Maid of Honor Advice
The History Behind Maids of Honor
The maid of honor wasn't always the charismatic, organized, sympathetic friend of the bride that she is today. While some of the maid of honor's responsibilities were similar, her original role was a little different.
Back in Roman times, the bride traditionally traveled to the groom's home village for the wedding ceremony. The original purpose of the maid of honor and her fellow bridesmaids was to dress exactly like the bride in order to protect her. Any men jealous of the bride and groom would be confused as to which was the real bride. The matching bridesmaids and maid of honor were also there to confuse any malevolent spirits. The groomsmen and ushers in turn dressed like the groom for the same purpose.
The maid of honor was also supposed to help the bride dress and prepare for the wedding (as she does now), as well as aiding her to make the bridal wreath. This wreath of aromatic herbs and flowers was another protection designed to keep away evil spirits.
The title, "maid of honor," may have come from the United Kingdom. It used to be the term for a female attendant of the queen. And perhaps now we know where the bridezilla complex may have come from! I suppose the bride is more or less the queen for a day.
The counterpart to the maid of honor, the best man, was originally a crucial part of the wedding as well. Back in the days when weddings weren't as easy to come by, the best man would help the groom travel to the (soon-to-be) bride's village and steal her away. The best man would then help to protect the groom against the bride's family!
As a final related tidbit, the presence of flower girls and ring bearers stems from the belief that having a child present as part of the wedding symbolized and helped ensure fertility.