It’s tomorrow! Callie’s going to be a wife!
And, for the first time, I’m going to be a bridesmaid.
Choosing a bridal party is the only time in adult life where it is totally acceptable—and expected—to publicly proclaim our best friends. It’s like the heart necklaces or friendship bracelets of our youth, but a totally bizarre and adult version that involves matching dresses.
No matter how adult we proclaim to be once we’re of the marrying age, selecting some people over others—saying “I feel closer to you than to you,” or even “I like you better than you”—is prickly. Of course, as any bride knows, there’s more that goes into bridesmaids than just who you like best. There’s also who’s related to you, and who’s going to cry if she isn’t asked even though you don’t really like her, and who do you need to invite because you were in her wedding.
[To be clear, such drama didn’t happen with Callie’s wedding party… she’s just the timely peg for this post.]
I only had two bridesmaids in my wedding. I asked Callie and Sara because 1) I wanted them and 2) I knew their inclusion wouldn’t leave anyone out. If I went bigger, my only option was to have at least nine girls. I couldn’t ask only some of my super-tight college friends, it’d be too hard (and possibly drama-inducing) to choose. And I’d want to invite a cousin or two, and my old roommate, and an ex-coworker. It would get out of hand.
I figured the whole “make your besties dress alike” thing must stem from something other than the need for someone to hold up a dress while the bride pees, so I investigated. Here’s what I found:
“In early Roman times, bridesmaids formed a kind of bridal infantry as they accompanied the bride to the groom’s village. This ‘protective shield’ of similarly outfitted bridesmaids was supposed to intervene if any wayward thugs or vengeful suitors tried to hurt the bride or steal her dowry. However, the Western bridesmaid tradition seems to have originated from later Roman law, which required ten witnesses at a wedding in order to outsmart evil spirits believed to attend marriage ceremonies. The bridesmaids and ushers dressed in identical clothing to the bride and groom, so that the evil spirits wouldn’t know who was getting married.”
If this reasoning still existed today, I’d screw picking my best friends and just go for women who looked like me and who could kick some wayward thug ass.
But no, today the bridesmaid thing is about being surrounded by your BFFs on your big day. To have your people stand up and support this giant step. It’s a nice thought, actually.
So I ask you this: Do you like the tradition, or think it’s bizarre? And are there other adult scenarios in which we’re asked to designate our best friends?