I have way too many people on my "bridesmaid" list. I put that in parentheses because I don't intend to have a row of 30-40 year old women standing next to me in matching dresses, some with breast milk leaking down the front.
After being in three or four weddings in my 20s, I quickly realized that being a bridesmaid wasn't all that. The dresses I'd worn were moved from apartment to apartment before I finally gave them away. They were $200 dresses! That I wore once! I can't just give them away without at least letting them collect dust for a year or three. Two of my friends let me wear my own dress when I stood up for them. My love for them grew a little deeper at those moments. I don't want to wear a dress my friend picked out - no matter how good her taste. One friend had beautiful Vera Wang dresses. They looked gorgeous. Did anyone wear it again? Not unless they went to a bridesmaid revisited party. I've heard it all: you can wear it again if you cut it off. Everybody looks good in pink. This style flatters everyone. Seriously? Does anyone truly believe any of that anymore? I don't care if the dress is Vera Wang or David's Bridal. Outside of the wedding, the shit is ugly. There is no way in hell I am ever putting it on again.
After years of bitching, my friends now just say, "I'd really love you to be a bridesmaid but I know you hate it so will you do a reading?" This has backfired on me. Even though I was originally taped as a bridesmaid, I signed up as a reader. Readers aren't included in as many things as bridesmaids, and ignorant guests assume that readers aren't as important as the crew in the matching dresses. This hurts the ego a little bit - especially since readers aren't included in all the pictures. I like to think of myself as a professional reader, and professionals understand this. Professionals also get to the bar faster than the matching dress crew.
I decided long ago that when I got married I wouldn't have bridesmaids. I wouldn't be hypocritical enough to subject my friends to a tradition that I despise. But, as I move along in my planning, all I can think is that I want my girls with me when I am getting ready. I want to laugh with the women who have supported me through bad relationships and the beginning of this one. These women are important to me. We stuck together when we didn't have dates for New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day, when we were unemployed and confused about life. These women are people I have fun with no matter what we do. These women keep me sane.
I'm working on a plan to include my "bridesmaid posse" in the ceremony. I don't think it is realistic to have twelve readers, but no matter what, they are be with me and are going to look hot in their very own dress of their very own choice.