i didn't want to read and run. wow - that is quite some drama! if you want to keep the friendship, i would brush this under the carpet. i think you are reasonable to be upset by her actions, but i imagine discussing this now will just make it worse!
going back to the main question, you can have as many bridesmaids as you like! however, this best friend of yours sounds like she could potentially cause you more stress and hassle than you would like. of course, you could show you are upset by how she's treated you by not making her bridesmaid (if you are feeling brave!). obviously, you know her best, but six bridesmaids is quite an undertaking in itself - do you think she will play ball with your choices or is she likely to go into 'princess' mode?
in terms of whether (if you did have all six) the bridesmaids should pay for their dresses, again, that is for you to weigh up. i'm sure you are an 'experienced' enough bridesmaid to know how it all works, but six will be a lot to keep happy - if you expect them to pay, you have to give them some sort of ownership over what they choose. how likely are all girls going to agree on a style/colour you are happy with?
to put something else out there, how would you feel if you had no bridesmaids? i think you're in a better position than most brides struggling with this. i assume your little ones are having a key role in the wedding? you could easily argue that your children are forming your side of the 'bridal' party if you're worried about disappointing anyone. remember that just because you were a bridesmaid, you don't have to repay the favour!
hope you get it sorted! i'm sure you feel better now you have written this all down
I would say that if you're 18 months to 2 years away from the wedding date, that you don't need to and perhaps should not make a final decision on bridesmaids just yet. It's nice on the wedding day to have someone looking out for you and doing certain things, but if it's a small wedding you may not need that. Don't pick the 4 bridemaids just because you were BM at their weddings... it doesn't have to be reciprocal.
Regarding your princessy friend, I'm probably going to sound harsh but you were asked to be her bridesmaid and not her slave. If she wanted you to help with table plans, and decorate the church etc, she needed to open her mouth, use her words, and ask you for this help (which is a huge amount to ask for) - and not pitch a fit because you couldn't read her mind. [Perhaps it was just a bridezilla moment though]Do you think you will gain anything by having it out with her about this?
Sounds like she's still in the honeymoon phase and hopefully will remember your engagement soon. Drop it into conversation and see what her reaction is.
Hope it all works out!
Yes defo, don't make a hastey decision. Just tell people you don't need to make a decision yet but will do in the future. Personally, I had one bridesmaid to share the fun of planning/ dress trying on and fittings, trials, help on the day etc. and I'm so glad I did- she's my best mate and I loved having her by my side. Plus, she's like the sister I never had, I knew she wouldn't let me down- an essential quality in a bridesmaid!
I did feel I needed the help of one friend in the planning stages and on the day, but no need for more- apart from the added expense of more dresses/ accessories to buy if you have multiple bridesmaid, the help of one friend was enough (but then, I had a small wedding, did minimal DIY, and my groom was hands on with planning). Pick one person who won't let you down and save yourself a ton of money and hassle in my opinion. There's no need for lots of BMs xxx
I would say definitely don't rush into anything - you might want to see how your friendship plays out! But do remember that you can get friends involved even they are not BMs!