Origins: Originally, bridesmaids and groomsmen were charged not only with helping prepare the about-to-be-married for their momentous day, but also protecting them from those trying to snatch the bride or avenge her honor. Modern times have seen a drop off in the protective aspect of the job, but few who have served as maid of honor at a recent wedding wouldn't in retrospect happily trade having to brandish a sword for her current onerous duties.
Most bridesmaid superstitions seem centered on the question of her matrimonial prospects. One who trips on her way up the aisle is said to be fated to remain a spinster. However, if a bridesmaid catches the thrown bouquet, or finds the first pin on the bride while preparing her for bed, she will be the next to wed.
Three times a bridesmaid, says superstition, and a girl will never be wed. She can break this charm, however, if she goes on to serve in such a capacity seven times.
Matrons of honor (married bridesmaids, in other words) are deemed especially lucky for the bride because they represent the benefits of married life. (They are also less likely to end up in bed with the groom, but that's another urban legend.)
Barbara "made of honor" Mikkelson
Last updated: 27 June 2005
Hole, Christina. The Encyclopedia of Superstitions. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1996. ISBN 0-76070-228-4. Opie, Iona and Moira Tatem. A Dictionary of Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-19-282-916-5. Pickering, David. Dictionary of Superstitions. London: Cassell, 1995. ISBN 0-304-345350. Tuleja, Tad. Curious Customs. New York: Harmony Books, 1987. ISBN 0-517-56654-0.