The tradition that explains why bridesmaids have to wear the same dresses is a little horrifying
There are all sorts of traditions surrounding a wedding that we probably don’t understand. What the heck is a matron of honor? Why does a cute little kid need to deliver the wedding rings? What is with the rice? Yes, there are probably answers for all of these questions that make perfect sense. If you’ve been married, you probably know them off the top of your head. But don’t mind those of us who’ve never had or wanted a wedding steeped in tradition as we sit back and think, “Why do people do all of this?”
The most unfortunate wedding guest is the bridesmaid: this is common knowledge, right? You may have thought wistfully about the role when you were younger, before you actually became one. Once you were forced to spend hundreds of dollars on a dress you’ll never wear again, matching shoes, and complimentary accessories — your opinion of the role probably changed to, “This kinda sucks. And it’s super expensive.”
The bridesmaid dress. Apparently, we are finally getting to a point where brides actually choose a style that can be worn again, but I assure you this was not the case for the six weddings I was in. Yes, they were nice in theory — but does anyone really wear taffeta again? The answer is “No.” No, they don’t.
There’s actually a historical explanation why bridesmaids all have to wear similar looking dresses — and it’s a little horrifying. “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,” explains The Dessy Group. “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.” So essentially, it was the job of the bridal party to possibly intercept curses meant for the bride and groom and distract demons long enough for the couple to get their vows on.
See? The wedding party has always been kind of screwed.