Post # 1
Hi everyone. I need some advice on what I should do in a pretty sensitive situation. I am a Christian and my Fiance is a Muslim. We had a nikah (Islamic marriage ceremony) already as his family wasn’t comfortable with us “living in sin”. I was pressurised by some of his family into converting to Islam before we did the nikah. Whilst I am trying to embrace Islam I still feel more like a Christian and have since been to church and so has my Fiance.
I don’t want to upset anyone and have tried to go along with everything the family have asked – dressing extremely conservatively, sometimes even in traditional Muslim clothing, and covering my head when certain people are around. I don’t do this at home if none of them are likely to be popping around – this would no doubt upset my own family if I was to start doing this plus my Fiance gets annoyed with me for covering up too much around his family and says I should wear whatever I like. His family have told me themselves that they would prefer me to cover my arms to at least mid length and wear clothing to my ankles, so I do this whenever I am going to be seeing them, no matter where it is. FI’s sister told me (when she was pressurising me to convert) that converting would mean this was compulsary but that “it wouldn’t exactly change your life”.
We are having a wedding in the late summer (not a Christian wedding in a church – but similar sort of style, just at a non-religious venue). I bought a dress a while ago, before the pressure to convert. I am extremely shy of my body anyway and chose a dress that did not have any cleavage whatsoever as I NEVER show my cleavage. But the problem is – it’s strapless.
I am now having huge debates with myself over what is the right thing to do. The selfish side of me wants to wear it just as it is – I picked it because I loved how it looked on me and felt good in it – something that I normally never feel in any clothes because I’m quite hard on myself. I left the shop a very happy girl. I keep thinking I did the conversion and the nikah, so they’ve had the bit that’s important to them, can’t I just have this day now? If it’s really so awful for them, do they have to even show up as they already consider us to be married now anyway.
But the other side of me really really doesn’t want them to be upset. I don’t want them to come along and feel their disapproving eyes burning into me but I also don’t want to feel like I’m letting them down somehow. If they didn’t come I know Fiance would be devestated and it would be pretty awful to not have any of his family there particularly as my family attended the nikah against their wishes. I may even feel exposed – naked even. I know in the past when I was wearing something that left a bit of skin between the neck and breasts (no part of my breasts were showing however) I felt hugely uncomfortable and ended up putting a scarf on. FI’s sister even once claimed to Fiance she could see my panties in what I was wearing which I still have no idea how she managed this – I was wearing thick black tights and a black dress below my knees. I forever feel conscious that SOMETHING is exposed around them. I don’t want to feel like this on my wedding day 🙁
So the question is do I go with the selfish side and wear the dress I love with no alterations whatsoever and let them think whatever they like about me or do I go with the side of me that just wants them to like me. I could always add a jacket or something I suppose even though I feel it would spoil the dress as I love it just as it i,s plus it was also nice to wear and not too hot and heavy which I thought would be ideal for the time of year. Adding a jacket might be a lot less comfortable in that way but maybe more comfortable in another.
The last thing I want is for them to hate me afterwards as it took a long time for them to accept me in the first place and since the nikah things have improved. I have asked Fiance to call them and tell them my dress is strapless to see what the reaction is but so far he hasn’t done it.
Can anyone help please?
Post # 3
- Wedding: June 2014 - Cedar Lake Cellars
Do you have pictures of the dress, so we can see how much it really shows?
Post # 4
If it isn’t an Islamic ceremony (and especially considering you already had one), wear your original dress. Can you post what your dress looks like? I’m wondering how “conservative” your dress is – maybe if you add a bolero or wrap or something for the ceremony you and your family would feel more comfortable. Will your family be there? What do they think about everything?
Post # 5
What if you wore a bolero for the ceremony and just the strapless for the reception? Would they still be upset with this?
I think ultimately it’s your wedding. I feel like most wedding dresses are very modest, even if they’re strapless. I probably would just wear the strapless dress and be happy in it. You’ve already had your nikah for them.
Post # 6
Wow. I admire you for putting up with this. No guy could keep me stiking around if his family treated me like that.
I say wear what you want, especially if Fiance supports you wearing what you want. If he disapporves, I’d think that’s a huge red flag and think you’d need to reconsider things.
I am definitly in favor of not catering to religious people. If wearing somehting that makes you happy bothers them, that is their problem, not yours. If you keep giving in, they’ll just want more, such as you already said they want you to convert. I mean it is a wedding now, but you’re singing up for life.
Stay true to you, if you can’t than you need to get out of this situation.
Post # 7
I married a Muslim the first time around. I had a beautiful spaghetti strap dress and then I had a seamstress create a cropped jacket for me out of matching satin. You could try that as it worked really well for me. She made me a veil that covered my hair too for the ceremony as we had it in the mosque (I’m atheist so it made sense to let him have his religious ceremony)
My unsolicited advice to you is to stay strong in who you are as a person. Don’tgive too much to his family especially when he says you don’t have to. Wearing a hijab most definitely changes your life. Not in a bad or good way but it does change.
I wish you luck girlie!!
Post # 8
I think it is pretty obvious that you have put a lot of thought and effort into your relationship with your in laws. At some point you are going to need to be true to yourself though. It might be with wearing the dress or going to your own church, but at some point you need to be the person the your Fiance fell in love and be true to your own beliefs. you deserve that and your Fiance should want that for you as well.
As far as the dress goes, I would wear some type of jacket over it for the ceremony and then take it off at the reception.
Post # 9
If you are really that worried about offending them, find a cute bolero to cover your shoulders, but really truly, I think you need to do what makes you happy and I love that your Fiance is in your corner. As much as you’re going so above and beyond to respect your FIL’s family and culture, please remember that respect is a two way street. They need to respect that you are not of their culture, and that you have different norms and moral behaviours/attitudes than they do and that’s a-okay. You respect their values when in their environment, and they also need to return the courtesy for you.
Having different cultures is a beautiful and wonderful thing, but learning to repect each other’s cultures and what each entails is integral from both sides of the coin.
Post # 10
@LemonLavender: and @reginaphalange: here is a link to my dress http://www.alfredangelobridal.co.uk/collections/productdisplay.aspx?productID=daa71ef5-9c83-411d-ab6c-b1940c6f6db2&categoryID=0fb8d3ca-5030-43bb-9e1b-90ffb001ae14&pg=1&colorId1=
As you can see there is no cleavage. It does however show my arms. There was one occasion when we were stopping by FI’s younger sister’s house on the way to the beach and I was wearing a sleeveless (not strapless – it just had no sleeves) knee length dress with leggings underneath. There was a huge discussion (whilst I was there) about how I should always cover my armpits (this was before the conversion) and his mother spent the whole time we were there staring at my arms. It was very uncomfotable. I imagine it will be the same sort of reaction.
My parents are extremely peed off by the whole thing. My mother is wearing a sleeveless dress (and so will most people attending I would presume) and got angry with me for even suggesting I cover up my arms a bit more. She feels I am being dominated and controlled with no room for compromise and she gets extremely angry about the whole thing as she feels I’ve done everything to please them but they won’t let me make my own decisions about this wedding. She has threatened to have some strong words with them if they say anything on the day. This doesn’t help anything.
@PinkMagnolia: I appreciate the advice about wearing something for the ceremony – but it wouldn’t just be the ceremony, they would want me to keep covered for the whole time they were present.
@Atalanta: My Fiance actually told me he would be angry if I covered up on the day as he feels this day is my day – his (or his family’s) day was the nikah in his opinion.
@Bunny: We’ve already had the religious marriage. I won’t need to cover my hair. and we’re not getting married in any kind of religious building. But thankyou for your message x
Post # 11
maybe just cover up with a shaw for the ceremony and do pictures and the reception without! Could be a good compromise??
Post # 12
@ieatunicorns: and @bakerella: both lovely messages and great advice so thankyou. I have to reiterate though that it wouldn’t be just wearing something for the ceremony and not the reception – I would have to wear something until the family leaves and I don’t know when that would be. The part about respect being a two way street and having different norms and morals really speaks to me.
I am forever second guessing myself and questioning what is wrong and disrespectful but don’t feel I get the same in return. In fact I am often TOLD by certain family members that this is wrong or that is disrespectful. Even when Fiance speaks up and points out that I should also be respected and so should my culture I am then accused of being “closed-minded” or reminded that I can’t have everything my own way or ordered to “compromise” when I don’t feel this happens on their part whatsoever. A compromise means meeting in the middle but to me it feels like I give in a lot and that is what they feel is a compromise.
Post # 13
@caitlyn1109: sorry to repeat this again but it wouldn’t be a case of covering up for the ceremony but not the reception – they never want me to have my arms on show. They would still be offended at the reception.
Post # 14
It doesn’t sound like they’re willing to compromise… I would just do what makes you happy, especially if Fiance is on your side. You need to draw the line in the sand NOW before you get married or they will continue to try to control your life, especially when you have kids (if you are planning to). Make their boundaries clear now. Good luck.
Post # 15
In that case, you def need to wear your dress how you wll be happiest. It seems like it’s his sister who has issues and it also seems like you’ll never make her happy no matter what you cover up. You cover your arms, she sees panty lines, you cover your panty lines she sees ankles.
As long as you have your FI’s support, then you shouldn’t worry about anything else.
Any bride will tell you that someone is going to be offended by something regarding your wedding no matter what, regardless of religion or culture and that you can’t please everyone so you might as well please yourself.
Post # 16
@Frukaj: and @Atalanta: I think you’re both probably right, I need to be a bit more firm especially as Fiance is 100% behind me. Thankyou both x