I was recently discussing with a friend how wedding ceremonies have changed in the last few years to what we remember when we were kids. As a little girl, most weddings I attended had an entourage of bridesmaids, all dressed in very colourful dresses which were sometimes hideous. This is of course still the tradition but at least the outfits are beautiful in most cases. Historically, it is said that bridesmaids’ role was to form some sort of a bridal troop to protect the bride from evil spirits. In the Roman times, the law allowed ten or more witnesses at a wedding and also it was a belief that bridesmaids should wear similar dresses to the bride in order to outsmart any ill-wishers or vile spirits – I wonder if this is what Pippa Middleton had in mind when she wore that bridesmaid’s dress for Kate’s wedding and did it work?(….well Kate and William do seem to be happy!).
The roles of bridesmaids is different now, instead of serving as ‘protective shields, they now have little exciting tasks in the wedding planning. In Zimbabwe, where I’m from, we love dancing at weddings, in fact whenever music plays, we dance. So bridesmaids and groomsmen are mostly responsible for doing choreographed dances to entertain the guests. I have seen that this is becoming a trend in Europe and US as well so bridesmaids are still not only about pretty faces and cute dresses!
Last year when I was on holidays in Africa my Irish sister called me to tell me she was engaged and asked me to be her only bridesmaid/maid of honour. I was ecstatic, my head was buzzing with dozens of outfit ideas. Anyone who has watched The Bridesmaid movie will understand that having just one maid makes shopping for an outfit a lot simpler! We agreed that I could wear any dress but I couldn’t be any taller than her, so we spent more time on shoes than the dress. I tried many outfits, all very beautiful but I settled for this black and turquoise one shoulder dress. The black-turquoise was a unique combination for a bridesmaid dress but the cut was right, it was different and if one has to spend a lot of money on an outfit, it might as well worth a few wears to get value for money. Besides the practicality of the dress, it really suited the day as it was a glamorous and elegant wedding. I will be wearing my dress again to a cocktail party next week.
If you are ever invited to be a bridesmaid, just remember , ‘A happy bridesmaid makes a happy bride’ so just KEEP SMILING! I wish all the August brides and grooms a very happy anniversary.
Photo: Ashley Walsh Photography