Bridal parties exist because of the historical threat of real actual demons attacking weddings. True story. Our ancestors used to be stressed about demons attacking the good things in life, like marriage ceremonies.
Now I’m not going to be the guy to downplay the threat of demons, I still swear to this day that it was a demon that convinced my little brother to stick a fork in an electrical plug, despite mum and dad never believing the story.
But depsite the fear, today, demons destroying weddings happens as often as UFOs appear in the night sky, Nessie popping up out of a lake, and Bigfoot strolling through Paluma: never. Regardless, we had this fear of demons at weddings so to reduce the wedding-demon-threat everyone thought it would be a really great idea to dress up a few friends to look a little bit like us so that when the demons arrived to interrupt the nuptials they would be confused because there are so many men in suits and women in dresses. Ta’da, the bridal party was invented.
If the demon confusing worked, there were only a few other menaces for a future husband and wife to plan for. Of course there was the reality that the bride had probably been stolen from her normal life and quite literally was being actually given away by her father to a groom she was meeting as the veil was lifted. The average teenage girl at the time probably had a few admirers and upon finding out that the young lady was being wed those swordwielding lunatics would often jump into action and come to stop the vows being exchanged.
This called for the groom’s best sword fighting friend to come in to play, the best man. If the celebrant of old was about to be interrupted the best man would swing out his sword and stop any heart-throb from ruining this obviously sweet engagement.
For a boy and girl saying ‘I do’ to finally become husband and wife there was a lot to plan for in centuries gone past, and we’re not even at the ceremony yet where the groom would prove his dominion by smashing a wedding cake over his bride’s head and then the bride would try to escape the reception with her husband and dress in one piece like a shark evading Chinese waters with it’s fins intact.
Much like eating shark fin soup, it was really good luck for a wedding guest to secure a piece of a bride’s dress on her wedding day so as she was leaving everyone would have a rip at the gown. So in an effort to leave clothed the new Mrs would throw her bouquet of flowers to the crowd. Introducing the bouquet toss.
After reading that crazy story you’re probably wondering why you’re employing so many archaic, meaningless tradtions in your wedding. Or you could be thinking how child services didn’t separate me from Zac and the power point. Both are good questions.
We live in such a liberated time where you have the oppurtunity to create your own personal marriage celebration, a meaningful party that could mean hanging out with your best friends in suits and dresses for the day, or not. You have complete control over the existence of a bridal party, how many guests, or even if you drop the traditional plans and have a fun pop-up wedding!
The fact remains: this is your wedding, with or without the demons, and you get to choose when it happens, where it happens, how it happens and what it all means.
This article originally appeared in Ruffles and Cake wedding magazine, as you can see below! And the featured image for this post is by Heart and Colour from our New Zealand elopement with The Elopement Collective, for Eb and DJ!