4

I was reading Lafcadio Hearn's New Orleans Superstitions, when I came upon this proverb:

There are many superstitions about marriage, which seem to have a European origin, but are not less interesting on that account. "Twice a bridesmaid, never a bride," is a proverb which needs no comment.

Is there a vodun, voodoo or even European story behind the superstition?

  • 1
    FWIW, in the English oral tradition I have only ever heard "three times a bridesmaid, never a bride", never twice. – user1618 Jun 2 '16 at 20:48
6

From what I gather, the origin is uncertain, but it seems common sense that "if association with a bride and the high profile of the day did not attract a husband after two opportunities, then perhaps there was little hope" (Marriage Customs of the World 98).

In terms of pinpointing the locale of the superstition, I believe that the modern use of bridesmaids -- in the sense that they appear alongside the bride at the time of wedding -- stems perhaps from Biblical origins, at least if you believe Wikipedia, and so it makes sense that this superstition would crop up in Europe.

Further research is needed.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    +1 for sources, and for "further research is needed" :) – user62 Jan 25 '16 at 22:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.