It may be one of the most persistent wedding cultures ever – having the selected members of the bridal train, called the bridesmaids, sporting the same dress as they accompany the bride on her special day.
We have found however that it has not always been that way.
These days, a bride may choose short or long gowns in varying colors or even an occasional suit for her bridesmaids, but save for very few weddings, the tradition of having the bridesmaids wear the same dress, even with differing body shapes and types, has persisted.
Like the custom of the bride wearing white which had a traceable starting point, bridesmaids donning the same dress for the wedding also came about at a particular point in time and for what may be considered a sinister reason.
The tradition began around Ancient Roman times where the idea of a bridal party actually first came up and at the time, the bridesmaids would not only dress like each other, they would in essence, don what the bride was donning.
As a result, the altar would then be covered by near indistinguishable ladies; no one would or was meant to be able to tell the ladies apart, because surprise; they were meant to be decoys.
The bridesmaids were intended as decoys because weddings of those times had a lot more worries, that honestly make some of the stuff we worry about these days quite pale in comparison.
Any glad tidings at the time had the potential of attracting evil spirits and there was also the added factor of all the suitors whom the bride may have rejected prior to the wedding.
For this reason, the bridal couple needed to be kept safe from demons and angry, rejected men, so they dressed their friends in matching wedding attire.
They hoped that the coordinated dressing which basically made all of them look like brides would confuse the eerie forces and angry men long enough for the couple to get out their vows.
By the close of the Victorian era, these threats had greatly reduced and so the brides felt more comfortable to relax this protocol and begin to dress more flamboyantly than the bridal parties and then of course, along came the tradition of donning white dresses later on.
Although the culture may have left the original reason far behind, the uniform for bridesmaids has stuck around and modern reasons may simply be; an acceptance of bridesmaids wearing the same dress as a well-heeled tradition or even just because it makes for really awesome wedding pictures.