Bridesmaid Dress Alternatives That Scream, “I’m Not on a Gender Journey, I’m on a Journey Through Space and Time”

When Alex’s sister Hannah asked Alex to be a bridesmaid for her wedding, Alex made one thing clear: they would not be wearing a dress. When Hannah pushed, reminding Alex that every other bridesmaid would be wearing a $725 dusty rose a-line dress with a pleated chiffon v-neck collar, Alex reminded Hannah that they would in fact absolutely not be wearing a $725 dusty rose a-line dress with a pleated chiffon v-neck collar but were happy to go extremely out of their way to purchase a $1,595 dusty rose suit or else opt out of bridal party participation. That’s when Alex’s Stepdad Gary stepped in, calling Alex directly for the first time in his life on an otherwise pleasant day to inform Alex that their mother was absolutely distraught by this conflict and that Alex was, single-handedly, tearing the family apart with their “gender journey or whatever.”

“After Gary called, my first thought was, fuck Gary but also, fuck these people, I’m not dropping my life savings at the queer suit tailor everyone goes to in order to participate in this archaic tradition,” Alex told Autostraddle. “But then I opened my mind and realized, you know what, I don’t think Gary would kick Joan of Arc out of the wedding if she showed up in something besides the Bridesmaid Dress.”

Ayden had the same thought when her terrible stepdad (somehow also named Gary) refused to accept Ayden’s offer to wear slacks and a nice silk shirt rather than a Satin Crisscross Bodice Ball Gown Bridesmaid Dress to her sister’s wedding, insisting that doing so would send Ayden’s grandmother to an early grave. “My grandmother’s health is actually pretty robust,” Ayden mused to Autostraddle.

It’s incredibly frustrating as queer, trans and/or gender non-conforming people to have to edit ourselves to make other people comfortable. Luckily we talked to multiple people in that situation who found a way to stay true to themselves by dressing in a way that subtly suggested they were not in fact on a gender journey, but simply on a journey through space and time.

1. Joan of Arc

Nothing screams “I am the obedient daughter” than showing up as the patron Saint of France described by wikipeida as “an obedient daughter of the Roman Catholic Church.” Olivia reported that this get-up went over incredibly well at her sister’s wedding after a tense lead-up to the celebration. More importantly, the groom did pull Olivia aside to note, “listen I know my wife was being a bridezilla but just so you know, dude-to-dude, I was totally chill with you wearing a suit. You didn’t need to put on all of this chain mail just for us. Be yourself, man!”

2. Astronaut

group of female astronauts

Peyton chose to lean into the “space” part of the journey for their sister Kylee’s wedding. Bonus: their ‘fit was super comfy and got heaps of compliments from younger kids, and their Aunt Clara yelled “Support women in STEM!” when Peyton arrived. But to Peyton, the most important complement of all came from Kylee, who, completely hammered, pulled Peyton aside and confessed, “I wanted you to wear a suit!!! I even told Mom you know what, Peytons gonna wear a suit and that’s all there is toit!!! But she was soooooooo upset and soooooo extra about how you were gonna ruin the pictures that I was like ookeeeeeee whatever you want MOM I guess it’s not really MY WEDDING is it, it’s yours?? Anyhow soooo sorry for throwing you under the bus like your personhood was less important than mine, you look great in space!”

3. Marlene Dietrich

marlene dietrich in a top hat

With her grandparents at top of mind, Ayden arrived at her sister’s wedding in the a top hat and suit, claiming to have just arrived from Berlin to pursue stardom in the United States. “What’s weird is that my grandma was like, I knew you’d be wearing a suit!” Ayden remembered. “She really was going on about it, about how great I looked in suits and how proud she was of me for coming out and how comfortable and confident I seemed with myself, and how much she loved my girlfriend. Anyhow so I guess I learned German for no reason, but I think i can re-use the top hat to be Mr. Peanut at Halloween.”

4. Newsie

still of newsies in the movie newsies, holding up their papers

“Never fear, Brooklyn is here!” Riley said on the phone to Autostraddle, having chosen to present as a Newsie full-time following their debut as a Newsie from 1899 at their sister’s wedding. “Honestly, I wish I’d thought of this sooner,” Riley explained. “Everybody instantly understood why a fella like me would need to wear knickers and a cap to a wedding. You can’t be just delverin’ papes in a skirt! If I don’t sell papes, then nobody sells papes!!!” Riley said they spent the evening hashing out the details of the newspaper delivery strike with their Dad, and they “totally saw eye-to-eye” about the importance of labor unions.

5. Small Victorian Child

small victorian child
National Library of Wales

If there’s one thing nobody wants to mess with these days, it’s a Small Victorian Child who just took heroin to cure a cold. Alex, who is conveniently only five feet tall, remembered, “everyone wanted to show me things just to see my reaction. Also, my brother was like, before you die of smallpox, I want you to know that your sister is a bitch, nobody likes her, and everyone else in the family was fine with you wearing what you wanted. It was almost like, I don’t know, there was maybe actually just one member of my family who was transphobic and homophobic who was prioritizing her comfort over our communal happiness. I kinda wish someone else had stood up to her on my behalf, you know? Anyhow, so that meant a lot to me.”

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3181 articles for us.


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