Bridal parties have been en vogue for quite some time. According to Bustle's Marissa Higgins, Roman weddings needed 10 witnesses in order to be legally binding. Higgins adds:
Furthermore, the bridesmaids all had to dress just like the bride in order to confuse vengeful spirit presences who might try to harm or sabotage the newlyweds. Nothing says "Congratulations!" like acting as a decoy for evil things attempting to possess your bestie on her wedding day.
The tradition of having a handful of your "closest" friends is more complicated than it used to be. As more couples get married well into their thirties and forties, choosing a group of close friends becomes more difficult. At that point, you’ve opened and closed many different chapters of life, each with its own friendships.
To look back and choose friends from the present and the past is a difficult puzzle for any bride to solve, leaving some to go without bridesmaids at all. As Vogue's Lindsay Tigar puts it:
But as more millennial women not only delay marriage but also challenge the conventional guidelines set decades—and even centuries—ago, does it now seem outdated to have a flock of women in matching dresses lead you to the altar?
Some brides can't imagine their wedding day without a group of their best friends by their side. There are the people in your life who stay with you, and even if you no longer see them every day, a wedding ceremony is the perfect time to bring everyone back together to celebrate.
These are the people in your life who have seen you at your best and at your worst, hopefully, just like the fiancé you will be marrying. Having these friends by your side is both special and symbolic–their support cannot be replaced.
Not only does choosing bridesmaids cause undue stress on you and all of your friends (whether they're chosen or not), but it is also incredibly expensive for the friends you do choose. Between a bachelorette party, a dress, makeup, hair, shoes, gifts for the wedding and any transportation costs to the many forms celebratory venues, bridesmaids could incur hundreds of dollars worth of expenses–all for the sake of tradition.
Furthermore, why put your friends in the box of what bridesmaids are “supposed” to do? Suddenly, your maid of honor is an event planner, your friends are universally interested in dresses and the many shades of blue fabric, and your closest friends happen to be entirely women–these just aren't reasonable expectations. Your friends might have a better time at your wedding without the labels.
While some brides might be breaking with tradition, others are leaning into it. Bachelorette parties, in particular, have turned into excuses for close friends to take a vacation together.
A bridal party is about more than having witnesses at your wedding, it's about choosing those people special to your life and to your relationship. Every event prior to the wedding with your bridal party is just as much a celebration of the close friendships you've had in the past as it is a celebration of the relationship you're choosing for your future.