Bridesmaid Names: Pippa and beyond

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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13 Responses to “Bridesmaid Names: Pippa and beyond”

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Olive Says:

May 2nd, 2011 at 7:47 am

Lady Louise Windsor is such a sweetie, but I’m really not a fan of Louise. I love Stella, India and Margarita though.

I definitely agree Pippa/Philippa could rise in popularity, which is a shame, because I adore Philippa.

Elisabeth Says:

May 2nd, 2011 at 11:15 am

this has nothing to do with Royal weddings… but when are you guys going to post the most popular baby names for 2010?

katybug Says:

May 2nd, 2011 at 11:22 am

I think the Social Security Administration publishes them on Mother’s Day each year. So less than a week to go!

katybug Says:

May 2nd, 2011 at 11:22 am

I think the Social Security Administration publishes them on Mother’s Day each year. So less than a week to go!

Nicole Says:

May 2nd, 2011 at 11:44 am

Love this list..

Bettina has been often considered in my household, I first heard it on a Muppet Christmas carol, she is one of bob cratchits daughters.

I too think Pippa is sky rocketing.. I love P names and love Pippa, but I really dont like Phillipa. Wonder if it is gonna translate over to the US as just Pippa rather than Phillipa

I have always loved Lydia

Macy Says:

May 2nd, 2011 at 11:45 am

Philippa is a lot better than Pippa, and its the proper name. Why isn’t that on the list instead of the nickname?

Abby@AppMtn Says:

May 2nd, 2011 at 12:11 pm

It’s a fair question, Macy. I went with it for two reasons: first, I think Pippa stands to get the bigger boost from all of the wedding exposure, and that’s why she’s here instead of Philippa.

But second, Rita and Bettina also started out as diminutive forms, and Minnie is definitely a nickname.

Still, Philippa Charlotte is lovely – far more interesting, IMHO, than the regal but still ordinary Catherine Elizabeth.

Brandie Says:

May 2nd, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I actually like Pippa a lot better my self. It is more normal for us Americans than Philippa is. Besides a lot of people prefer to go by their nicknames just look at Busy Philips she never goes by Elizabeth.

Nic Says:

May 3rd, 2011 at 8:35 am

I am quite upset by all the fuss re Pippa Middleton post-wedding. She has been a society girl for years and made no impact on the use of Philippa here in the UK but suddenly everyone wants a piece of her and I fear my absolute favourite girl name Philippa (though mostly using nn Pippa) may jump in popularity. We’re in the UK and maybe a year or two away from starting our family so crossing my fingers that the name doesn’t sky-rocket!

linzybindi Says:

May 3rd, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I actually fell in love with the name Philippa from the movie “Inception”. In the movie that was the name of Leo’s daughter. They never referred to her as Pippa but after researching Philippa I realized Pippa would be an appropriate nickname for this beautiful gem.

However, I still prefer Philippa to Pippa but it has some nice spunk!

Abby Says:

May 8th, 2011 at 9:59 am

Oh, Nic – sorry ’bout that. It’s hard to say what will happen, isn’t it? My son’s name is a family staple, and I’ll admit that I don’t love the idea that others picked it just because they liked it or found it stylish.

Linzybindi, thanks for the Inception mention. Still haven’t seen it … how can this be?

Sunday Summary: 5/8/11 | Appellation Mountain Says:

May 8th, 2011 at 10:03 am

[…] week’s Nameberry post was Bridesmaid Names; tomorrow’s Nameberry post heads to the baby boutique for […]

Aviara Says:

October 5th, 2011 at 1:58 am

Four Seasons…

[…]Bridesmaid Names: Pippa and beyond – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry[…]…

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