The Sweet Christian Bride

The Benefits of a Bridal Party

by admin on September 18, 2012 in Bridal Party, Purpose with No Comments

There are many historical traditions for why we have a bridal party, my favorite being that the best man came about as a “back-up” in case the groom was not able to follow through with marrying the bride.  That way the bride would not be “widowed” but rather would be wed to the next best guy.  The same was said about the maid of honor.  Apparently they were supposed to look like the bride and groom so the shock of the trade (heaven forbid) would be minimal.

In our day and culture, bridal parties are rooted in practicality and symbolism.  With our wedding industry growing wildly, our weddings are no longer just a big meal in the bride’s home.  Instead we take months and even years to plan them.  Without help, that can be incredibly overwhelming.  Bridal parties are prime victims (no, just kidding)—aides—who can help with the wedding logistics.

I definitely leaned on my bridesmaids for logistical support because my wedding date corresponded with the graduation date of the high school where I was teaching.  I had very little time on my own to plan, so I delegated.

Tatiana created my invitations and helped me with my gift to Chris.  Kelly made all the necklaces that I gave my bridesmaids, and she planned my bachelorette party.  Tricia researched the spas in each bridesmaid’s local town so I could order gift certificates for them as thank you gifts.  Julie went to those local locations and physically picked up certificates for me.  Britta planned my lingerie shower.  Kelly, Britta, and Kristi all helped me find and try on bridesmaid dresses.  And Sarah and Kristi intentionally prayed for me.

While you should be sensitive to the time, money, and energy that each person in your bridal party has to offer, you can certainly lean on this group of friends who has committed to being alongside you in your wedding and marriage.

Symbolically speaking, the engagement is a bride’s last time as a single woman.  Asking someone to be in your bridal party is a display of gratitude for his or her support and friendship in your single life.  It’s also a sign of adjusted commitment.  Having your best friends alongside you as you commit your life to your husband is a way of re-prioritizing your relationships: husband first, friends second.  When you ask a friend to be a bridesmaid, you are asking her to support you in upholding your marriage.  That means your bridesmaids need to be ready to adjust their friendships with you so that your marriage will flourish.

Is it okay for girls to have guys in their bridal party and vice-versa?  Sure.  But it’s even better if your guy friend can befriend your fiancé and stand in his bridal party since your friendship with that friend will naturally become second to your marriage (but that’s a whole other post).  Usually, guys in a bridal party do less practically to help with the wedding than girls do, so having a guy in your bridal party is largely just a symbolic gesture that says you value your relationship with him and will continue to commit to it.  Since that is a significant symbolic statement, make sure your fiancé is comfortable with your placing so much honor on another man.  If he’s not, it’s not worth it to have a guy in your bridal party.

Whether you have guys or girls in your bridal party, you are building a team of people who will fight for your marriage.  None of you will have a complete picture of what that means down the road, but in looking at marriages around you, you can catch glimpses.

I have seen a very clear picture of this support that has helped me to better understand the significance of choosing who will be in a bridal party.

A friend of mine was a bridesmaid in the wedding of a girl we will call Sally.   A couple of years into marriage, Sally began letting go of her desire for Christ.  Other “truths” took root in her heart, and with that came a dying desire for her marriage.  My friend and the other bridesmaids in Sally’s wedding got together every week and interceded for Sally’s marriage.  They had tough conversations with Sally about marriage and about Christ.  They fought for her marriage even when she couldn’t because that’s what they had committed to do when they said yes to being her bridesmaids.

Beyond the benefit of having a crew to help with logistics, having a bridal party can be an integral strand of your marriage’s life-line.  These are people whom you trust and love who are committing to you and your marriage!

Photo © John Yao, SimplyTwo Photography, featuring Carmen and David’s wedding

Article originally posted on December 10, 2010

By Lindsay

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