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Author Topic: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!  (Read 8284 times)

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nuit93

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No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« on: June 23, 2015, 01:09:13 PM »
So I'm getting married in September.

My mom keeps bugging me about what our colors are, and what color she should wear, and honestly--I have no idea what to tell her.  We don't have colors.  All of our 'pretty stuff' coordination has been "oh, I like that in that color, let's go with that".  I'm wearing an ivory dress and a teal headpiece because I like those colors, not because they're "our" colors.

She asked me what color dress she should buy, and I told her "you know, you probably already have a dress that will work...it's dressy casual so as long as you don't wear your own wedding dress from two years ago.  It's okay, you don't need to go buy something new!"

My sister chimed in with "she WANTS to buy a new dress!  Give her something to work with."  (side note: is it bad etiquette that I've worn the same dress to multiple occasions over the years?  I couldn't always afford to get a new dress for things...)

A bit flustered, I asked mom "what's your favorite color?"

"Purple."

"Great!  Wear a purple dress!"

I think she may have been a little confused still but honestly--I have enough on my plate without having to direct other people on what to wear, and besides I also like purple.

Is it okay to just tell people "wear your favorite color!" if they ask?  I honestly don't care if they show up in, say, hunter's safety orange if it's a color that makes them feel happy and it's still in the guidelines of "dressy casual".  I feel like I'm expected to be more demanding when deep down I'm more like "yes, I realize that technically nudity is not illegal but please just wear clothes anyway and that's enough for me".

Lynn2000

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2015, 01:13:42 PM »
I think you handled it well by suggesting she wear her favorite color. I think sometimes people aren't trying to be difficult, they just really want some guidance because they really don't want to mess anything up, and it's so much easier to just give a little guidance and be done with it, rather than try to convince them of a totally different mindset (that you are okay with whatever they want to do).
~Lynn2000

ladyknight1

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2015, 01:14:57 PM »
That is so hard for some people to grasp, that you really don't care if they wear something old, new, etc. I would recommend you go with "wear what you like".

I wear special occasion dresses/outfits many times.
ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R Tolkien

gellchom

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2015, 02:11:45 PM »
I know you really don't care, and you're busy and don't need to be picking out other people's clothes, and you want her to wear whatever she likes.

But what she is hearing is "What you wear isn't important."

And that is not an easy thing for a mother of the bride to hear.  It feels like "You aren't important.  You're not an inner-circle part of this wedding."

A child's wedding is a Big Deal for most people.  For most people (unless they attend a lot of red carpet events or something), it is the nicest outfit we will ever buy, other than our own wedding clothes (come to think of it, my dresses for my children's weddings were a lot nicer than my own wedding dress).  Of course the bride is the star, but the moms and grandmas naturally want to look their very best before all their friends and family, too, and there will also be photos.  So she feels like her outfit matters. Please don't make her feel small for caring about that. 

When I got married, my MIL fretted and fretted over her dress and called me several times (back in the days of expensive long distance) over it.  She knew that the attendants were wearing cherry pink; did her dress have to match exactly?  No, not at all, wear any color you want.  She sent me a swatch (it was a very close match).  But the bodice and jacket are white lace -- is that okay?  Yes, no problem.  But there is a turquoise sash -- will that stick out too much?  No, no problem.   (I should note here that it was a Jewish wedding, so the parents come down the aisle with their children and stand up there throughout the ceremony, so the moms do "show" a lot, but they don't often match anything.)  I tried to tell her "Just wear anything at all that you feel great in."  I was wrong, wrong, wrong.  She needed to hear that it mattered what she wore, and all I was saying was that it didn't matter at all.  Finally I figured it out and said, "Wow!  That dress is absolutely perfect!  You are going to look so beautiful.  You are so nice to put in all that effort."  Didn't cost me a thing, ended a stupid power struggle I didn't want anyway, didn't change anything about my wedding, and made her feel important and included.  She looked great, and everyone was happy.

Even if you do feel like someone is being pushy somehow, remember that often the way to get someone to step back is to invite them in a little.  Focus on what they are really asking and find a way to give them a little of it in some way that you don't care about anyway, and then they will stop pushing to get in in some way you don't want.

My daughter also didn't care what color anyone, including her attendants wore.  But she didn't make us feel like we didn't matter; she said, "I am not hoping for a matched look.  Any color except white is fine, just long please."  But she also talked to all of us about our own dress hunts, made suggestions, and got excited for us about our dresses.  I think she enjoyed it, but maybe she was just being wise.

Do you see how something like "you know, you probably already have a dress that will work...it's dressy casual so as long as you don't wear your own wedding dress from two years ago.  It's okay, you don't need to go buy something new!" sends exactly the opposite message?  That would be just fine to say to a friend or a cousin, but not your mom.  I know you were just trying to save her trouble and money, but I bet what she felt like she was hearing was "You shouldn't treat my wedding like an important occasion.  You aren't inner circle."  That's what your sister was trying to tell you, I think.

So you might say to your mom, "Well, let's see, it's dressy casual, so not a long gown; either a shorter dress or a great pants outfit.  I don't have a color scheme, so any color is going to work, and that will give you a lot more options.  You look great in blue, and purple is your favorite, so if you can find something in blue or purple, that'd be great, but for sure if you find something in another color that you feel smashing in, get that one; that's more important than the color.  Have you gone shopping yet?  What have you seen that you like?" etc.

See?  It gets exactly the message of "any color is fine" across without the additional, unintended message of "it doesn't matter, because you don't matter much yourself."

SamiHami

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2015, 02:12:13 PM »
I'm kind of confused by the "dressy/casual" descriptor. The two seem at odds with each other. Is it dressy or is it casual?

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Lynn2000

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2015, 02:20:32 PM »
Also, I think people usually do have guidelines, they are just assuming other people know what they are, but the other people worry that they don't know. You probably didn't want your mom to show up to the wedding in ratty sweatpants, or a lace-trimmed nightgown (might qualify as dressy casual), right? So you do have parameters, and for whatever reason, using shorthand with her isn't working, so it's a kindness to just tell her some of the parameters, even though you might think they should be obvious/common sense.

It's like when my dad and I are trying to decide where to eat, and I'm like, "Anywhere you want! Please, just pick someplace, I don't care." It seems like I'm giving up control to him, but actually it just puts more pressure on him, because he knows I do actually have guidelines. So he'll suggest someplace really outrageous where I can't eat anything, just to point out that actually, I do care to some extent. Which forces me to be more honest and say, "Okay, I was thinking X or Y or Z," which is a broad range, but way narrower than "anything," and gives him something to work with.
~Lynn2000

NFPwife

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2015, 02:21:11 PM »
I like, "Wear your favorite color in your favorite style, I want all my guests to feel comfortable and relaxed so we can celebrate together."


gellchom

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2015, 02:38:25 PM »
Excellent points, Lynn2000.  That sort of came up in the string about the officiant whose friends told her to wear "anything" but did turn out to care, even though they didn't want her to wear a robe or a business suit.

I like, "Wear your favorite color in your favorite style, I want all my guests to feel comfortable and relaxed so we can celebrate together."

That would be fine for most guests, but not for Mom.  Don't lump her in with "all my guests."  That will sting.  No matter who is hosting or paying, Mom is different from a random guest.  That's the whole point, the whole reason she is trying so hard to get guidance.

I also find "I just want everyone to be comfortable and relaxed" to be kind of frustrating when I am a guest.  I understand that the hosts are totally sincere and mean exactly that -- or at least they believe they are; as Lynn2000 points out, they probably really are envisioning some kind of range.  I think most people would not be thrilled to see their guests there in running shorts or PJs, no matter how "relaxed" and "comfortable" they feel in them.  But what makes most of us feel comfortable and relaxed as a guest is to know that we are dressed appropriately.  What makes me feel really good is to feel that I am dressed the way the hosts are hoping their guests will.

JoieGirl7

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2015, 02:42:25 PM »
I know you really don't care, and you're busy and don't need to be picking out other people's clothes, and you want her to wear whatever she likes.

But what she is hearing is "What you wear isn't important."

And that is not an easy thing for a mother of the bride to hear.  It feels like "You aren't important.  You're not an inner-circle part of this wedding."

A child's wedding is a Big Deal for most people.  For most people (unless they attend a lot of red carpet events or something), it is the nicest outfit we will ever buy, other than our own wedding clothes (come to think of it, my dresses for my children's weddings were a lot nicer than my own wedding dress).  Of course the bride is the star, but the moms and grandmas naturally want to look their very best before all their friends and family, too, and there will also be photos.  So she feels like her outfit matters. Please don't make her feel small for caring about that. 

When I got married, my MIL fretted and fretted over her dress and called me several times (back in the days of expensive long distance) over it.  She knew that the attendants were wearing cherry pink; did her dress have to match exactly?  No, not at all, wear any color you want.  She sent me a swatch (it was a very close match).  But the bodice and jacket are white lace -- is that okay?  Yes, no problem.  But there is a turquoise sash -- will that stick out too much?  No, no problem.   (I should note here that it was a Jewish wedding, so the parents come down the aisle with their children and stand up there throughout the ceremony, so the moms do "show" a lot, but they don't often match anything.)  I tried to tell her "Just wear anything at all that you feel great in."  I was wrong, wrong, wrong.  She needed to hear that it mattered what she wore, and all I was saying was that it didn't matter at all.  Finally I figured it out and said, "Wow!  That dress is absolutely perfect!  You are going to look so beautiful.  You are so nice to put in all that effort."  Didn't cost me a thing, ended a stupid power struggle I didn't want anyway, didn't change anything about my wedding, and made her feel important and included.  She looked great, and everyone was happy.

Even if you do feel like someone is being pushy somehow, remember that often the way to get someone to step back is to invite them in a little.  Focus on what they are really asking and find a way to give them a little of it in some way that you don't care about anyway, and then they will stop pushing to get in in some way you don't want.

My daughter also didn't care what color anyone, including her attendants wore.  But she didn't make us feel like we didn't matter; she said, "I am not hoping for a matched look.  Any color except white is fine, just long please."  But she also talked to all of us about our own dress hunts, made suggestions, and got excited for us about our dresses.  I think she enjoyed it, but maybe she was just being wise.

Do you see how something like "you know, you probably already have a dress that will work...it's dressy casual so as long as you don't wear your own wedding dress from two years ago.  It's okay, you don't need to go buy something new!" sends exactly the opposite message?  That would be just fine to say to a friend or a cousin, but not your mom.  I know you were just trying to save her trouble and money, but I bet what she felt like she was hearing was "You shouldn't treat my wedding like an important occasion.  You aren't inner circle."  That's what your sister was trying to tell you, I think.

So you might say to your mom, "Well, let's see, it's dressy casual, so not a long gown; either a shorter dress or a great pants outfit.  I don't have a color scheme, so any color is going to work, and that will give you a lot more options.  You look great in blue, and purple is your favorite, so if you can find something in blue or purple, that'd be great, but for sure if you find something in another color that you feel smashing in, get that one; that's more important than the color.  Have you gone shopping yet?  What have you seen that you like?" etc.

See?  It gets exactly the message of "any color is fine" across without the additional, unintended message of "it doesn't matter, because you don't matter much yourself."

This is really, really good advice.  POD times 100!

My son got married a few months ago and I wanted a new dress because I was mother of the groom.  Wearing the same dress to multiple events has nothing to do with it--it's an extra special event for parents unlike other random events one dresses up for.
 
Anyway, my son made me feel great!  We were messaging and I would send him links to different dresses I was considering and he would like this one more than that one, etc.  And then I finally found the perfect dress on eBay and he was excited for me.  I looked fabulous!  And it was a lot of fun finding the right dress.


HannahGrace

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2015, 02:43:18 PM »
Excellent points, Lynn2000.  That sort of came up in the string about the officiant whose friends told her to wear "anything" but did turn out to care, even though they didn't want her to wear a robe or a business suit.

I like, "Wear your favorite color in your favorite style, I want all my guests to feel comfortable and relaxed so we can celebrate together."

That would be fine for most guests, but not for Mom.  Don't lump her in with "all my guests."  That will sting.  No matter who is hosting or paying, Mom is different from a random guest.  That's the whole point, the whole reason she is trying so hard to get guidance.

I also find "I just want everyone to be comfortable and relaxed" to be kind of frustrating when I am a guest.  I understand that the hosts are totally sincere and mean exactly that -- or at least they believe they are; as Lynn2000 points out, they probably really are envisioning some kind of range.  I think most people would not be thrilled to see their guests there in running shorts or PJs, no matter how "relaxed" and "comfortable" they feel in them.  But what makes most of us feel comfortable and relaxed as a guest is to know that we are dressed appropriately.  What makes me feel really good is to feel that I am dressed the way the hosts are hoping their guests will.

But some hosts genuinely do not have a sense of "appropriateness" that they want guests to adhere to.  I know I didn't, and it sounds like Nuit doesn't either.  Also, for most weddings, none of the guests are "random" and if someone's mother feels that way because her daughter genuinely wanted her to wear whatever she liked to the wedding, well, there are bigger issues than a garment.

JoieGirl7

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2015, 02:44:35 PM »

I like, "Wear your favorite color in your favorite style, I want all my guests to feel comfortable and relaxed so we can celebrate together."

That would be fine for most guests, but not for Mom.  Don't lump her in with "all my guests." That will sting.  No matter who is hosting or paying, Mom is different from a random guest. That's the whole point, the whole reason she is trying so hard to get guidance.

Yes yes yes yes yes!


NFPwife

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2015, 02:49:09 PM »
I think it's a leap that not caring about someone's clothing = not caring about them, but I can see how that leap goes.

If Nuit truly doesn't have guidelines or care there has to be a nice way to say, "Your presence is more important than your presentation." (Maybe it's that with an added,) "Think of the time you've felt the most beautiful and confident and wear that dress or buy one just like it (again, excepting her wedding dress.)"

I think going through texts, links, etc. when one truly doesn't care would be tedious.

Hmmmmm

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2015, 02:58:33 PM »
For guests I believe it is your responsibility as a good host to give attire guidelines, not approve guest's individual choices. While dressy casual has become a much used dress code, for some it is still a "what does that mean". But hopefully your guests can call other's involved in the wedding to get some guidance.

For your mom, I agree with gellchom that Mom is hearing "I don't care what you wear because what you wear isn't important to me" as "you are not important". A very easy way out is "Mom, I've always loved you in purple, why don't you wear that?" or even "That outfit you wore to X looked great on you, wear that or something in that style". (How do you not know your mom's favorite color already?)

And no, a guest rewearing appropriate attire to multiple events is not against "the rules". 

gellchom

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2015, 03:17:43 PM »
Quote
if someone's mother feels that way because her daughter genuinely wanted her to wear whatever she liked to the wedding, well, there are bigger issues than a garment

I guess I wasn't clear.  I didn't say that genuinely wanting Mom to wear whatever she likes is a problem.  What is a problem is expressing that in a way that makes Mom feel diminished.  It's so easy to express it some other way.  And anyway, what this Mom genuinely wants to wear is: something that matters to her daughter.

Yep, it can be tedious to go through links and look at photos; well, okay, but it's not that much and it is kind.  it probably won't add up to a total of more a few minutes.  Probably a lot less time than Mom spent hearing about and shopping for prom dresses, school clothes, Halloween costumes, etc.   :)

Lynn2000

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Re: No, seriously, whatever you want to wear is okay!
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2015, 03:25:00 PM »
And also, I think if you give some guidelines, so Mom goes off happily to do her shopping, that actually saves time, even if she has candidates she wants to show you--you can always look at them thoughtfully and then choose the first one, or one at random, and say you like it best. It's two short conversations vs. several ongoing, frustrating ones. Now if Mom is the type to keep bugging and bugging even though the HC has said they like something, that's getting to be a bit rude on her part.

And I wanted to add that I don't think the OP has been rude in any way. It's just that her shorthand is not working, for whatever reason, be it lack of understanding or feeling diminished or whatever, so giving some guidelines is an alternate method that might help achieve her goal, of not having to discuss this subject any longer.
~Lynn2000