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Merry Christmas, Princess Sister-In-Law!

My wedding is in three months time, and while this is my fiancee’s first trip down the aisle, it is my second, and therefore I am not having a traditional wedding gown. After many hours looking at pictures and patterns on the internet, I decided on a cocktail outfit of a soft gold straight dress with a tailored coat in a beautiful teal blue/green with embroidery in several shades of gold, bronze and deep teal green. Rather than a veil, I planned to wear a small fascinator with stripped feathers with just the tips left on. The whole outfit will look classy, simple and elegant.

As my mother is elderly and I have no sisters, and MOL passed away before I met my beloved, the planning is left to me which gives me freedom to have exactly what I want.

Just as I was congratulating myself on how smoothly the plans were going, my SIL, who even my fiance acknowledges is “strange”, rang me to say that she had bought my Christmas present, and it was something for me to wear on my wedding day, and it was just beautiful, she hoped I’d like it etc etc.! This is not a person who takes no for an answer. Needless to say, I was upset and waited with baited breath for Christmas day to see what she had bought.

Christmas lunch rolls around with the in-laws and the present opening starts. Yep, you guessed it, she bought me a tiara! According to SIL it’s real 22 carat gold, with real pearls and garnets and cost a lot of money. Actually it turned out to be dull gold spray paint on copper, in a vine leaf style with three big fake pearls and maroon glass beads stuck to it. You can even see the glue where the beads are stuck on! It’s not even possible to attach it using bobby pins due to the vine leaf style. To attach it to my head, a veil has to be sewn to the vines with a comb attached.

Needless to say I choked back tears and anger for the rest of the day. I will not be wearing the horrid thing on my wedding day, even though I know my SIL will never forgive me and will hold the grudge for the rest of our lives. What possessed her to even think that she had the right to choose what I would wear on my head for my wedding, without even asking? And why did SIL 2, who hates it, the tiara idea, and told my fiance that she wasn’t involved in any way, not tell her sister that it might not be appropriate? Looks like there will be at least one scene on our wedding day when SIL sees that I’m NOT wearing her present!. 1228-08

It’s been a few years since this story was submitted but personally I would have worn the tiara at the rehearsal and any bachelorette parties and made sure it became a family icon to be used for all future weddings, including sister-in-law’s.

{ 77 comments… add one }
  • Anon December 21, 2016, 2:16 am

    Agree with the ‘wear it to the rehearsal idea’. As hideous as it is, that could have kept the peace. I wish we knew what happened!

  • Lenore December 21, 2016, 3:00 am

    I love Admin’s suggestion. In fact, turn it into something that is passed onto the next person in the family to get engaged, and they have to wear it at their rehearsal dinners (turns it into something fun and there’s a story attached to it!)

    While I wasn’t given something for my wedding, many years ago I was given a rather unattractive whale carving. When I showed it to my girlfriends, one of them (newly engaged) said she thought it was quite pretty. So I promptly gave it to her as an “engagement present” there and then (she did get a proper present later!). It has now turned into a bit of a thing among my friends, where the next person to get engaged/married/pregnant has to be given the Whale. The rules are it has to be displayed prominently, and cannot be hidden away. It’s now been passed along to friends of friends, and has a lovely story behind it!

  • Aleko December 21, 2016, 4:04 am

    In OP’s place I would have flexed this copper band a bit till a few of the beads popped off, and when challenged by SIL at the wedding, or after, I would simply have produced the tatty item from my handbag and said ‘Sorry, darling, the glue must have been too weak or too old – the beads started falling off and I lost a few. I couldn’t wear it in this state’.

    But as for ‘what possessed her?’, oh, come on – her own brother admits she’s ‘strange’ which is polite family-speak for ‘barking’. And as for ‘why did SIL2 not tell her it wasn’t appropriate?’, similarly come on – like her brother, she clearly knows from long and bitter experience that talking sense to this woman is a waste of breath.

    • clairedelune December 21, 2016, 9:08 am

      Truly. OP is upset as if she should regard SIL’s actions as somehow logical. A possibly-unstable person did a definitely-nutty thing. Say thank you and move on.

    • Lomita Momcat December 21, 2016, 7:02 pm

      “…her own brother admits she’s strange which is polite family-speak for ‘barking’…”

      Which is a pejorative term for someone who is mentally ill.

      People who are mentally ill did not choose their condition. It is not a fault or failing in character. Mental illnesses arise from pathologies to neurological systems, and while the causes are still poorly understood, we do know the causes are organic and that many mental illnesses can be treated.

      Since this is an etiquette website, perhaps it is worthwhile to mention that use of pejorative terms, such as “barking,” “whacko,” “ga-ga,” or even “crazy,” is not considered acceptable among intelligent, compassionate, reasponsible adult people when describing someone known or suspected of having mental health issues. The stigma associated with mental illness, which is demonstrated by your use of the pejorative term, is one reason why families who have a loved member with mental illness are reluctant to bring mental illness out in the open.

      OP’s SIL very probably has mental issues. That is the least offensive way of referring to her condition. “Barking” is a term that indicates contempt for and ridicule of her condition, and neither contempt nor ridicule are considered to be good manners among polite people.

      • Rose December 22, 2016, 8:35 am

        Thank you so much for posting this! It truly saddens me when people use derogatory terms for others in a “humorous” way.

  • Rebecca December 21, 2016, 5:11 am

    I think the time to bring up that you wouldn’t be wearing it was when she told you on the phone, “I have something for you to wear at your wedding.” At that time I think it would have been best to say, “Oh my gosh, I wish you’d checked with me. I’m afraid I’ve already decided on a wedding outfit that I am very pleased with, and it’s already been ordered. ” No waiting around anxiously till Christmas to see what it is, no quietly fuming all day after opening it. The outfit’s been decided, so sorry you went and purchased something because I’d have told you.

    • DGS December 21, 2016, 9:00 am

      What Rebecca said. Set healthy boundaries now, lest they are breached. It’s a slippery slope.

    • Michelle December 21, 2016, 9:25 am

      I agree with Rebecca. As soon as she mentioned it was for me to wear at the wedding, I would have said sorry, but everything has been finalized and ordered.

    • Kathryn December 21, 2016, 7:57 pm

      That can be hard though. When I went dress shopping with my Mum, she declared that her veil would go perfectly with my dress. I didn’t want to offend her, but agreed that I’d decide once I’d had a look at it. Anyway, I loved the veil and totally wore it on my wedding day. Mum and I don’t always have the same taste, but we did on this occasion.

      I don’t like to think about how refusing it would have gone if I didn’t like it!

  • lkb December 21, 2016, 6:10 am

    I agree with Rebecca, having been in a similar situation myself. A relative called to tell me she was gifting me with the “perfect” cake topper — a Precious Moments piece — that “looked like” me, she said. I am not in any way a Precious Moments-type and quickly told her as politely as possible “Thank you for thinking of me, but we’ve already picked out our own.” She was equally gracious and thanked me for being honest enough to tell her.

    An alternative for the OP would be to wear it at whatever reception/party/other celebration just as a fun thing — maybe pass it along at the bouquet toss.

    • Queen of Putrescence December 21, 2016, 2:42 pm

      I did something similar. There was a friend of the family who was obsessed with Precious Moments. I was pretty sure that if she was invited to one of my bridal showers she would give me a Precious Moments cake topper. So I told my Mom that the next time she spoke to this friend that the subject of my wedding cake should be brought up so Mom could “mention” that we were having our cake decorated with flowers instead of using a topper.

  • NostalgicGal December 21, 2016, 7:01 am

    It wasn’t plastic by the sound of it. I would have worn it to the rehearsal and had an accident with it. Then apologized profusely, and lived with the fuming SIL. No matter what, you were set up about this one OP. (I see by the code this one is 8 years old, so I hope OP sees this and updates us).

  • Redblues December 21, 2016, 7:16 am

    I love the admin’s idea, except that I would not have wanted to waste my time sewing a veil and comb on an ugly, cheap object. What strikes me about this is how young the writer sounds for someone old enough to have a previous marriage, an elderly parent, and a fiance who’s mother is dead. It is also rather odd to rejoice at not having interference in planning a wedding just because the parents are dead or elderly. She can’t state her own preferences? Apparently not, as she did not do so over the phone when SIL called to tell her about the gift. And what adult has to “choke back tears and anger for the rest of the day” just because the family nut gives her a silly gift OP failed to previusly tell her she could not use? What adult continues to say nothing and looks forward to seeing her SIL “create a scene” at the last minute when OP does not wear the gift? Honestly, she sounds like a young teenager. For goodness sake lady, open your mouth and speak. Don’t fume and weep and fester for days and weeks. It sounds like she was hoping for drama anyway and created it herself.

    • Anon December 21, 2016, 10:19 am

      Sounds like one of those people who wants you to read their mind and then gets angry when you don’t.

      Yes it is hard speaking up, but how will anyone know what’s wrong if you don’t? I hope she fixed that thinking when it came to the marriage, or else I bet that it didn’t last too long.

      • LizaJane December 25, 2016, 7:51 pm

        I agree that she should have been more forthright, but honestly, I can’t imagine anyone picking out parts of someone else’s wedding outfit.

    • Kay December 21, 2016, 2:54 pm

      Absolutely agree!

      • ColoradoCloudy December 22, 2016, 10:10 am

        I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • crebj December 23, 2016, 9:47 pm

      There was quite a bit of “needless to say” and righteous indignation.

  • hopefull4 December 21, 2016, 8:13 am

    Great suggestion from Admin. Otherwise, a very odd gift to give someone and expect her to wear it on her wedding day, obviously having no idea whatsoever what the OP’s style is.

  • Lerah99 December 21, 2016, 8:32 am

    I can’t remember if I saw it here or on a Reddit post.
    But sometimes sisters are crazy.
    This woman posted about how her sister showed up to the letter writter’s wedding in a wedding dress.
    The bride knew her sister had mental health issues and assured her MIL not to worry about it and just ignore it.
    Her groom did lean over when she got to the front of the aisle and said “I’m only marrying you, right?” And they both had a little giggle.
    The sister spent the reception telling people that her dress was a symbol to “Strike down the patriarchy” or something along those lines.
    But everyone just rolled with it.
    She was mentally ill and did incomprehensible things sometimes. But so long as she wasn’t throwing a screaming fit, people pretty much just let her do her thing.

    The SIL seems to really love the tiara. Maybe you could have encouraged her to wear it for the wedding. “It’s so beautiful, but it just doesn’t go with the outfit I’ve already purchased. I bet it would look stunning on you at the wedding and reception, SIL!”

    • doodlemor December 21, 2016, 2:43 pm

      I just love the sentiments in this post.

      Sometimes people just need to be tolerant and chill a bit. Save the fury for the big stuff.

  • Victoria December 21, 2016, 8:43 am

    Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by ignorance. You’re talking about how horrid your SIL is, and even blaming SIL2 (who says she wasn’t involved) for letting her buy it. Is SIL2 supposed to be vetting any gift SIL buys? “Needless to say I choked back tears and anger for the rest of the day.” – That’s putting a lot of power into a simple gift. It seems like SIL saw something she thought was pretty and bought it for you. You’re guessing at motives and feelings when you have no idea what SIL was thinking or feeling when she bought the tiara.

    Just smile, say thanks, and do with it what you want.

    Was there a follow-up? Did SIL create a scene at the wedding? Or did she just give the gift and never mention it again? If you were choking back tears and anger for an entire afternoon, she probably already knew that the gift wasn’t appreciated.

    I can very easily imagine the same story being submitted from the other side.

    • Dee December 21, 2016, 10:12 am

      I agree, Victoria. Along with Rebecca’s view, above, these points seem to be the issue, not the goofy SIL. How can OP be old enough to be married a second time but still so young that she hasn’t learned how to talk to someone? She described her wedding attire in such painful detail that I was under the impression she was actually a teen. And her dissing the gift – sure, maybe it’s ugly, but her SIL thought it was beautiful and wanted to make the OP happy with it, so why point out just how cheap it is? It could actually be solid gold with diamonds and still be ugly (the most expensive jewelry is often quite hideous); the point is that OP was gifted with something she is expected to use on her wedding day. So, why not speak up, for Pete’s sake?

      And the OP expecting the other SIL to “protect” her – are they all in junior high? The wedding day will be over quickly and the dress and hat will never be thought of again – it’s just a day, not something precious that others are responsible to preserve.

      OP, just talk to your odd SIL already. You’ve let her go far too long with the assumption that you will use the gift. That’s bad. Just tell her you are flattered at her generosity but that you cannot make the tiara work with your dress and you had already spent a great deal on a matching hat that will go to waste if you don’t use it. Request SIL wear the tiara instead, so that you can actually see how pretty it is on your wedding day, which you would not be able to do if it was on your own head. As far as a rehearsal dinner goes, I’ve never known any couple to actually have one, they’ve only been featured in films and TV, and if you, OP, don’t want to set a precedent for all other “unwearable” gifts then don’t start now.

      And, in the future, be kindly honest about expectations you cannot meet. And stop making such a big deal out of a present.

      • Lomita Momcat December 24, 2016, 1:01 am

        “…And the OP expecting the other SIL to “protect” her– are they all in junior high?…”

        Actually, it’s not so uncommon for people who have never interfaced closely or directly with people who have mental/intellectual issues to expect family members of the person with the issues to behave as “keepers” for the person with the issues.

        One of my aunts had cerebral palsy with mild intellectual impairment, I have a brother who is autistic. I cannot tell you how many times people would ask family members some variation of “why doesn’t someone keep Britt (my aunt) (or John, my brother) from saying such odd things to people?” with the implication that someone in the family should act as a buffer to keep my aunt or brother “in line.”

        I think it’s pretty clear that that’s OP’s expectation: family knows SIL is “strange,” and so family should make sure that SIL doesn’t inflict her “strangeness” on people like OP who are upset, embarrassed, or made uncomfortable by SIL. That’s what you should do with people who aren’t “normal,” right? Keep them with other people who aren’t “normal” and only permit them to interact with “normal” people under carefully controlled situations where their “keeper” can make sure they “behave themself,” right?

        There are a lot of people, unfortunately, who really do think that way. They don’t want to deal with people who aren’t their idea of “normal,” and they never seem to think that maybe, just maybe, the “strange” people they object to understand that people want to exclude them from their company, and are actually hurt and humiliated by this exclusion.


        • Dee December 24, 2016, 11:03 am

          I find it odd that some people are not regularly exposed to those with disabilities, since it is so common and most families have at least one member who is obviously affected by something. How do people live such a sheltered life? Are they actively avoiding people who are disabled? Why? To try to project the illusion of perfection? I can accept a disability but cannot tolerate deliberate ignorance, and people who try to exclude the disabled (or worse, who advocate separate clubs for them so they won’t mingle with typical people) make my jaw drop.

          • iwadasn December 27, 2016, 6:38 pm

            That’s a lot of conjecture. There are plenty of people who genuinely don’t have any family members with disabilities; it’s not necessarily a matter of ignoring or excluding those who have them.

  • Annie December 21, 2016, 9:14 am

    I disagress with admin on this one. As the tiara is not a family heirloom, I don’t think that OP should be obligated to wear it on her wedding day or any wedding events. She should have a polite spine and tell her sister-in-law that her outfit is already planned and that the tiara does not fit the style of the events.

    • iwadasn December 27, 2016, 6:37 pm

      I think the time to have had a polite spine was when SIL told her that she had bought her something to wear on her wedding day. If OP had told her right then that she already had her wedding outfit all planned, then it wouldn’t be seen as a rejection of the specific gift once she’d seen it.

  • Vermin8 December 21, 2016, 9:42 am

    I’d be curious to hear more about SIL – her behaviour isn’t strange – I’m strange, and I know not to try and dress the bride – but something else, naive to a large extent, and almost child like.

    She sounds intellectually or mentally challenged – most people, even habitual liars, would know that you can’t paint copper a gold color and expect it to be passed off as 22 karat.
    Given that, I wouldn’t have gotten upset about the “gift.” I would have treated it as a child’s game and thanked her profusely then on wedding day, tell her that I heard rumors that someone who was jealous intended to steal it and I needed to keep it under lock and key, only to be worn around trust family.

    I wonder how all this (and the marriage) turned out.

    • Semperviren December 21, 2016, 3:01 pm

      I agree with a pp that “strange” is family parlance for something else.

      The mother of a family friend once told me a long story about the cameo brooch she was wearing, which I’d noticed and commented on. Apparently she’d recently found it at a garage sale and immediately recognized it as a long-lost heirloom of her family’s. It used to be real, but over the years, in the hands of these impostor owners, it had turned to plastic!

      To me, the belief that the tiara was real gold and pearls sounded more like a delusion than a lie. I think the OP needs to view this whole thing in the light of mental illness and find a way to respond accordingly going forward.

      • NostalgicGal December 23, 2016, 1:39 pm

        I’ve seen a couple of times where silver prices went through the ceiling, and people were digging out anything silver colored and trying to sell it. Some pawn and scrap places got really tired of people bringing in a cheap $40 set of silverplate tea service and they weighed it on a scale and gods it’s worth a few thousand, and despite being shown the markings indicating it was plated FURIOUSLY insisted it was solid. Yeah, it was bought for $40 3 years ago and you managed to buy $2000 worth of precious metal, from the local discount store? Right.

        It’s yellow colored so it’s G-O-L-D. They’re not unhinged upstairs they just don’t know better and can’t be convinced otherwise. Work an art fair and make actual quality jewelry and see how many DEMAND you sell them genuine solid sterling silver and real semiprecious stone bead items for dollar store prices. Or offer you a dollar store bracelet strung on stretchy elastic that has had all the plating/paint rub off the cheap plastic beads and expect you to wave a wand, replace what was lost when a strand broke and fix the finish on all the beads for a dollar. Oh, maybe two or three. Direct them to go back to the store because all you have is the real deal and that bracelet to be rebuilt will be more like $60 and they wail because they did and there aren’t any more. Suggest the next time they purchase a bracelet like this, buy all of them the store has in the same style for the ability to have one to fall back on then. Get evil looks and colorful words hurled your way….

        I don’t know how many goldtones and silvertones I’ve been shown as genuine gold, silver, platinum; aquarium gravel that was turquoise colored as genuine turquoise; or a 1970’s era ‘owl’ pendant with the cheap plastic epoxy resin fake turquoise cabochon and told it’s genuine silver and turquoise, would I appraise it please. I’d lie and tell them I charged $150 for an appraisal. Then show them a genuine Nevada turquoise cab that was not dissimilar in appearance and size for $30 so they would get the idea it might not value enough to pay for the appraisal. Beat the fury to be told honestly ‘pot metal, resin, common trade low end trinket, $10 retail 1975, current value 50c’

        Obviously fake pearl mabe (cabochon or dome shape, not a round bead) mounted on something and the fingernail polish like finish has worn and flaked off in the middle showing the milky white plastic underneath, and its a GENUINE pearl. Some people just do not know. Molded plastic pearlescent (has that sort of glittery finish) beads showing mold lines molded onto a string and spaced out, and they are obviously immobile, are real pearls. Okay, whatever you say.

        I went through all of this because the woman may have truly believed she had the real deal. And refused to be dissuaded by what anyone else says to her. Even if she took it into a high end jewelry store, was seated in the nice chair, and someone in a suit with seriously cultured customer service experience were to patiently explain and show her the difference, even if she managed NOT to blow up long before the end; would believe she had the real deal. Been there and done this, just skip the high end jewelry store setting. [this applies to OP’s SIL as well as Semperviren’s friend]

  • LadyV December 21, 2016, 10:07 am

    It’s possible that even though SIL is known for being “strange”, OP was holding out hope that she MIGHT have bought a nice piece of jewelry or something similar that would go with the outfit OP had chosen. I’m sure she’ll never make that mistake again!

    (One side comment: I’m wondering why, since this was the groom’s first wedding, OP couldn’t have gone with a more traditional dress, so that her husband-to-be could have the experience of seeing his bride walking down the aisle in a wedding gown. Everyone to their own taste, though.)

    • Dee December 21, 2016, 1:06 pm

      Lady V – I’m wondering why we needed to know ANYTHING about what OP chose to wear. The way OP describes her outfit sounds more like a Halloween costume, so if she meant to convince readers that she has good taste vs. SIL’s, it didn’t work for me. In any event, it’s not relevant here.

      There really aren’t any etiquette restrictions regarding what to wear to one’s wedding. Price and avoiding anything vulgar are really the only factors. It’s not as if anyone’s pretending the colour white is indicative of the bride’s purity. The incredible number of white dresses sold each year vs. the almost nonexistent virginal brides would quickly dispel that notion in any thinking person’s mind.

      • LadyV December 21, 2016, 3:59 pm

        I think the point of describing the outfit was to make it clear that the tiara would NOT go with it. However, I agree with you – the OP could have just as easily said something to the effect of “I’m not wearing a traditional gown, but I have my outfit for the wedding chosen already” without having to go into detail.

        As someone who married fairly late in life, and had no intention of wearing an actual “wedding gown”, I’m all in favor of a bride wearing whatever works best for her. But it IS the groom’s day as well (despite what too many bridezillas seem to think) and I’m curious as to whether she even discussed this with him. I have no plans to ever get married again, but if it did happen, and my husband-to-be wanted me to wear a more traditional gown, we would at least talk about it and try to come to a compromise.

        • LizaJane December 21, 2016, 6:49 pm

          People describe things in great detail on this site quite regularly and more brides than not are excited to describe their wedding dress. I find these remarks unkind and I think the outfit sounds beautiful.

          • Dee December 22, 2016, 10:48 am

            LizaJane – OP’s description was intended to one-up her SIL in terms of good taste. It’s a fairly subjective thing and, as OP was trying to point out her superiority in that department and since I didn’t think she had achieved that goal, then we are not in agreement on that point and it leaves the question open as to whether the tiara is really that bad. OP has declared her outfit as “classy, simple and elegant”. That’s her opinion, not the truth. Someone else can feel completely different about it. To be honest, I thought the dress might be okay but the hat sounded hideous. It’s possible SIL thought so, too, and the tiara was her attempt to save OP from embarrassment and to pretty her up, because maybe SIL really likes her. In that light the story takes on a very different tone. If SIL really is mentally ill then it would behoove the OP to practise kindness, not snobbery.

            Don’t you think those two girls at Willie and Kate’s wedding would have benefitted from someone taking them aside and giving them a tacky tiara instead? I do.

          • Semperviren December 22, 2016, 11:11 am

            I agree, LizaJane. Disagreeing with the OP is one thing. Taking shots at her emotional maturity and taste is getting unnecessarily personal about it.

          • Vrinda December 22, 2016, 12:57 pm

            I don’t think the outfit sounds beautiful. The OP may have described it to explain why the SIL thought the tiara would go with it, but it still doesn’t change the fact that the dress is as garish as the tiara.

          • LadyV December 23, 2016, 12:44 pm

            Dee – no, I DON’T think that taking aside those “two girls” (I’m assuming you’re referring to the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who are hardly “girls”) and giving them a tacky tiara would have benefitted them. We get the message – fascinators are not to your taste. In England, however, they are the height of style. Yes, sometimes they’re over the top – but so are the hats women wear to the Kentucky Derby. I personally think the OP’s oufit sounds lovely – but even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t necessarily condemn her taste, solely because it wasn’t the same as mine.

          • NostalgicGal December 23, 2016, 1:48 pm

            Fascinator or Veil, the thing is is the OP is wearing a more contemporary styled outfit than a fantasy princess dress. So the description is valid. The outfit as described sounds like it will work. I’m assuming the jacket has some embroidery on the front near the button line or the lapels to take it from plain to fancier. A tiara just would not work with the outfit. Even if it was an old world genuine metal and real gem one. I do agree though that the whole thing could have been taken down as soon as the SIL said I’m gifting you with something, to point out that the outfit and accessories are (describe) and it was hoped the gift would coordinate with that, and the headgear was already decided (and lie if need and say purchased). So it would suggest that if it was jewelry it would be hoped that it would go with what was already decided upon….

          • LizaJane December 25, 2016, 7:45 pm

            Dee, but it’s the OP’s wedding outfit. Not mine. Not yours. Hers. You are correct, just because I like the way it sounds doesn’t mean it’s not hideous. Conversely, just because you don’t like the way it sounds doesn’t mean it is.

            You know what? Doesn’t matter. She’s wearing it and she likes it.

            No where does it say that the groom had no input, but I don’t think that argument holds water anyway. It’s quite usual for the groom not to see the dress until the ceremony.

            If you don’t like the fascinator, cool. Not your wedding.

            She didn’t like the tiara. It IS her wedding and she’s the one wearing it.

      • Rose December 22, 2016, 8:46 am

        I think op described her wedding outfit to emphasize how out of place the tiara would have looked with it, so that’s perfectly relevant. I’m not sure, however, why you feel the need to insult a person you’ve never mer by comparing her outfit, which you’ve never seen, to a Halloween costume. And if op didn’t wish to wear a white dress like 99.9% of other brides, that’s no one’s business but her own.

    • Kelly December 23, 2016, 5:13 am

      Wait, was there a groom? Based on the OP calling her intended her fiancée, I thought there were two brides so I was wondering why the sister didn’t give the tiara to her sister instead of the other bride.

      • Dee December 23, 2016, 11:45 am

        Yes, the fiancee could very well be a woman. Good call. But I think, then, the other bride would be wearing white, since it’s her first wedding, and OP would have pointed that out, since she made a point of saying that she, herself, would not be wearing white because it’s her second wedding.

        • NostalgicGal December 23, 2016, 1:55 pm

          I’ve seen many weddings where both brides wore white, one wore white and one a sort of suit, or two different dresses, or one white dress and one other style. It’s up to the couple what they want to wear and as long as they sorted it, it’s good. When George Takei announced his engagement, on mike, his fiancé Bill stepped in about the plans and said they were both wearing white suits with red carnations. George expressed some surprise as he hadn’t known about that but recovered nicely, and later in the wedding photos they were both in white suits with red carnation boutonnieres… so. No matter what, the other involved in this wedding seemed to be okay with what the OP was wearing.

  • Pat December 21, 2016, 10:09 am

    Why not just tell SIL that you really appreciated her thinking of you in choosing such a unique gift but you’ve already purchased your wedding outfit. Why not tell her you’ll wear it on another special occasion and then quietly stick it in a drawer? Why is OP getting angry to the point of tears and dragging SIL2 into the situation? OP’s attitude does not seem promising for family harmony.

  • Wilbur December 21, 2016, 11:43 am

    The wife is much like the OP, who would bend over backwards to keep the peace with everyone- me, not so much. If the tiara was a tacky Mardi Gras costume piece, just make up some lame excuse later of how you misplaced it and banish it to the trash or Goodwill. If confronted, offer extreme apologies about you being a ditz. If challenged further, unleash the hounds of hell upon her and don’t look back. MIL and wife’s side of family show me respect because I don’t brown nose or grovel to them. I married my wife not them.

  • Cora December 21, 2016, 11:45 am

    Good Lord. It’s just a tiara. Why the almighty fuss?

    Take it down a thousand, person. Who on earth said it was federal law that you had to wear the thing on your wedding day? Okay, it’s cheap. Why does that make your SIL the Woman From Hell? I don’t understand investing this much fuss and fury into a tiara.

    It’s a gift. One that your SIL, odd as she may be, thought you’d really like. What does it say about you to sneer so? Be gracious, thank her, and figure out a way to wear it out of kindness.

    For goodness’ sake. Five paragraphs of bile over a little gift. Perspective, people.

  • Hanna December 21, 2016, 12:36 pm

    I don’t agree with the idea of “wear it to appease family.” Why? It will only tell SIL that a) What she did was OK and, b) That she can do it again in the future. Why do we need to appease to tacky and inconsiderate people? You are treated the way you allow yourself to be treated.

    • BellyJean December 23, 2016, 2:42 pm

      +1000, especially, “You are treated the way you allow yourself to be treated.” <it took me years to learn that hard lesson.

  • Cat December 21, 2016, 1:03 pm

    I’d get one of those baseball caps that say, “I’m the Bride”,put the tiara on that and wear it to my bachelorette party. It seems like the perfect thing to add to a baseball cap.
    I’d tell SIL that I am putting it away for my first daughter to wear. I’d let her wear it with a princess dress for Halloween once she is old enough to walk.
    I gave my great niece a tiara and scepter when she was five. She wears the tiara with her cowboy hat.

    • NostalgicGal December 21, 2016, 3:48 pm

      I used to make wedding tiaras of pearl beads, semiprecious and precious stones and precious wire (usually sterling silver). They were not the PERFECT beauty pageant things but unique and quite the rage at the time, and. I retired from that and moved. A friend got really messed up in an accident so I took facetted red plastic and purple beads, copper wire, and made her a high front tiara in that style, and made her a ‘fairy wand’ as well. She prizes that tiara and put it on a cowboy hat and still wears it. Note: I wasn’t trying to dress a bride with the last one, the previous ones were custom orders… A tiara and hat can be really pretty.

  • Ty December 21, 2016, 2:23 pm

    Am I the only person who thinks SIL sounds like Aunt Gayle from the show Bob’s Burgers? This sounds exactly like something Gayle would do.

    Anyway, I’m going to assume that SIL doesn’t have any sort of intellectual disability as others have suggested and that she is simply very eccentric. If that is indeed the case, explain to her that you’ve already made substantial investments in your wedding attire but that you will still love and cherish her thoughtful gift (and yes, maybe even wear it to the rehearsal). If she wants to pitch a fit over it, well, that’s really on her and not on you. Don’t get so worked up over it.

    • Rae December 21, 2016, 11:37 pm

      Oh my goodness, yes she does sound like Aunt Gayle!

      I think I would take the tiara (but not wear it to the wedding) rather than a painting of an animal’s rear end.

    • ColoradoCloudy December 22, 2016, 10:15 am

      Yes! Ha!

    • Jelly_Rose December 22, 2016, 12:50 pm

      At least she didn’t try to have the bride dress made of live shrimp! :3

  • Ashley December 21, 2016, 2:27 pm

    I feel like this is a massive over reaction to someone who might have genuinely thought that they were helping.

    This is a thing that I feel happens to a LOT of people when planning their weddings. Everyone I know personally who has planned a wedding, including myself, had people making suggestions and even purchasing things for the couple to use on that day that were not to the couple’s tastes. None of it was out of malice, but out of genuine “Oh my gosh I thought you’d love this, here look!!” helpful excitement.

    As an example from my own wedding, there was a pattern that my husband and I liked a lot, and we managed to find it on the cake cutting utensils, part of our centerpieces, and we included hints of it on our invites. His mom found out we liked this pattern and literally ANY time she saw something that included that pattern, she’d show it to us and say “Do you want this?” Guest books (we didn’t have a guest book). Ring bearer pillows (We didn’t have a ring bearer or a flower girl). A garter (I didn’t wear a garter). If it had that pattern on it, she found it and showed us. And this was after we had made it clear that the pattern was an accent, not a theme. She wasn’t doing it to be obnoxious, she genuinely thought she was helping.

    We thanked her, and moved on.

    In Op’s case, a polite spine and a “Oh how thoughtful but I’ve already had my outfit custom made” while you were first on the phone with her and she was telling you she bought something could have avoided all of this.

  • Kay December 21, 2016, 2:53 pm

    Choked back tears? How about just voicing your opinion and saying no? You are an adult. This sounds dramatic and ridiculous.

    • b-rock December 22, 2016, 10:06 am

      Thank you, exactly what I was coming here to say. Good grief.

  • stacey December 21, 2016, 3:05 pm

    Much ado about nothing. Tears and anger for the whole of the holiday? “No” is a complete sentence. It’s beauty lies both in its simplicity and finality. Her reaction is her own issue and can be anticipated, addressed in advance (let her know ahead of time that it isn’t going to be worn) and ignored.

  • Anonymous December 21, 2016, 4:39 pm

    I also don’t understand situations like this. Just say no thanks. End of conversation.

  • Lomita Momcat December 21, 2016, 5:28 pm

    OP says SIL is known to be “strange.” It sounds like SIL may have genuine mental health issues, possibly never diagnosed, possibly diagnosed but not shared with any but most intimate family members because of stigma caused by mental illness.

    OP, since you’re marrying into the family, you may as well enlighten yourself about mental health sues. Some points to consider:

    1. If SIL has mental health issues, she didn’t choose to have them and they aren’t a failing in her character. She is who she is and it sounds like she’s deserving of some compassion if she isn’t receiving treatment and it sounds like her family is ashamed of her.

    2. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. The tiara gift is not a calculated, planned, malignant slap at you, OP. It’s just how SIL’s mind works. Unless the whole family is either mentally afflicted or actively in fierce denial that anything is wrong with SIL, nobody expects you to wear the tiara. Thank SIL with courtesy, tell her you appreciate the thought, but that her gift came late in the planning and you can’t wear it at the wedding because there just isn’t time to alter other apparel at this late stage.

    3. It IS about you. About your character, your ability to deal with someone who is not a fountain of wonderfulness. Think on this: the assessment of our character, of who we are and how the world views us, isn’t about how we deal with the “easy” people in our lives. Anyone can be kind and caring and charming to people who are themselves kind and caring and charming. No, the assessment of who we are is tested when we have to deal with our SIL who is “a little strange,” or other people who are not charming, intelligent, caring and easy to like.

    No one is asking you to behave like a best friend to SIL. But it will be very telling to her family whether you can treat her with grace, class and maturity. You might think about that when you’re dealing with SIL.

    • Politrix December 23, 2016, 12:23 pm

      Well said.

  • Just4Kicks December 22, 2016, 2:41 am

    Sort of off topic, but it reminded me of when my sister married her first husband I worked at a very nice family owned jewelry store.
    My then brother in law asked my dad for his blessing, and then asked my schedule to come in to buy her engagement ring from my store, which I thought was lovely of him.
    He comes in on the arranged day, I had let my manager know what was going on so if I happened to be waiting on someone else, another employee could take over for me.
    So….I’m showing him rings in his budget, which wasn’t too shabby, and……here comes Shirley, my cut throat “up sell” fellow sales person.
    “Here! This one is just lovely and has matching wedding bands!!!”
    I told her, “thanks….I got this!”
    She kept at it, and kept at it even though I and eventually my BIL got snippy with her.
    “He has a set budget, those are WAY out of his price range.” Like 5,000 out of budget…
    “OH! Well! Surely you UNDERSTAND that this is an INVESTMENT, right?!?”
    Finally, my BIL couldn’t take it anymore, stood up and hugged me and whispered “I’m SO SORRY Kiddo….I’ve got to get the hell away from her!!!”….And left and went to another store.
    My manager was furious with ME (she didn’t come in until later that day) that I “couldn’t sell a ring to your own goddamn family!!!”, until I told her about Shirley butting in and embarrassing my BIL.
    Shirley got the “come to Jesus” talk, and the next time we worked together she refused to speak to me, throwing back handed comments for days “WELL!!! Try to HELP SOME people!!!”

    • NostalgicGal December 22, 2016, 5:09 pm

      Shows, sales and my DH. In the early days he was so obsessed with the underlying dollar that he drove customers away. Literally. Too forward, too hard sell, and sit there and count the cash box repeatedly and lament no sales. He would butt in on my much more pleasant sales pitching and just be a pill. Then we got stuck at a long distance event with not enough gas money to get home on, outdoor event, and it poured on the middle day. We wrung stuff out, he went away to get something, and people showed up that ventured over now that he wasn’t around and I sold. LOTS. He started to approach, noticed I was selling and was desperate enough or bought the clue and stayed away; I seen him sit down at a table (park so picnic table) and stay there for the afternoon. I made enough to get home on. He got read a riot act and banned from helping any customer or touching the cash box. He was furious but he could walk a thousand miles otherwise. He could be at the booth but he had to stay in a chair and SHUT IT and only I could touch the cashbox. Sales shot up at other shows, with those rules. He’s not a salesperson, at least he learned it early and it stuck!!!!!

      • Just4Kicks December 22, 2016, 6:23 pm

        Love it!!!! 🙂

  • Stephbwfern December 22, 2016, 7:24 am

    I wish I had seen this yesterday – I had a very similar experience myself.
    11 years ago, when I was planning our wedding, my grandmother presented me with a necklace and earrings set. She told me my grandfather had given it to her when she had had my father and she thought I might like to wear it for my wedding (because of the wording, I am still unsure if it was a loan or a gift). I thanked her profusely, and said how lovely it was, but declined and explained that it was a very different style to that of my dress (and planned jewellery). She very coldly took the box back and put it away and was a bit brisk with me for a while. I discussed the event with my mother and aunt and explained that I felt bad about it, but they assured me I did the right thing.
    To make matters worse, my history buff grandmother also became all enthused when she found out our reception would take place at a historic house with which she had been involved and volunteered at for many years. She offered to pay the $500 for our guests to have a tour through the house and for us to enter through the front door (as opposed to the side door where the reception hall was). We declined as a)there would have been about 4 people in the whole wedding who that would have interested and b) time did not permit for it. Again, we thanked her profusely for the offer and explained why we were declining. Again, she got all brisk and cold, and told us it would be our gift, indeed, over and above any other gift she would give us (?!), but we still declined.
    Now, obviously my grandmother is a bit pushy and strange, but still, 11 years later, I can’t help but wonder if I was terrible for declining these things, or if there was a better way I could have dealt with it.

    • NostalgicGal December 22, 2016, 5:12 pm

      It was nice of her to offer all that, but I can see declining the tour offer. The necklace and earring set could be more of a sticky widget but; it should have been broached very early in the planning, and I assume it was. I don’t think you did wrong.

  • J December 22, 2016, 8:08 am

    I’m always so curious as to why people think it is a good idea to get something for someone’s wedding like that without consulting them first. My husband’s extended family, cousins, aunt and uncle live several states away and weren’t able to be very involved in the wedding besides actually attending (i.e. couldn’t attend engagement party, shower, etc.)

    I obviously haven’t known these people very long but I get a text one day from cousin and she has found the PERFECT wedding dress for me at a thrift shop for $10 and wants to know if she should buy it as her gift to me. UM NO, not opposed to thrift shops or vintage clothes at all but wedding dress shopping is something so personal, it’s not something you can decide about through text. I was polite about it, thanked her profusely and let her know I wasn’t ready to purchase yet.

    A couple more weird occurrences like that but pretty much harmless since I would say no. The last one though is the one that got to me the most. 1 week before the wedding I get a call saying they found a GREAT guest book and matching pen in my wedding colors, they are going to buy it!
    At this point I have everything planned out and our guest book was a combination of pictures from the wedding and memories meaning we had picked out a large format book. I again politely declined but guess what showed up with the family 2 days before the wedding? The guest book, which I had no use for.

    • NostalgicGal December 22, 2016, 5:13 pm

      And you politely declined again and suggested they save it for when their children get married?

  • Just4Kicks December 22, 2016, 4:33 pm

    Does anyone watch Grey’s anatomy?
    This reminds me of Yang and Burke’ s wedding, and Mama Burke made her wear a choker that five generations of Burke brides wore on their wedding day……And then, shaved off Christina’ s eyebrows!!!
    Which I STILL don’t know why she did that!!!
    Anyone know why Mama took her eyebrows?

    • Just4Kicks December 22, 2016, 4:34 pm

      BTW: I LOVED that choker…I thought it was beautiful and unique.

    • NostalgicGal December 23, 2016, 2:08 pm

      Don’t know the show, but in the early 1970’s and I think a time or two since, that a high thin brow line was THE THING to have and a lot of girls either plucked their brows to maybe 4-5 hairs at the top or completely shaved them off and drew them in. Then found out that shaving your brows may mess them up permanently. So would forever have to draw them in. Or get them tattooed on. (which has to be redone about every ten years IF you’re not the type that color breaks down fast-a friend has five tattoos and all that will ‘stick’ is the outline framing. One is four years old and shows a ghost of the coloring yet, and she said all of them had been heavily colored once…) (some have liner, sometimes lid shadow, lip outlining, brows, and a sort of patch on each cheek to augment doing the blush, tattooed on)

      I could see her trying to help Christina with the making herself look good and did her in the style SHE knew best and thus shaved the brows off.

  • Semperviren December 26, 2016, 6:31 pm

    What strikes me about this post(and actually, the previous one, “Gifts from the Grave”) is that the OP does not appear to have committed any actual IRL etiquette violation- so what people are criticizing her for, is having FEELINGS of which they don’t approve.

    In this case- selecting one’s attire and accessories is one of the special pleasures of being the bride. I see nothing unusual about being excited about the outfit, or nonplussed that her SIL2B took it upon herself to choose the bride’s headgear, or unsure about how to address it, or annoyed and frustrated at this item being pressed upon her as a Christmas gift with the full expectation that she’d wear it on her wedding day. I find all of those feelings normal and understandable.

    From an etiquette perspective, it only matters how she BEHAVES, not how she feels. If she thanked her SIL2B, kept her frustration to herself, and only vented about it away from SIL2B and the family, she didn’t do anything to warrant a scolding. She isn’t required to like the tiara, or wear it, or pretend to herself that SIL2B’s behavior is perfectly normal and okay.

    She does need a strategy to manage her feelings going forward, because there will likely be other incidents like this, regardless of whether SIL is just really pushy and controlling or mentally ill. This is the family baggage that comes with this particular groom.

  • Ames December 27, 2016, 11:18 am

    Ugh. I hate when people are odd, weird, different, and everyone assumes its mental illness….
    Sometimes people are different, sometimes people are ignorant, sometimes they’re mean, and rude. Being different doesn’t always equate with sickness.

    • LizaJane December 27, 2016, 4:50 pm

      I’m sooooo glad you said this. 1, 000 Likes.

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