The proverbial power struggle between the bride and the mother of the groom is the stuff of movie legend. There have been more terrible mother-of-the-groom characters than we can count, but it's possible nobody did it better than Jane Fonda in the movie Monster In Law. The movie racked up a bunch of laughs, but one Reddit bride is finding her monster-in-law story to be far less funny than the Fonda film.
Admittedly, the groom's mother doesn't seem to be doing anything overtly wicked, but she's definitely pushed some buttons by essentially insisting on wearing a wedding dress to the event, even though the bride has already told her the dress isn't appropriate. The bride turned to Reddit, where people were initially pretty sympathetic to mom even though they agreed the dress was a mistake. When the bride revealed a plot twist, though, people's thoughts on mom took a sharp turn.
It's a long and complicated thread but, by the end, there are sequins, a passive-aggressive power struggle, and red wine somehow becomes a threat.
Grab some popcorn and let's get this party started.
Here's the bride-to-be's original post:
My MIL just bought a dress to wear at my wedding. She did ask me beforehand what type of dress I think she should wear. I specifically told her to find something that is navy blue, dark green or grey and something conservative.
This is what she ended up buying:
It is gold with gold embellishments and gold threading. The whole dress is sparkly. When she showed it to me I was absolutely shocked and I wasn't very happy with her choice of dress. My dress in comparison is very simple with a little lace and some satin. As she already spent a lot on it, I don't want to create unnecessary drama. Am I over reacting? What do you think?
I did tell her in the most diplomatic way possible that her dress is "not suitable for the function." She grabbed the dress out of my hands, stuffed it in the cupboard and gave me the silent treatment. I don't want to be mean as she might be going through a middle-age crisis and has high blood pressure. Not sure what to do at this point.
Has anyone had this experience before? Any advice?
People were pretty quick to point out that this bride's future mother-in-law basically bought a fancier wedding dress than the bride was going to wear. It wasn't white, but a strapless sweetheart ballgown worn to a simple wedding was a bit much and gold wedding dresses are very on-trend right now.
That would look ridiculous on any middle aged woman who was not a bride or going to a formal ball. What was your MIL thinking????
If your wedding isn’t formal (men in full tux formal) she is going to look really, really out of place. You say you get along normally, maybe point out that it’s too formal for the occasion?
...that's a ballgown, (and obviously looks way too much like a wedding dress.) Why would she choose to wear a ballgown to a wedding??? Or are other people wearing ballgowns to your wedding?
In the most charitable interpretation, she would look like a bridesmaid, which is still not appropriate.
If you want to avoid drama, I'd be straight with her, but kind: "I'm really sorry MIL, it just looks a little too much like a wedding dress to me and I wouldn't be comfortable with someone wearing that. Is it possible for you return it? I hope I haven't offended you because that's really not my intention. Maybe we could go shopping together to pick something else out? Lunch and cocktails on me, obviously! xxx"
Any pushback on that and I'd just stay firm but kind. If you do it verbally, try and make sure that you have witnesses you can trust so that there's no danger of her twisting your words, if you do it via email/text or whatever, include smileys, kisses etc to make it seem as gentle as possible.
I would tell her that you understand she spent quite a bit of money on her dress and obviously she's not really looking for your input. Tell her if she wishes to open herself up to gossip by wearing gowns that could be mistaken for wedding gowns as if she wanted to marry her own son or had trouble accepting reality that's her own business.
However, you wish that she would have taken your advice so she can avoid any embarrassment at such an important life event.
Fashionista here. ...It looks like a formal gown for a gala charity auction worn by somebody who is striving to appear high class but epic fails. I’m guessing that mil is in her late 40s? If so your colors choices and conservative is what she is thinking her own mother would wear. That’s why she wanted more youthful but has literally nooooooo idea what that would be. So she went to what a 20 yr old would wear to a prom.
So I’m thinking a compromise for her would a lighter shade of green a stunning silk dove grey knee length sheath with a bit of sparkle. Something that says I’m not a grandma yet. Still classy and yet not upstage the bride.
The bride then dropped some info that changed the game a bit:
I brought it up with fiancé but he’s not good with fashion/dresses and commented that all dresses look the same to him. However he said that I’d be the most beautiful bride and no one could ever outshine me. Long story short, he’s not going to bring this up with his mother because he’s dead certain she’s not going to buy a new dress as she’s extremely frugal and this dress is non refundable.
For our wedding ceremony at a church, she also bought a green, sequin, off the shoulder dress which is equally over the top. Can you believe this woman?! I honestly can’t brain any of this as she’s an extremely simple woman who doesn’t even put effort to dress up on normal days.
I’m hoping that when the time comes for her alterations to be done, it will cost so much that she decides to ditch this dress altogether. Even if she does decide to wear this dress, my mother is going to embarrass the shits out of her and I’m pretty certain she’ll make a fool out of herself either way.
In the comments someone pointed out that she is taking this opportunity to wear something that she has always dreamed of wearing only because she could finally afford such a luxurious item and dress-up events like these are very slim. For the 2 years that I've known her, she doesn't seem to be malicious in any way (hopefully I don't eat my words) but she comes across as tactless possibly due to her underprivileged upbringing. If I remember correctly, she has also overdressed for other people's weddings perhaps not knowing proper etiquette. I just sort of thought that wedding etiquette was universally understood lol?
I talked to the future husband about it and he brought it up with her, but she sort of laughed it off (not sure if it was out of embarrassment?)
People were baffled by why she would have purchased multiple dresses for the event, especially when both of them were inappropriate.
Moms don't normally get a costume change anyway ... unless they're Queen Bey.
WAIT. Record Scratch
And, she plans on wearing two dresses? A wedding/prom dress and ANOTHER dress? Are you wearing at least three different dresses and performing a Broadway musical number yourself?
Because, that is the only way having a Mother-of-the-Groom costume change mid-wedding festivities isn’t a blatant attempt to upstage the bride. Unless, your MIL is Beyonce.
Is your MIL Beyonce?
It's dye-able, and alterable to have sleeves included, and to have a sheer overlay to minimize the sparkle, but unless you're having a very, white tie / black tie formal wedding, no-one should be wearing that much light-colored sequins to someone else's wedding. (and even then, it's borderline.)
I had a black wedding, super formal - so I explicitly told people that if they wanted to wear head-to-toe sequins, that dress that you never have an excuse to wear, as long as it's a dark color, WEAR IT! But that didn't matter, because I was the only one in white at my wedding. everyone else, while super formal, was in dark colors and the photos were gorgeous.
Maybe, just maybe, and the only possible excuse I can come up with for her - is that she doesn't know how to dress up, because she never does. she doesn't know the difference between charity ball and Mother of the Groom attire.
You aren't overreacting. If she has a sister or something, maybe they can consult with her on how this is not MOG attire. This is prom, charity ball, or bridal attire.
You say it's non-refundable, but is it perhaps exchangeable? Can you send a trusted friend with her to make sure she gets something appropriate? And lastly, this sucks, but would it be worth a couple hundred dollars to fund either alterations or a new MOG dress, if she isn't going to spend more money?
And it just occurred to me... she bought TWO dresses for your wedding?
I mean, it really comes down to you. If you don't care if she shows up wearing a dress that's ridiculous, then let her. If it's going to leave a bad taste in your mouth all day and you can't get over it, future husband needs to step up and ask her kindly to reconsider.
You trying to handle it on your own is probably the least likely path to success, because she's obviously not concerned about offending you or following your instructions in the first place.
For some people, a wedding is just a chance to buy a dream dress they didn't get to wear at some other time in their life. I've seen plenty of people show up in prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and princess dresses with the least provocation. Just because they finally have the luxury to afford one, and formal events are slim pickings. I have a lot of sympathy for that position. But she could have stayed on the color scheme and still had her little midlife crisis as you put it, so get one or the other -- appropriate style or appropriate color. I mean, shoot for the stars and hope for both. But really, if you had to pick one, which would it be?
I think it says even more about her that she is extremely frugal but bought this dress and also bought the green, sequin one for the ceremony at the church. To me it says that she REALLY feels that she is in competition with you and will spend whatever is necessary to think she is upstaging you.
Hold the phone, she bought separate ceremony and reception dresses? That’s the opposite of a simple person. The bride does that sh*t - the MOG doesn’t. She’s doing this to mess with you, and her freaking out and shoving the dress in the cupboard says she knows that and is pissed that you caught on.
Can you get your mother (or even better, one of your MIL’s sisters or friends, if she has any) to throw some shade on this inappropriateness? And eating the cost of her nonrefundable dress is just the price (literally) she has to pay for trying to be a b*tch.
Before long, the "Red Wine Brigade" was out in full force.
Let her wear it and put someone on red wine duty. I don’t know for you, but I’m planning a wedding as well and I don’t have time for that kind of BS.
Stand your ground. That looks like a wedding dress. Tell your man that he needs to help you. By not confronting MIL he is saying that he knows she will create drama so he avoids it. MIL definitely knows that and I’m sure she takes advantage of it. Imagine how much worse she will get if you have children.
If need be have a friend dump red wine on the dress.
Yeah, that’s a wedding dress. Hopefully she changes it. As a last resort, you can enlist a particularly petty and sneaky friend to “accidentally” spill red wine on the dress at the earliest opportunity. It’s really the proper response to assholes who wearing wedding dresses when they aren’t the bride.
If you need someone to trip and dump a full glass of red wine, or better yet, a Blue curaçao drink down her dress, I'm for hire. I'll only charge a piece of cake, because I don't drink, but cake is great.
*spills red wine on gold dress *
"oh I am so clumsy!"
Have one of your bridesmaids do it to her and she can wear the green dress for the whole wedding. At least then it will look like she is going to the prom instead of trying to upstage the bride.
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