Why do brides have a maid of honor and bridesmaids? Many years ago in Saxon England, bridesmaids attended to the bride for several days before the wedding ceremony. They were responsible for decorating the table for the wedding feast and dressing the bride on her wedding day. The most senior of the group was primarily responsible for these duties and would be comparable to today's maid of honor or matron of honor.
Superstition also played a part in the need for bridesmaids. Many believed that evil spirits would try to wreck any wedding; cursing the wedding couple in the process. To confuse the evil spirits and keep them from wrecking the wedding, bridesmaids wore gowns identical to the bride. By dressing like the bride, the evil spirits wouldn’t be able to determine who the bride was and therefore could not wreck the wedding.
Today brides don't fear evil spirits and prefer to have bridesmaids for other reasons. In fact, some brides choose "bridesmaids" that are not female. The function of bridesmaids today is more honorary and ceremonial. However bridesmaids participate in gown selection, host bridal showers and bachelorette parties. Just as in the past, bridesmaids act as emotional support and see to it that the bride's special day goes smoothly. Many brides show their appreciation by giving special personalized bridesmaids gifts.