The bridesmaids are members of the bride's party in a wedding. A bridesmaid is typically a young woman, and often a close friend or relative. She attends to the bride on the day of a wedding or marriage ceremony. Traditionally, bridesmaids were chosen from unwed young women of marriageable age. The principal bridesmaid, if one is so designated, may be called the chief bridesmaid or maid of honor if she is unmarried, or the matron of honor if she is married. A junior bridesmaid is a girl who is clearly too young to be married, but who is included as an honorary bridesmaid. In the United States, typically only the maid/matron of honor and the best man are the official witnesses for the wedding license. Often there is more than one bridesmaid: in modern times the bride chooses how many to ask. Historically, no person of status went out unattended, and the size of the retinue was closely calculated to be appropriate to the family's social status. A large group of bridesmaids provided an opportunity for showing off the family's social status and wealth.
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