It's official: 2010 will be the year I walk down the aisle. OK, strictly speaking, it will be the year I walk down the aisle 10 paces in front of my best friend, who is the one getting married. I'm not just a common-or-garden bridesmaid, though. Oh no. I am chief bridesmaid (surely that should be capitalised?) and quite frankly it's turning out to be more fun than I had expected.
I'll admit, after the initial excitement about being told I was chief anything had worn off, I had reservations. Not least because the news was met with a mixture of sympathy and horror from some ("But aren't bridesmaids supposed to be pretty little girls?") and amusement from others, including my father, who laughed slyly and trotted out the "always the bridesmaid" adage. Very droll.
But the key to an enjoyable bridesmaid experience lies in finding the right bride, and I have struck gold with my best friend, who is innately easy-going and, for unclear reasons, credits me with sense and taste. This means that while she has to do all the worrying about boring real-bride nitty-gritty such as balancing budgets and not getting jilted, I wield a disproportionate amount of influence over the creative direction. No unflattering pouffy peach bridesmaid's frock for me; I've been secretly building the entire colour scheme around my own complexion.
But there is an altruistic motive in here somewhere, I promise. Some people – you know, old, sentimentalists – might argue that a wedding is not really about co-ordinating place settings or wedding favours or a 4ft-high cake. And they would be right. Which is why every bride needs to be prevented from wasting her time and turning into a bridezilla by a bridesmaidzilla such as myself.
And so, as I arrive brandishing another colour chart or mood board and witness the look of abject horror in my friend's fiancé's eyes, I feel a small sense of satisfaction. Just as bridesmaids were traditionally drafted in to confuse evil spirits about who the real bride was, the most useful role I can play is to try to make sure that my friend gets all the nice-but-frivolous stuff she wants without having to ever look like she's the one who cares.
Of course, the snag with trying to plan the perfect wedding for someone else is that should I ever have a wedding of my own I'll have played all my best cards. Though that's probably not something I'll have to worry about too much once word gets around that I created an algorithm to determine the seating plan. Still, I think I'll withhold that corking suggestion I had for wedding favours anyway. You know, just in case.