Brides of old didn’t just have their special ladies to rely on, they were treated to an entire entourage of young men who were there to guard their honour (and the bridal dowry), prior to the union being formalised.
Traditionally families, particularly the bride’s family, brought a fortune to the wedding as the ‘bride price’, but the crown jewel was, without a doubt, the guaranteed virginity of the main lady herself. And in times of old, a bride travelling with her retinue was in great danger of being abducted by outlaws and bandits, who wouldn’t hesitate to ruin a wealthy groom’s right of first night.
That’s where the groomsmen came into play – often knights, or at least armed young men – they would protect the bride and her various bounties from the moment she departed her father’s home, until she reached her future husband’s.
In ancient times, groomsmen would fulfil a double function of confusing evil spirits by dressing similarly to the groom, thus preventing the groom from evil curses.
The best man was originally one of the groomsmen who would remain with the bride as her protector right up until the union was sealed. Over time, probably as a result of some inappropriate feeling developing, the groomsmen moved over to the groom’s side and their role change to that of helping the groom celebrate the end of his single days with (often wild) ceremony.
We say this is one tradition to bring back – imagine having a group of young protectors at your beck and call, treating you like the precious jewel that you are (while your intended has no one and no reason to go party like rock star!). Hmmmm, sounds great!
Keep calm & get married