The Creepy Reason Bridesmaids Wear the Same Dress

There are a million traditions in almost every wedding you’ll ever attend — the bride wearing white, the bouquet toss, the bride’s father giving her away, the exchange of the rings, the first dance. You name a typical wedding event, and we guarantee it’s a tradition that goes back decades if not centuries.

But few wedding rituals are as surprising as this seemingly harmless tradition. In fact, the truth behind this tradition is just downright creepy.

Typically, you’ll see the train of bridesmaids following the bride, usually all wearing the same dress. In recent years, mixing it up with style and even color within the bridal party has become popular, but everyone wearing a uniform dresses is the traditional way that the bride would dress her party.

Bridesmaids all wearing pink dresses.Flickr
For anyone who’s ever been a bridesmaid, you know that this process is a royal pain in the neck. Trying to find a dress that suits everyone’s body type, skin tone, and personal style is next to impossible. Many brides even take the opportunity to put their maids in something hideous, just to keep the spotlight on themselves.

All in all, bridesmaid dresses have become a bit of a loathed and cliche idea.

However, this tradition wasn’t always like this. Matching dressing weren’t always a way for the bride to embarrass her maids, the dresses were to cause confusion.

The concept of bridesmaids came to be in ancient Roman times and their purpose wasn’t just to help the bride get into her dress; they were decoys. Back in the day, bridesmaids wouldn’t just match each other, they would also match the bride.

Something that might be considered tacky today was crucial in these ancient times.

People didn't smile in old photos because of long exposure timeVox
You see, the Romans believed that any happy occasion had the potential to attract evil spirits to the merriment — not to mention all the would-be grooms the bride had turned away before she chose her husband. So to keep the engaged couple safe from demons and angry ex-boyfriends (something some modern brides could actually still use), their friends dressed in matching wedding attire.

The theory was that the group of similarly dressed brides would confuse anyone with ill-will long enough for the happy couple to get through their vows. Once the vows were over and done with, the evil spirits and rejected men would leave, since they had failed to stop the happy marriage.

The threat of demonic wedding crashers petered out by the Victorian era, when brides began to dress more elaborately than their maids. Unfortunately for some modern bridesmaids, the superstitious uniform stuck, and the idea of matching bridesmaids lives on.

Matching bridal party.Bel Fiore Weddings
Strangely enough, this isn’t the only bridal custom with a history dating back to the Romans. Bachelor parties, for instance, traditionally started with a feast to commend the groom-to-be and ended with the groomsmen kidnapping the future bride. Huh.

In fact, this is the entire original purpose of groomsmen! They were originally called bride-knights and their job was to provide backup for their friend as he stole his bride from her angry relatives. Some cultures still perform this kidnapping, even if it’s simply ceremonial.

What do you think about the strange origin of the bridal party? Share your thoughts, and other weird wedding traditions you know of, in the comments section below.