Bridesmaids duties have changed a lot over the years. Not many brides now have the traditional long veil or full long dress with train, so the bridesmaid does not usually have to assist the bride very much to arrange her dress or help with carrying the dress up steps or even carrying the long train down the aisle. Actually with so many secular weddings now the bridesmaids usually walk in first and the bride and her father are the last to make their big entrance. Religious weddings usually stick to the old custom of the bride and her father walking in first and the bridesmaids following and they then face the minister with their back to the congregation. I think I prefer the way civil ceremonies are conducted because it is lovely to see the faces of the bride and groom during the ceremony. However the bridesmaids do not have a lot to do during the ceremony except to look pretty and maybe hold the bride’s bouquet during the vows and ring exchange. In fact anything goes these days during civil ceremonies and we sometimes have bride’s boys or groom’s girls or a mix of both! It gets very crowded up the front if there is a large bridal party for example 4 or five bridesmaids 5 groomsmen and then throw in a few flower girls and page boys as well and the celebrant!