Chinese weddings may soon have actresses portray bridesmaids – as being a bridesmaid is often too risky a role for loved one to play.
Contemporary Chinese weddings may typically involve ‘bedroom stunts’ – whereby sexual and reproductive innuendos are made towards the bridesmaids. This legacy is based upon the traditional role of a bridesmaid in the feudal era, where brides were susceptible to kidnapping at weddings ad bridesmaids dressed up like the bride to act as a decoy. Now, bridesmaids have a more symbolic role but still stand between the bride and her guests and are often subject to crude attacks as a result.
One of the more dangerous traditions is that of bridesmaids drinking on behalf of the bride, and brides following the tradition that they must toast bottoms up to every wedding guest on an individual basis. Bridesmaids therefore often suffer alcohol poisoning and risk death.
To avoid this, many wedding-planning firms offer professional bridesmaids as many Chinese women may choose to be a bridesmaid only reluctantly. HSPS applicants should consider what the professionalization of this role means for the integrity of the wedding ceremony, and whether buying emotional labour is in-keeping with the purpose of a bridesmaid.