The Wedding Guild Series: Traditions of the Bridesmaid

The Tradition and Role of Bridesmaids | Bridesmaid Gifts | Michelle Leo Events | Utah Event Planner and Designer | Heather Nan Photography

You've probably seen the movie more than once (we know we're guilty), and now that you're finally the bride, it's time to select your bride tribe! 

Having a difficult time deciding who and how to ask? Or perhaps you've already asked your favorite gal pals to stand by your side, but you're not really sure what their roles and responsibilities traditionally include. Well then, you're in luck because in this Wedding Guild Series post, MLE addresses the purpose and importance of the long-time, traditional role of the bridesmaid, who to ask and how to ask her to stand by your side, and what her responsibilities include after she says yes (because she's going to say yes).

Where does the term “bridesmaid” even come from?

Here’s a little history lesson for you on that very subject:
A wedding day may or may not include traditions of old and/or new. But the tradition of having a “wedding party” comprised of bridesmaids and groomsmen is derived from an old tradition where men and women, selected by the couple, would dress like the bride and groom to confuse any evil spirits that might want to harm the newlyweds. Furthermore, being bridesmaid was considered a “good way to find a husband.”

In the 16th century, it was believed that if a young woman served as a bridesmaid three times and still wasn’t asked for her hand in marriage, she was cursed with evil spirits. Rumor had it, serving as a bridesmaid 4 more times (making for a total of 7 times served) would break the spell and the evil curses would be lifted.

The Tradition and Role of Bridesmaids | Bridesmaid Gifts | Michelle Leo Events | Utah Event Planner and Designer | Heather Nan Photography

How should I select my bridesmaids?

“Eenie Meenie Miney Mo…" Okay okay, just kidding!

There’s typically a reason brides select the group of women they do to be their maids. Brides usually select their maids based on relationships so often times the bride’s sister(s), best friends, or soon to be family members are selected to serve the role of bridesmaid. When it comes to selecting the lovely women you wish to surround you on your special day, MLE recommends selecting women you share a meaningful relationship with (and you shouldn’t feel obligated to have people in your line). Make sure your party is comprised of those who bring you happiness and joy (you’ll appreciate your wedding photos for years to come when you elect to have the most important people standing next to you at the alter).

The Tradition and Role of Bridesmaids | Bridesmaid Gifts | Michelle Leo Events | Utah Event Planner and Designer | Heather Nan Photography

What are some creative ways to ask someone to be my bridesmaid?

You’ve said “yes”, so now it’s your turn to pop the question “Will you be my bridesmaid?” And when asking this special question, MLE suggests putting some effort and creativity into it. After all, should these selected ladies say “yes” (and they will say yes), they’re committed to helping you celebrate to the fullest and assist your planner in eliminating any unnecessary stress for you on your big day.

Have fun when you ask these special ladies if they’ll join you on your big day and stand by your side. And in doing so, MLE suggests including fun and personalized gifts, sentimental items, and/or taking them to brunch to pop the question followed by a celebratory mimosa toast.

Whether you want to give them a yummy treat, or a hand written sentiment, going out of your way shows your bridesmaids they are special to you and you couldn’t (and wouldn’t want to) do this without them! Here are just a few ideas of how to incorporate creativity and purpose into popping the question:

Make it Personal

  • If you’ve got the time and you love to craft, DIY it! Crafting and DIY projects are some of the easiest ways to make it personal.
  • Make a scrapbook of your previous memories together and leave a blank space for the fun and exciting new memories that are bound to happen with all the wedding goodness ahead. MLE loves all the fun paper products at Paper Source and Stampin’ Up! 

Take it Someplace Special

  • If you’re a total foodie, prepare a picnic and head to your favorite location for a fun afternoon of nature, laughter and lunch.
  • Don’t have time to pack a lunch? Call a local caterer or your favorite dining establishment and order something on the go.
  • Don’t forget dessert! In fact, bring a selection of fun appetizers and sweets and have a mini tasting with future wedding activities in mind.

Gift It (because who doesn’t love getting something fabulous?!)

  • Including a sweet and personalized gift makes asking her all the more special and memorable. Think about including something she can utilize on the wedding day such as a beautiful makeup bag, jewelry she can accessorize with her future dress, a beautiful robe to wear when you both get ready for the big day, or a custom champagne glass paired with her favorite bottle of bubbly.
The Tradition and Role of Bridesmaids | Bridesmaid Gifts | Michelle Leo Events | Utah Event Planner and Designer | Heather Nan Photography

There are so many fun ways to ask so don’t be afraid to get personal and creative, and really show your bridesmaids how much they mean to you!

MLE has lots of favorite vendors when it comes to finding the absolutely perfect gift for your ladies. Whether you’re looking for something local and based on a Utah wedding location, personalized, or just all-around meaningful, we suggest giving the following vendors a looksee:

Whatever direction you decide to go, don’t forget to make it meaningful, purposeful and even better, personalized!

So are there responsibilities to being a bridesmaid?

Yes! There really are responsibilities included when one agrees to be a bridesmaid. By becoming a part of the wedding party, maids (or matrons) are essentially agreeing to be there on the day of the wedding to provide the bride comfort (because it’s a really important day and therefore, a potentially stressful day for the bride).

Additionally, bridesmaids may help plan, cohost and pay for the bridal shower and bachelorette party. While bridesmaids aren’t responsible for clearing dinner tables at the reception or emceeing the party, they are tasked with helping ease any unnecessary stress, helping with day-of errands and necessary tasks, making sure she has a glass of champagne in her hand throughout the entire night, and dancing the night away with her on the dance floor.

How do I thank my bridesmaids for everything they did (and didn’t have to do)?

They said yes when you asked. They kept your mind at ease when you almost had a bridezilla moment, they zipped up your dress, buckled your shoes, brought you your lipstick once every hour, requested the band played your favorite song, and made sure you always had a drink in your hand. You’re wedding was a huge success for many reasons, and they were one of the driving forces behind why you enjoyed yourself so much. But now what?

Thank your bride tribe.

Thank the ladies partly responsible for why you enjoyed everything and felt amazing the entire day. Being a bridesmaids can be stressful, time consuming, expensive, and can most definitely test anyone’s patience (we’ve seen it first hand). So make sure your ladies know just how lucky you felt to have their support and love as you prepared and enjoyed one of the most important days of your life. And once again, don’t forget to make it personal.

Take the time to personalize a letter and/or gift. Whether it’s a custom label on a bottle of wine letting her know her efforts didn’t go unnoticed, a delicious smelling bath bomb to encourage some relaxing downtime, or a spa pedicure to soak her tired feet after she’s blistered them on the dance floor wearing the shoes of your choice, gifting your gal pals with a little something shows how appreciative you are. A little thank you can last a lifetime.

The Tradition and Role of Bridesmaids | Bridesmaid Gifts | Michelle Leo Events | Utah Event Planner and Designer | Heather Nan Photography

Check back in a few for part II of this Wedding Guild Series post where MLE addresses the dress: How to pick the perfect bridesmaid dress, who should pay for it, and how to tackle hair and makeup requests.