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Bride's MIL wears white dress to wedding and humiliates herself. 'It totally backfired.' AITA? GROOM SHARES POV MONTHS LATER

Bride's MIL wears white dress to wedding and humiliates herself. 'It totally backfired.' AITA? GROOM SHARES POV MONTHS LATER


When this bride shares the story of her MIL's embarrassing white dress (only for the groom to follow up with his POV months later) she asks the internet:

"My MIL tried to wear a white dress to my wedding and it backfired. AITA?"

I'm so confused, please help. 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 1) 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 fiance is really upset that I didn't stop my MIL, and I just need some help understanding, I didn't mean to upset him.

Edit: my fiance knows what my wedding dress looks like, he has seen it.

Edit 2: for those asking if MIL knows how my wedding dress looks, I'm not sure. We have discussed what the wedding will be like (she hasn't been to an Indian wedding before)...

but I don't think we explicitly discussed what I will be wearing, I feel like she was confused when I said she is free to wear white but that might be me projecting because the whole conversation was a bit confusing for me.

Before we give you OP's updates (and the groom's pov), let's take a look at some of the top responses:

sayf writes:

Based on OP's fiance's reaction, I'm guessing MIL has a history of inappropriate and/or attention-seeking behavior and he's trying to break that cycle. OP should talk to her fiance to get on the same page and maybe going forward tell MIL she has to run things by him.

bleeda writes:

But see, I think her dealing in thinking she got one over just to discover the bride in red would be glorious. Upstage the upstager… I think OP’s fiance should totally lean into that. Pretend nothings wrong, act unimpressed, etc…

crepa23 writes:

Yeah, I'm guessing from this post that MIL has never been to an Indian wedding and has no idea what she's in for. You've gotta wake up pretty early in the morning if you want to upstage an Indian wedding party!

STOC writes:

I went to a Hindu wedding years ago, OMG the fabrics, the jewelry, the GOLD! It was opulent. White is really not going to stand out the way she thinks it will.

I don’t understand what mothers, MIL’s, or other wedding attendees think they are going to accomplish wearing white to a wedding.

Steal attention from the bride? Have people come up to them and ask if they are the bride, coyly telling them no while blushing and giggling? IMO the only attention someone other than the bride wearing white to a wedding would get is ridicule. Or maybe concern for their mental health."

abject6 writes:

NTA:In traditional Catholic/american-esq weddings, the bride is the only one to wear white. It originally was to show she was pure and chaste, now it's just more of a "it's always been this way" thing.

That said, your fiance has a mouth and can easily tell his mom that he doesn't want her in a white dress for whatever reason. If his concern is she is going to try to one up you at the wedding, that issue is deeper than a dress color.

Perhaps he is concerned she is going to wear a "traditional wedding dress" as a backhanded dig at you for not honoring their cultural norms. It has the same ::gasp:: effect as wearing red to a funeral; it's considered disrespectful, bad taste and outright wrong.

If you're fine with MIL wearing white, as the bride, I see no issue. If your fiance has the issue, he should take that up with her as clearly, there is a cultural miscommunication.

ohsogreen0 writes:

NTA and you are not dumb. In most of the West, where the bride wears white (or sometimes off-white) it is considered very bad for a woman to wear a white dress as it is seen as upstaging the bride. It's a sign of deep disrespect, dislike, and even hatred. MIL is usually the guilty party. Now here is where I agree with you: one, you won't be wearing a white dress so no conflict there as your gown is distinctive.

Two, I LOVE your comment as long the groom isn't confused, who cares? You have a quick wit and a delightful perspective.

Three: You won't be able to stop her. She will wear what she wants. I have heard of MILs sneaking a white dress in an oversize purse and changing in the rest room. If she's determined, not much you can do.

Four: If she does wear a long white gown, like a bridal gown, she will make herself a laughing stock. Everyone will be either 'horrified', laughing at her, or pitying her for being so pathetic.

Especially if you are nice, say she looks lovely and do not react to her, you will be the height of graciousness and she will be seen for the petty, bitter, attention-seeker that she is. And if she's in the photos you'll have documentation to last a lifetime.

My MIL wore close enough to white that by the end of the day all of the comments I got were of apology and sympathy from her relatives and they could not believe she did something so crass. I just smiled. It was my day and she couldn't hurt it. Just like it will be your day. Congratulations. I bet you will be a beautiful bride.

touchmys writes:

NTA. 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 fiance because it's not a part of your culture. You did nothing wrong by being kind to your future MIL.

And now, OP's first update:

So as you all suggested, I talked to my fiance 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.

It was starting to turn into an argument so I showed him this post and all of your great advice. This really helped :D, it helped him realize that even if MIL wore white it wouldn't really stand out (at least not in a positive way) and he LOVED your guys idea of just not telling MIL that I wasn't going to be wearing white.

So we'll probably offer to buy her a sari...but if she insists on wearing a white dress, we just won't stop her.

And now, the groom shares his perspective months later:

Given the way things turned out, it seemed fitting that I post this. I'm the previous poster's then fiance.

After Piya (not her real name) posted, a lot of commenters said I was wrong for not dealing with my mother myself, and I was especially wrong for getting mad at Piya without telling her anything. I didn't want to admit it, but the more comments I read, the harder it was to brush it off.

I don't have a good relationship with my mother. She was the type to demand gifts on my birthday because "I wouldn't be here without her." For eighteen years, I never got to open presents myself.

Looking back, every event, from my games to graduation was always about her. I always felt like my life and achievements were just an extension of her accomplishments.

I think I suppressed my resentment because everyone around me always acted like this was normal.

I didn't know how to cope with this so I just tried to get as far away from her as possible, I applied to furthest university I could realistically get in, and stayed far away because anytime I had to go back home, it was the same story.

At university I was lucky enough to meet Piya, and for the first time I started to like who I was. I didn't feel like I had to hide or play down my accomplishments, or even my failures. And her family was so warm and welcoming, it felt like my childhood was just a nightmare of the past.

I thought the best way to move past it was to just move ahead. I thought I would be able to handle it now as an independent adult. After all, everyone says you're supposed to let sleeping dogs lie.

And in my worst moments, I felt jealous of my wonderful fiance for having such a welcoming loving family, even though they were treating me like one of their own. I was ashamed of my mother's behavior, and the ugliness of my resentment so I pretended everything was fine, and invited my parents to my wedding.

Until this post blew up, I don't think I really understood how important my wedding was to me. I mean obviously, the whole getting married to the girl of my dreams is huge, but I mean the actual details of the whole ceremony.

I actually had a really clear vision of what I wanted in the wedding, but a combination of my childhood trauma and the notion that wedding is 'the bride's day' and not something men are supposed to care about made me unable to express it.

I also didn't understand how badly I wanted an event that would be about me and not my mother. This unholy cocktail of repressed and suppressed feelings led to me unfairly lashing out at Piya when my mother tried her old tricks.

At that moment I forgot white wasn't the bridal color in Indian weddings -- I just felt a cold sweat that another precious moment would be hijacked by my mother.

I think Piya was shocked by my outburst because she had never seen me like this, and made that post just to get some perspective. Neither of us imagined the ramifications it would have.

I read every comment at least ten times. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Unwanted memories kept invading my head, no matter how much I tried to bury my head in work or exhaust myself by exercising.

I ended up having an actual meltdown that night. I was sobbing and crying, it was probably my ugliest moment. The next morning I half expected to wake up alone, and get a text that the wedding was off.

Instead, incredibly, Piya stayed with me. She convinced me to go to therapy, encouraged me through those first few hellish sessions and gave me space when I needed it.

Therapy really helped: I was able to understand why I was feeling angry and upset, and how to deal with it beyond just trying to ignore it. I apologized to Piya earlier, but it let me actually be honest with her about my family.

It really transformed our relationship: I took over the wedding preparation (with the help of my in-laws). This turned out to be great for all of us -- I got to actually design my dream wedding :)

My MIL later told me she was really relieved that we switched because my lovely Piya didn't really care any which way about the colors or flowers and had virtually no input on any of it as long as we were getting married.

(You might have realized from her post that she is a pretty nonchalant and easy going person). She used to joke that she was fine with just exchanging garlands and calling it a day.

My MIL was also very encouraging and patient in letting me voice my input, and even found things I didn't of but loved, like riding a horse to the ceremony! We have a running joke that I seem more like her son that Piya because our taste is so similar.

And the actual wedding went really, really beautifully. Piya was ready to rescind my parents invitations completely after everything, but her terrifying little sister suggested we invite anyway as a final sort of f-you, to show them I wasn't alone anymore and no matter what they tried this time things would go my way.

I have to admit that did appeal to me, so we decided to invite them for the third day of the ceremony, and it worked even better than I imagined.

First, it helped that my mother had no real idea what an Indian wedding is like, so when she showed up in a long white tulle ball gown, security actually thought she had the wrong address and didn't let her in.

This was actually something I didn't plan, but the schadenfreude of seeing my mother fuming by the gate while other guests were let in was delicious.

Secondly, compared the embroidered silks and sleek satins of Indian clothes, my mother's ball gown honestly looked frumpy. Instead of stealing the show, she just looked like she didn't belong. This was accented by the jewelry, the matching churi & kungan and earring and bindis worn compared to her much more sparse look.

Piya looked especially beautiful in her red lengha choli, with intricate henna covering her hands and feet. I'm probably biased since she's my wife, but she has the most beautiful inky hair and it looked stunning adorned with gajra and gold billai on her braid.

Indian brides also wear something called a matha patti which looks like a crown, it definitely made her look like a princess. I actually forgot about my parents, and my insecurity, and pretty much the rest of the universe because I couldn't stop staring at her.

Then my mother tried really hard to interrupt the ceremony. First she tried coughing, but luckily Piya's aunt sitting next to her gave her a cough drop. Then she tried to initiate a conversation, but Piya's five year old niece loudly said in that high-pitched voice of children that really projects:

"Don't you know it's rude to talk during weddings? I'm five and I know that!" I later learned that she had been coached to respond this way by my wonderful, terrifying SIL.

The third time she tried to interrupt Piya's cousin (who had also been coached by SIL) jumped and loudly whispered that the food didn't seem to agree with my mother and needed to go to the bathroom immediately (I'm sure you can guess the implication) and basically pushed her away.

After that she stayed embarrassedly quiet for the rest of the ceremony. Throughout all this, the panditji never missed a beat and everyone else acted like she wasn't there.

In the afterparty, the difference between my mother and everyone else was unpleasantly accented by her ignorance of Bollywood/Tollywood dance skills, so she tried to refocus attention through conversation.

She turned to my mother-in-law and started to complain about how hard it was to raise me. My MIL, bless her heart, said: "However difficult children are, they bring ten times as much happiness just by growing. Your son is such a wonderful young man, you must be so proud of him."

My mother didn't like the direction of the conversation, so she turned to Piya and asked her if she was sure she wanted to be with me. This was after we had gotten married. Piya looked at her like she was a bit slow and said "Why would I be marrying him if I wasn't sure?"

My mother loudly asked her again if she was really sure, because I used to wet the bed. I haven't done that since I was eight, but there she was, loudly announcing it for all and sundry.

At that moment, I really, really hated her. It felt like there was something stuck in my throat, but no words came out. But Piya didn't have that problem.

"You must be confused," she said, and it was so confident with a touch of concern that my mother looked like she was actually confused. Then she raised her voice so it could be heard over the music.

"Dear [my mother], I know we are family now, but it's much too soon right now -- or ever, for me to hear about your bedroom activities." Then she dragged me away to the dance floor while people started to stare at my mother.

Stupidly, the first thing I said in our first dance as a married couple was that my mother was right.

But because I am the luckiest man alive, Piya just squeezed my hand and told me it happens when children are put under stress and it wasn't my fault. That was pretty much the end of the problem, and I enjoyed the rest of my wedding dancing, eating food and talking with Piya (and now my) wonderful family.

(I did see Piya and my SIL having another talk with my mother later, but I was too far away to hear anything. It couldn't have been too bad because my SIL smiled a lot, and my mother didn't try anything new for the rest of the party.)

By the end of the day, my mother looked incredibly constipated, but she hadn't managed to ruin anything. I felt so relieved when I said goodbye, like a weight had just slipped off my feet and my knees felt weak. It was the first time in my life that she hadn't taken over something that was supposed to be about me. After that day I haven't had anymore sudden invasive memories of the past.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have married this girl, and I feel like I might have done something really stupid after that fight, if I hadn't seen so many strangers telling me the same thing until I couldn't ignore it, so in case anyone was still following this, I wanted to post a thank you.

Readers continued to weigh in on OP's updates:

Moment I saw the wedding was Indian Hindu, i bust a gut. I could see every single humiliation coming. I feel like i know OOPs family cause they're exactly like mine lol. Drama is something we know how to handle. Painful relatives are an everyday walk in the park. The terrifying SIL and the trained niece are exactly how my fam would have done it.

Fiance's mom was just outmatched. Hindu weddings are a riot of noise and color except for the really long ceremonies. And because they're so long everyone has strategies to deal with the painful guests who like to whine.

Usually those strategies are aimed at idiot teenagers but i guess they work well for idiot old folk too. And i know they work cause I used to be an impatient whiny teenager who's been at the receiving end of this lol.

If she wanted to make a scene she needed to step up her game big time. This was the big leagues and she was playing little league.

Also I wouldn't assume her look of constipation wasn't serious. If the food was catered there's a good chance she was genuinely stuck with an upset stomach. If you aren't used to Indian food, especially wedding food, it'll knock your bowels for a six.

What do YOU make of this story? Any advice for the bride or groom?

Sources: reddit
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