My friend was an 'honorary' bridesmaid for a couple this weekend. She was close enough to the couple that they wanted to 'honor' her with a title, but adding her as a 'real' bridesmaid would've made the numbers uneven and look weird. She was given the title and dutifully said nothing so as not to ruffle any feathers.
She's close enough to the couple that at the wedding many friends and family specifically asked her why she wasn't a bridesmaid. She informed me that she bean dipped the heck out of those people. But the kicker was, when it came to the program, she was listed as a bridesmaid. Didn't get the dress, didn't get to stand up with her friends, but was noted as one. Now the bride and groom probably did this as a gesture of importance and kindness - however for the rude people of the crowd, it became a new question with which to bombard my friend with: 'Well it says your a BM, why aren't you up with the girls?' 'Are you not standing up and wearing the dress, because it didn't fit you in time?' 'Did you forget to order your dress?' So then she had to inform the inquisitive group that although it states she's a BM she's just an honorary one. Although she didn't say so to me, I gathered by the tone of her voice, having to state that, was more humiliating then anything, as the bean dipping was working earlier.
Note to brides: If you have friends and family who you're close with and want to stand up with you - MAKE THEM YOUR BRIDESMAIDS. Don't degrade them or your relationship with them by tacking on 'honorary.' If you must have those even numbers, then let it go, tell your friend you appreciate them, but don't lesson their friendship, by saying they're only good enough for 'honorary.'