What’s the Point of Bridesmaids?

bridesmaids

This Spring, I am continuing my Christ-Centered Wedding series by exposing long-held traditions of the modern wedding (of the western culture).

I hope to cover everything from the unity symbol to the wedding dress. I invite all brides aiming to be Christ-centered in their wedding planning to join me in this pursuit of “What’s the Point?”

Together, we will review the history and current meaning behind each aspect of a wedding. More importantly, we will discover how God’s Word redefines each tradition, expectation, and this-is-how-it’s-always-been-done.

Today, we will start with …

The Bridesmaids.

 

Even before you got engaged, you probably already picked out which friends and family members will be standing with you as you say “I do.” Still, this process probably involved a bit of stress. In my opinion, these are the top 5 issues with picking a bridesmaid:

  1. Anna asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, should I ask her for mine?
  2. I have 3 sisters, 3 soon-to-be sisters-in-law, 2 best friends, and only 4 bridesmaids spots!
  3. All of my friends are already married. Can I have 4 brides-matrons?
  4. I promised my best-friend in high-school that she would be my maid-of-honor, but we really aren’t close anymore!
  5. Marriage isn’t even on the radar for most of my friends; they kind of resent me for being the first one to get married. And my sisters are too young to plan parties and help me pick out honeymoon stuff.

For many brides, narrowing down (or broadening) the scope of ladies to be your bridesmaids is intimidating. Let’s rewind and ask the question of the day:

What’s the Point?

There are 2 historical accounts for bridesmaids that I have found particularly fascinating:

In the early Roman culture, a bride would choose women to accompany her on the journey to her future-husband’s home. These women acted as soldiers and protectors, keeping the bride (and the dowry her father sent with her), safe from harm on the road.

Later, brides began to choose women to stand with them at the altar to fool any supposed evil spirits from attacking the bride. All the women would wear the same dress to add to the confusion. The same would go for the groomsmen. (Source)

Currently, a bride and groom typically build their wedding party to obtain witnesses, recruit party planners, honor individuals, and add to the aesthetics of the ceremony. That and, “it’s what has always been done.”

Of course, bridesmaids can honor your wedding in all of these points. However, more importantly, the Christ-centered bride might like to redefine the tradition to include a deeper meaning.

What the Bible says:

Song of Solomon, the great love-story of the Bible, reminds us that girlfriends are very much a part of a woman’s marriage and intimacy:

The bride’s friends make several vocal appearances. They express their celebration of the bride and her marriage. (SOS 1:4) These women also offer support and accountability for her (SOS 2:15). They even show praise and encouragement to the groom (SOS 3:6-10)

Later, these women encourage the bride to be intimate with her husband (SOS 5:1, 9), and make a point to reunite the couple after they are separated (SOS 6:1).

Titus 2 emphasizes the importance of having mentor-women in our lives:

These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. (Titus 2:4-5)

Also, Proverbs 12:26 tells us that “The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.”

The point is:

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On your wedding day, you are making the one of the greatest decisions in your life (second only to your decision to follow Christ). The people you ask to stand up with you as you make that decision should be those who are willing to hold you accountable to it. Each women should stand with you not as a wedding decoration, but as a trustworthy pillar to hold you to your vows.

Instead of the above 5 frustrations, I encourage you to ask these questions as you choose your bridesmaids:

  1. Who is my accountability partner?

  2. Who is willing to help me process through, celebrate, and be Godly about the coming changes in my life?

  3. Who is a good example to me?

  4. Who is bold enough tell me that I need to repent and seek forgiveness?

  5. Who wont stop praying for my marriage, even 50 years down the road?

As a former bridesmaid for 6 different weddings, I have made a point to hold each bride accountable to her vows. I pray for their marriages regularly, and check in to see how things are going. I am probably a pesky bridesmaid, but I wont relent. Unfortunately, I have already seen 2 of these marriages dissipate. It breaks my heart, but strengthens my resolve to be vigilant in my role for the other 4 brides. (And I invite all 6 of my AMAZING bridesmaids to do the same for me).

This can actually be a very liberating process! It removes the cultural weight of “bridesmaid duties” and replaces it with a much more important, but lighter, responsibility. You don’t have to ask only women who are your age, and you are excused from having to match numbers of bridesmaids to groomsmen. (If you are OCD, disregard the last statement).

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My bestie, Andy, and I at my wedding, 2010. This picture represents 5+ years of awkward pictures.

You no longer have to appease everyone! A Christ-centered bride has 2 objectives:

  1. Honor God. 
  2. Honor your marriage. 

Then honor everyone else.

This can be crucial in many family circles. The role of bridesmaid can be a huge honor, even when a friend and family member isn’t up for the spiritual or marital accountability you need.

My suggestion?

Find that person that will serve you and your marriage in that important capacity. Name her your Maid/Matron of honor. Or give her a similar title, like “Mentor of honor.” If anything, it will get people asking questions about this new role in the wedding party, which will allow you to share your convictions of having a Biblical accountability. Who knows, maybe it will open the door to share the gospel with your wedding planner or guests!

After you have chosen this woman, fill the other spots with individuals you wish to honor as well. Spread out the “duties” for each bridesmaid (hosting showers, helping pick out the dress, etc.), but also feel free to delegate these roles to non-bridesmaids.

You may not want a cavalry of iron-clad ladies, marching at your side with protective gear; but you may want to consider an army of women, clothed in the armor of God, ready to do battle for your covenant marriage at the slightest attack.

Who will you choose for this task? More importantly, are they really up for it?

Campfire Check In:

What topic would you like to hear about for “What’s the Point?” in this wedding series? Comment below or send me a message and I will do my best to address it!

Coming soon: “What’s the Point of a Unity Ceremony? (And Some Really Fun Ideas)”

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  • This was fantastic! What a great perspective. It was so clear, concrete and biblical. If I ever marry, I’ll be certain to reference this entry of yours when making the (previously-greatly-feared-and-overwhelming) narrowing down decision of deciding bridesmaids. Thanks a bunch for this! Phenomenally written.