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Bridesmaid Names: Pippa and beyond

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The Royal Wedding has inspired Appellation Mountain’s Abby Sandel to look at bridesmaid names of the past as well as the present.

Wedding season is upon us. On Friday, Kate and William got things started with a bang, commanding a global audience in the billions. The number of journalists reporting on the nuptials far exceeded the number of notables inside Westminster Abbey, and every tiny detail was dissected – from the guest list to the guests’ hats.

Later in May, Judd Apatow’s latest flick, Bridesmaids, puts a very different spin on tying the knot. Saturday Night Live‘s Kristen Wiig co-wrote the script and stars as beleaguered maid of honor Annie. Wiig joins countless women who have donned bridesmaid dresses on the silver screen, but the flick promises to be unusual. Very few movies have put the tafetta-clad supporting players front and center.

It turns out that bridesmaids’ names are tricky to track down. Even the most high profile weddings list attendants as something of an afterthought. Edith Wharton‘s Age of Innocence mentions Newland Archer and May Welland’s eight bridesmaids more than once, but we hear more about their bouquets than their identities. In Father of the Bride, the quartet of lovely young women surrounding Elizabeth Taylor‘s Kay are equally nameless.

Dig a little deeper, and stylish options can be found among those supporting players. From high profile real life weddings to movie marriages, here are a few stand-outs.

Bettina – One of the legendary Grace Kelly‘s bridesmaids

Clementine - A tiny attendant in the 1981 wedding of Lady Diana Spencer to Prince Charles

Eliza – The youngest of William and Kate‘s bridal party

Helen – Another member of the party in 2011′s Bridesmaids, along with the more
predictable Becca and Megan

JaneKatherine Heigl’s always-a-bridesmaid character in 2008′s 27 Dresses

JanetJackie‘s half-sister shared a name with their mom, Janet Auchincloss, and served as flower girl when Jackie married John F. Kennedy

Judith - Another member of Grace Kelly‘s wedding party, Judith Quine later wrote a detailed account of the lives of all six of Kelly‘s bridesmaids

Harlow – When mom married dad, Harlow Winter Kate Madden was the flower girl. Nicole Richie‘s BFF Masha served as maid of honor

IndiaIndia Hicks’ first appearance in the spotlight was at the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana, but she remains in the spotlight as a television host

Louise – Lady Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary, Prince Edward‘s daughter and William‘s cousin, was among the bridal party for last Friday’s festivities

Lydia - In 1994′s Four Weddings and a Funeral, she graduated from bridesmaid in wedding #1 to bride in the second ceremony

Margarita – One of William and Kate‘s attendants, granddaughter to William‘s great-aunt, the late Princess Margaret

Martha – One of ten bridesmaids to future First Lady Jaqueline Bouvier

Minnie - P.T. Barnum orchestrated the 1863 wedding of Lavinia Warren and General Tom Thumb. The bride and groom, both little people, achieved international celebrity performing in Barnum‘s entertainments. Lavinia‘s shorter sister Minnie – born Huldah – was maid of honor.

Pippa – Younger sis to the Duchess of Cambridge, Philippa Charlotte Middleton made a radiant maid of honor and could boost her name’s popularity

Rita – Worn by the glamorous Rita Gam, the most famous member of Grace Kelly‘s entourage, and also by a bridesmaid in the upcoming 2011 film

Stella – For her wedding to Guy Ritchie, Madonna wore a dress designed by her maid of honor, Stella McCartney

Victoria – Proof that Posh Spice has a healthy sense of humor, she guest starred as an attention-stealing maid of honor to Ugly Betty‘s Wilhelmina in 2007

There are some great options, but my favorite bridal party name comes from real life. When my friend Nicole tied the knot in New Orleans in 2010, her flower girl was the appropriately named Arbor.

Have you spotted any great names amongst bridal party members, famous or otherwise?

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