor pendant is a nice idea for those who love jewelry.  You can have the pendant engraved with something special like: “Thank you for being my Maid of Honor on my special day,”  or you can just simply choose to have her name engraved into the pendant.

Pearl Jewelry set

The pearl jewelry set consists of earrings and a necklace.  This could be a gift idea for your maid of honor to either wear on your special day or elsewhere.  Since this gift seems more on the formal side, you could present this gift to her at your bachelorette party, bridal shower, or rehearsal dinner.

Of course, this list doesn’t have to stop here – the more creative and personally meaningful your gift is, the better.  You can get your maid of honor anything you feel she may really enjoy, appreciate, and cherish forever.

~ Lindsey

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