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Bride's wedding dress honors late husband; groom demands new one. AITA?

Bride's wedding dress honors late husband; groom demands new one. AITA?

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"AITA for asking my fiancée to buy a new dress for our wedding that doesn’t include her dead husband’s memory?"

I (39M) recently got engaged to my fiancé “Anna” (40F). We haven’t set an exact date for the wedding since we’re still browsing venues. We’re hoping to have it sometime next summer (or fall at the very latest).

Anna is a widow and has one daughter “Cara” (21F) from her deceased husband. They were high school sweethearts that got pregnant straight after graduation. He died 10 years ago in a car crash. Cara of course misses him a lot and I’ve done nothing to try and replace him. We aren’t particularly close, but we get along nicely and just that’s fine with me.

The rest of her family acts kind of weird around me. Her parents were best friends with her dead husband’s parents so they’d known each other since preschool. Her whole family loved him a lot. It’s not like they hate me or anything, but they just really miss him.

Every time I see them at a family event I can definitely count on at least one or two people bringing up some memory of her deceased husband. Then the whole family talks, laughs, and sometimes even cries over the memories.

Of course I know he was a huge part of their lives so I can’t expect them to just forget him, but it does get sort of awkward when they almost forget that I’m even there. We’re gradually getting closer but they still keep me at arm's length. Any progress is good I suppose. I know every time they look at me, the only thing they can think about is her husband who they miss so much.

Now, my family has a little tradition with a wedding dress. My mom (who only has 4 boys) pays for her new daughter-in-law’s dress to welcome them. When j brought this up to Anna she just said she’ll wear her old wedding dress since it’s in good condition and still fits.

This isn’t a money issue- we could easily afford a new dress in the wedding budget even without my mom. Anna simply said she just doesn’t like the idea of stressing out over a new dress when we have so much more planning to do. It makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Her first wedding dress is very sentimental. Since she had her daughter so young they were too busy and broke to get married until she was around 25 years old. Cara’s dad asked her to sit down with her mom and help color a picture of her absolute dream dress.

Anna just thought they were going to a store to pick the closest match, but her husband actually had his grandma (who actually passed a month after the wedding) sew the exact design because she was a very good seamstress. Anna looks so happy in the wedding pictures of that dress and obviously Cara treasures it as well since she saw the design in person at the first wedding.

Obviously the dress is a beautiful design and memento to his memory, but it still makes me a bit uncomfortable. I know every person who sees the dress will only think of her first wedding the entire time. I’m sure her husband was a fantastic guy and she has the right to mourn him, but I want the wedding to focus on our upcoming life together, not only her painful past.

I really want this event to be speak for only us as a couple and our own love. Of course I understand she’ll always love her daughter’s father, but I want to enjoy time with the guests without them staring and thinking of her first wedding the whole time.

Plus, I’m pretty sure Cara won’t exactly be thrilled to see her mom wearing the same dress that was such a special memory (between her and her dad) to marry another man.

It almost feels sort of creepy and disrespectful to wear the dress her dead husband and his grandmother went through so much trouble to make. I would bet neither of them pictured her wearing it to marry some other guy who doesn’t even know them. I feel like it’s a bit disrespectful to their memory.

When I told her all of this she seemed flippant and said I was thinking too much and that it wasn’t a big deal. When I requested maybe even getting just a cheaper plain white gown or not using my mom’s offer she shot me down. She said I was just being jealous and irrotational. She seems a bit upset at me now.

Some of my friends and my parents say I should’ve just dropped it when she said no the first time. They say my words made me seem a bit egotistical and petty. I love Anna a lot and I don’t like the idea of making her think I don’t fully trust her. Was I just being petty and should apologize? AITA?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

RedSAuthor said:

Sounds to me like your fiancée is not ready to move on. It’s one thing to keep the memories alive, but your wedding day should be about celebrating your relationship and your future. If I were in your place, I would hold off on the wedding. Have a serious conversation with your fiancée. If she keeps shutting you down, that’s your answer. NTA.

Medical_Gate_5721 said:

I wouldn't marry into this family. None of them have made room for you. They're polite but... it just feels like you don't really matter to the extended family, to her daughter, and now she is clearly indicating that doesn't want a new beginning. They don't have to get over him to.make room for you but they haven't done either. This is the life you want?

monsteramoons said:

Well, I'll tell you why this would bother me. It would make me feel like she was marrying a replacement, a stand in, rather than me. I would wonder, does she really want to marry me, or am I just good enough because no one will ever be him?

For me, instant couples counseling. I would need to understand why she was insisting on wearing this dress if it really "wasn't a big deal", especially after expressing that it's a bit of a deal to me.

Perhaps she has an understandable reason, perhaps she isn't really ready to be getting married yet. Either way, I wouldn't be able to move forward without knowing. NTA.

missangel21 said:

NTA I think that you’re making a lot of valid points. She should wear a new dress to celebrate your new beginning together.

TraumaTeamTwo2 said:

NTA. Until everyone is ready to look forward instead of backward, you should delay getting married.

Competitive-Week-935 said:

What does her daughter think of her mom getting married in the dress she designed for her mom and dad? I think that is the question you need to ask. It doesn't sound like she is ready to move on. NTA - it feels weird to me to. This is not some off the rack dress she has. It is completely tied in to her late husband.

Everyone agreed unanimously with OP here. What's your advice for this couple?

Sources: Reddit
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