'Bridal Party'

grace3May 25, 2004

A comment in a previous post (regarding unmatched numbers for the bride's & groom's attendants) has brought this to mind...

The comment was that the poster's bridal party had numbered 5, with 10 groomsmen.

My question/comment is this:

I have always thought of the bridal party as being *all* the attendants, plus, possibly, the flower girls/ringbearers, and sometimes even the ushers. Calling just the bride's "side" the bridal party does make more sense, but I had always seen the entire group being referred to that way.

It doesn't really matter, but on the other hand, it can make for miscommunication. For example, when DD was married, I asked the groom's mother to prepare light snack trays of fruits, etc. for the "bridal party" to have available in the dressing rooms before the ceremony. (This was something that would help her to feel more involved in the preparations, and she has the gift of hospitatlity, so I knew that it would be a pretty and healthful assortment).

Anyway, she only prepared a tray for the women's dressing room. When my son (an usher) asked about the tray for the men's dressing room, we realized that there had been a miscommunication over my use of the term "bridal party". It wasn't anything disastrous, and was easily remedied with a phone call to a friend, but it was an interesting example of differing understandings of term usages.

Any thoughts or comments?

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I have always thought of it this way (but perhaps it is because of the language...):

Bridal Party = Bride's attendants
Grooms Attendants = ?? (never had a term for them...)
Wedding Party = Bridal Party + Groom's Attendants + Flower Girl/Ring Bearer (although some people place these in the "appropriate" Attendants category) + The Parents (depending upon how their role in the wedding is viewed...)

I did have the same confusion when writing our wedding newsletter. I read an example that I had found online and they used the term "Bridal Party" when requesting their presence at the Rehearsal. I started writing my newsletter and used Bridal Party and when rereading it said "Wait a minute! That's only 1 person!!" Hee... hee...

This difference is probably a "cultural" thing (i.e. depending on which state you are from and who your "circle" is...) but it certainly interesting! :-)


    Bookmark   May 25, 2004 at 7:34PM
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I agree that it is probably a regional thing. As a wedding coordinator, we tend to use the terms interchangably, but most often use the term "wedding party" to refer to bride's attendants, groom's attendants, and children. The parents are not usually included in the wedding party unless one of the parents is serving as best man/matron of honor.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2004 at 8:25PM
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We had this discussion at my job the other day. The dictionary we use, Merriam-Webster, is a very reputable dictionary, and their definition indicated that the "bridal party" CAN indeed include the guys, flower girls, and ring bearers. Basically, anyone who stand up in front w/ the bride at the time of the ceremony.

There's no actual definition for "bridal party," but the definition of "bridal" is: of or relating to a bride *or a wedding*.

I think most people rely on the context, and as you mention, sometimes that's not particularly clear.

We've decided to use the term "wedding party" and just avoid "bridal party" altogether.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 10:37AM
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I think its safer to just use "wedding party" when reffering to all the attendants. Makes things a lot less confusing.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 11:23AM
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Hmmm, that's funny. I've always used the terms "bridal party" and "wedding party" interchangeably. To me the words "bridal" (a marriage festival or ceremony - m-w.com) and "wedding" (to join in marriage - m-w.com) mean the same.

Andrea :o)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 2:34PM
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