My MIL Decided to Show Up at My Wedding in a White Dress

Family & kids
5 months ago

woman posted on Reddit about a drama with her mother-in-law (MIL) who wants to go to her wedding in a white dress — a big no-no. This kind of move from MILs can really stir the pot, especially during the crazy times of planning a wedding. Her MIL choosing a white dress, which is usually just for the bride, really kicked off some arguments and piled on stress to an already hectic day. Her story shines a light on the tricky task of dealing with family stuff while trying to plan your big day, something a lot of people can relate to.

The woman turned to Reddit to seek advices.

“I’m getting married soon, and we’re having a traditional wedding (I’m Indian, my fiancé isn’t, but he was fine with having an Indian wedding). My MIL-to-be asked me if she could wear white to our wedding, I said sure, and now my fiancé is really mad at me. He says she is going to try to steal the spotlight, and she’ll definitely show up wearing a long white dress, and it was very irresponsible of me to just agree like that.”

“The thing is I’m not going to be wearing a white bridal dress, I’ll be wearing a traditional red dress that due to the design (lehenga), type of silk and embroidery is very distinctive so even if my MIL does wear a white wedding dress it’s not like it’ll be the same? Also, this may be dumb, but I don’t really get what the big deal is if my MIL wears white even if I was also going to? As long as the groom doesn’t get confused and marry the wrong person, how does it matter?

Sorry if this is dumb, but my fiancé is really upset that I didn’t stop my MIL, and I just need some help to understand, I didn’t mean to upset him. I talked to my fiancé about why he was concerned. He explained that his mother had previously ‘joked’ that she would wear white, and he had told her point-blank that she wasn’t allowed to do this. (He didn’t tell me about this because he didn’t want to stress me out, apparently she has a tendency to steal attention throughout his childhood, which left some trauma.) So basically when I told MIL she could wear white, he was very upset that I had given permission when he had categorically refused, but he admitted it was wrong of him to get that upset when he hadn’t shared any of the background information with me.”

“We agreed that going forward we would be better about communicating, and made up, but then he wanted me to call up MIL and tell her she couldn’t wear white or else she was banned from the wedding. Which, I didn’t really want to do because that sounded like a surefire recipe for open hostility, and like I said earlier, I don’t actually have a problem with MIL wearing white. I told him that he was welcome to tell her if he wanted, but he was insisting I have to tell her because I was the one who gave permission.”

People offered her various perspectives.

  • Please have a conversation with your partner. He knows his mom better than you do, and he may well be predicting some MIL behavior that will cause issues. BirthdayCookie / Reddit
  • I’m guessing MIL has a history of inappropriate and/or attention-seeking behavior, and he’s trying to break that cycle. Ms_Cats_Meow / Reddit
  • But see, I think her dealing in thinking she got one over just to discover the bride in red would be glorious. Upstage the upstagee, I think OP’s fiancé should totally lean into that. Pretend nothings wrong, act unimpressed, etc... LimitlessMegan / Reddit
  • It is pretty rude of her to ask to wear white. I know it doesn’t matter to you since you’re having an Indian wedding ceremony. I think why your fiancé is mad is because I assume his family and other non-Indian people will be at the wedding, and it sounds like she wants to show off for them. It’s his mom, so I’d tell fiancé if he’s mad, then he needs to speak to his mother about it. disney_nerd_mom / Reddit
  • Your fiancé is probably upset because it’s the ultimate in cliché monster-in-law moves. Unless she’s just naive, mothers tend to do this because they want to be the center of attention. She may have something against you, or maybe she just can’t handle not being the star of the show. There’s also an ick factor because wearing white at a wedding kind of makes it look like she’s trying to marry her own son.
    It sounds like your fiancé is trying to make sure you’re the star of the wedding. He might also be expecting some more bad behavior on her part and thinks the dress is just the first step. Sit down with him and ask him to explain why he is specifically upset about this. Let him know you aren’t concerned since your lehenga is red, not white, so her attempt to steal attention is pretty weak. He might still be upset because of his mother’s behavior. I’d suggest letting him address it with her. GloomyMarzipan / Reddit
  • I know many people have said the “only the bride wears white” tradition is about attention, but it’s also about respect. Even if you don’t care because you’ll be following Indian customs, your future MIL will be making a very loud statement that she doesn’t respect your marriage, and she expects to always be the most important woman in your husband’s life. Similarly, in some areas it’s taboo for the mother of the groom to wear black because it says she’s mourning her son’s choice of bride. Literally, a fashion statement. scranston / Reddit
  • If your tradition doesn’t conform to the western norms of a white wedding dress, then you’d be correct in not dictating that she can’t wear white. Is your fiancé from your culture, or is he Western? She may try to upstage you in other ways, but she’ll be the one out of place wearing a white wedding dress to an Indian wedding. Few-Entrepreneur383 / Reddit
  • In western culture, anyone wearing white to a wedding (aside from the bride) is considered an insult, except for when the bride and groom request. It’s mostly considered a dig at the bride, and it’s even more so when it’s a member of the groom’s family. The fact that the future MIL asked you beforehand would say to me that she was being deliberately disingenuous with you. Because, by wearing white, she can now freely insult you and your wedding to the other guests while you are not only unaware of the insult, but unknowingly allowing it.
    You didn’t think to ask your fiancé because it’s not a part of your culture. You did nothing wrong by being kind to your future MIL. ITouchMyself2Much / Reddit

Wedding planning can get pretty tense, like with this bride, who ended up booting out one of her bridesmaids.

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