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Wedding Wednesday – Mother-In-Law And The Wedding Dress

I’m getting married soon. The wedding planning process hasn’t been my favorite thing, but the dress part was pretty exciting. My mom expressed that she wanted it to be a me and her deal–which I also really wanted, but then felt sort of bad for my MIL and didn’t know if I should include her or not in the process. While talking about things, my SIL said how she was excited to go wedding dress shopping and my MIL quickly intervened and said “Now, that’s between the bride and her mother”. I was so relieved that that was cleared (and by her at that) and went on about my way with looking for a dress with my mom.

Time went by and my MIL got curious as to if I had found a dress yet. She asked where I was looking, etc. I told her about a consignment shop and she made a huge deal about how she didn’t want me to wear a “used” wedding dress and how I should be getting something “new” for my “new” life with her son. I could care less about where the dress is from—if I can get an expensive dress for a fraction of the price, I’m all for that! I’m not the type to want to overdo it on expensive things. As long as my guests are fed, drinking, and having a good time, the extravagancy of the rest doesn’t really matter. I don’t believe in going into debt over a wedding. I was taken aback when she asked what my budget was, so I just made a number up because I didn’t think my mom would like for me to divulge that kind of information, since she was paying for the dress. Over the holidays, my MIL mentioned to my mom how she didn’t want me to get a “used” dress from a consignment shop, etc. etc. and this infuriated my mother and she got mad at me for even saying anything about it. I felt bad because I just wanted to make MIL feel a bit included, but was very mad about her even saying that to my mom. I expressed my concern with the fiance, but he just said his mom wanted me to have everything since she didn’t get much on her wedding day, etc. etc. I decide I’m not sharing anymore dress information.

Time goes by again and I finally find a dress. It’s very simple, but totally me and I love it. MIL asks if I find a dress, and I figure, what the hell, I’ll show her a picture. I know she won’t like it, but I’m well prepared to hear her opinion and let it go by. She first says it’s nice, but so plain.. I tell her I love it like that because it’s classic and my style, plus I can add my own touch to it. She says if I’m happy, then that’s good. There’s a pause.. and then she just starts saying how she’s going to be honest and that she really doesn’t like it because she thinks I need to wear something more grand and special, etc etc. I sit and listen to the rant for a bit, say multiple times that I love it, and end of story. I go to do a load of laundry and come back about 10 minutes later..

She continues by saying “If there’s a financial problem with the dress, I can put money down to help you get the one you ACTUALLY want”. I was VERY taken aback.. I reassure her again that that’s the dress I want. She continues “are you sure, are you sure??” and says how she just thought I was more fancy, based on my parents’ house, and based on how “fancy” my mom dresses and how “fancy” the stores she shops at are. I was very confused about that comment because I didn’t know how she would know where my mom shops at, but then remembered one occurence where my mom wanted to show me a dress for herself for the wedding and we were all together. The dress was a well-known more expensive brand, but my mother is an adult and can do what she wants and buy what she wants. I’m guessing MIL saw the prices when in that store and based on that last comment, it was almost like she was saying my mother is willing to spend hundreds on a dress for herself, but is too cheap to get me a multi-thousand dollar wedding gown. MIL continues about how her dress was picked for her and she didn’t get to have her dream wedding and just wants me to have the best.

I was very prepared to hear opinions about my dress, but the second financial part and the comment about my mom being “fancy” really crossed the line with me. I’m almost really turned off and don’t even want to get anymore opinions about anything. I haven’t spoken to my fiance about it because I don’t want to put him in the middle of it, again. Any way I can handle things in the future when trying to include her? We have very different opinions about everything and it’s exhausting- they believe that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event and even seem to be willing to go broke over it, while I am more realistic and think it’s just one day and there’s no need to go overboard on everything. I don’t know what else to do.   0108-14


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  • Crochet Addict October 20, 2017, 7:18 pm

    Go with the dress you want and love. I let well-meaning friends and family talk me into a dress that I didn’t love, and it was a downward spiral- my seamstress friend only charged for material, so I felt indebted to her. It was a gorgeous cocoon of satin and tulle and appliques and a built-in corset and I had to stuff my bra because the top was loose and it was so not me at all. The boning from the corset flew out the bottom of the dress as soon as I arrived at the justice of the peace, which made me laugh and be able to breathe easier. And to add insult to injury, when I went to take it off, the zipper separated. The dress was strapless, so I was effectively trapped in it, with my mother, sister, grandmother, and husband frantically going at it with every sewing implement we owned. My husband nobly tried to free me with our pliers. I ended up cutting the zipper while my mother and grandmother hyperventilated and told me I was ruining the dress. The seamstress replaced it so I could wear it to the reception the next day. It hangs on our bedroom door now as a reminder to have a spine.

  • Pat October 21, 2017, 1:10 pm

    You found your dress. Now just politely and firmly thank your future MIL and stick with your decision. If she brings it up again, say thank you, but I have the dress I want to wear. Leave it at that. Don’t involve your fiancé. Set the precedent that you will politely stick by your decisions.

  • Claudia October 25, 2017, 11:22 am

    I agree with posters who suggest keep MIL involved in other ways; shower her with “love” and let her know you are grateful for her offer….but you found your dress and you plan to wear it!

    On a personal note: My daughter was married in a vintage (used!) palazzo-bottom, halter-top, gold and silver lame jump suit from the 60s. (my description doesn’t begin to do it justice.) I was with her when she found it at a vintage clothing expo. We weren’t looking for a wedding dress. When she stepped out of the dressing room wearing it…. pony tail, no make-up, sneakers….traffic stopped. She was perfection on her (very non-traditional) wedding day. Even if I had not loved the dress, she is an adult who has been supporting herself since college. It was completely her decision. However….I did ask that we go to a few shops and try on traditional gowns. Not that I hoped she’d find something else; my practical girl would never pay thousands! It was a once-in-a lifetime experience.

  • mlee October 30, 2017, 5:53 pm

    She is just projecting her wishes to you. She wanted a dream gown on her wedding but wasn’t allowed to and she thinks she could live her dream through you. Just tell her you understand. Maybe you could ask her to join you shopping and let her get to try on wedding gowns. At least she would get to see herself in her dream wedding gown.

    • Girlie November 8, 2017, 2:57 pm

      Poster here—lol- I hope this is sarcastic?!?!? Because picturing my MIL in wedding dresses is the funniest/scariest image in my head. lol

  • crebj November 10, 2017, 7:21 pm

    MIL: “I just want you to know you have options.”
    Me: “Yes, I know, and I’ve chosen the one I want.”

    That did it.

  • sarugani March 27, 2018, 3:41 pm

    My mom tends to… I don’t know, live vicariously through me? My parents don’t have a lot of money, they’re comfortable, but they have to watch what they spend. I’m not getting married, but I’m currently moving and mentioned by way of conversation that I mean to replace some of the wonky cheap furniture that I started out with 15 years ago and she keeps going on and on about these really really expensive stores and kind of egging me on to get the 1000 EUR dinner table (which I love and may eventually get, but it’s not like I’m rich, either, and as long as I have a perfectly serviceable and completely unwonky table I don’t see why I should lay down that kind of money this instant, just so everything is perfect on moving day) and go to that particular store to get a solid wood wardrobe custom built again for a couple thousand EUR. I haven’t told her yet that so far, I’ve picked a couple solid wood things (from IKEA) or that I’m going to throw out the couch she talked me into 15 years ago – first and only time she ever succeeded in pulling this off and then I realized that she has no idea what kind of money I have at my disposal and that I’m the idiot for letting her choose my stuff when I can’t afford it…