Post # 1
I have a weird situation.
My mom is wearing a $65 black dress from Dress Barn to our wedding. I helped her pick it out and she looks beautiful in it.
My FMIL specifically told me that she would like me to approve what she wears to the wedding. The only request I had for her was to also be in black, to match my mom. We had originally planned to go shopping together for it, but she canceled last weekend. Then she wanted to go today – and canceled again.
I just got a call from FMIL that she had found and fallen in love with a dress at Nordstrom. Despite canceling the shopping with me, I am not upset that she went alone – I can understand the difference between popping in to look around and going for a full on shopping date with your future daughter. She put it on hold and asked me to go down and look at it. I called in and got the information to look it up online – totally not thinking about the fact that my mom was here to see what it looked like…
Well ladies – Although I’m not thrilled with the fact that it’s Navy (doesn’t that sort of clash with Black, Dark Purple, Sage Green and such?) It’s beautiful. I mean, really, over the top amazingly formal, $500+ beautiful. As in, it has a train, is taffeta and has ruching and beading. By comparison, my mom will be in a black polyester dress with glue on glitter and a black poly bolero.
My mom looked over, saw the photo, and started to cry. She feels totally upstaged. I love my mom to pieces and know her well – she’s broke, for starters – so her son had to by her dress which I know was probably pretty humiliating. She hasn’t been able to contribute at all to anything (my FMIL doesn’t know that everything my mom arrived with at the shower yesterday was purchased on my dollar.) On top of that, she’s insecure and overweight (my FMIL is thin and very attractive for her age.) I could see it made her feel awful – and I wished I had considered that in the split second that all this happened, but I really didn’t… Bad daughter…
I’d like to ask FMIL to choose something a little less formal and also in black. She DID ask me to go look and tell her by Wednesday what I thought of it…
What would you do?
Post # 3
Wow, you are definitely not wrong in being upset about this. It is YOUR day and you should be, BY FAR the most elegant person on that day. I think you should tell her that it is a bit too formal for the atmosphere of your wedding and you were hoping for something with a bit less flash. What a terrible position to be in. I feel for you. I feel awful for your mom too but don’t feel like a bad daughter, you definitely aren’t. Unfortunately, given what you said about your mom’s insecurities and the differences between her and your FMIL, I feel like your mom may feel upstaged no matter what dress your FMIL chooses…even if they were wearing the same dress. The FMIL does not need such a fancy dress, period. But I think maybe you should try to help your mom with her insecurity issues if that’s possible. Has she tried to lose weight? I’m sure she looks great as is but it obviously is contributing to her insecurity so maybe that would help. If you (or someone else) are able to pay for her to have her hair and nails done, makeup too if possible, maybe that would help her to feel more beautiful on your big day. Also, put her in some fab jewelry, doesn’t need to be expensive, but a fun statement piece would add a lot to a simple black dress.
Good luck! What a tough situation…
Post # 4
I’d call FMIL and tell her how beautiful the dress is but you’d really like her to wear something less formal and black. I feel really bad for your mom that she feels so upstaged. It makes me want to cry right now. Unfortunately, unless you tell FMIL exactly what to wear she may end up spending the same amount of money or maybe even more on another dress. Maybe there is something special you can do for your mom on that day to make her feel just as worthy? Maybe have her makeup done or her hair styled? It’s just my opinion but the mother of the bride always holds a more special place at the wedding anyway so no matter what she wears or how much its costs she’s the MOTHER OF THE BRIDE and that alone sets her apart.
Post # 5
I don’t know… I kind of feel like your FMIL should not be forced to pass up a dress she loves because of your mothers financial situation and insecurities about her body. This is a big day for your FMIL just like it’s a big day for your mom.. they are both seeing their children get married. Unless your FMIL is asking to wear white I think you should just let her wear what she wants. Even though she did ask for your approval… she will probably be hurt if you tell her you don’t like her selection. And she will be quite nervous about picking something else since you didn’t support her first choice. I would let your FMIL wear what she wants and just make sure to remind your mother how beautiful she looks and that it’s not about a comparison.
PS. Don’t worry about colors clashing. It’s really not a big deal and you won’t notice in pics. My bridesmaids were in purple, my MIL was in brown, and my mom was a in bright turquoise and our pictures are beautiful.
Post # 6
I think you should ask her to find something else. Perhaps show her a picture of what your mother is wearing to give her some guidelines. Unless you are having a black-tie event, her dress sounds like a little too much. And it is the wrong color. Even if she doesn’t want to wear black, you do have a nice palette to choose from. It’s a little tricky because she loves it but it sounds like you have a decent relationship with her so hopefully she’ll get back on track.
BTW–You are not a bad daughter. It sounds like you are being really considerate of everyone’s feelings. Not an easy thing to do.
Look on the bright side–my wedding is 19 days away and my FMIL hasn’t even thought about what she’s going to wear…
Post # 7
Awww my heart goes out to your mom 🙁
Tell her, no matter what, she is the MOB and no one can upstage that!
Black is super flatterring and will look very elegant in pictures (no matter the fabric used). A beaming smile will complete the look and that is all people will see.
Back to the dress, your FMIL is asking your opinion so if you feel comfortable asking her to wear something in black and less formal, I would say go ahead and give her your honest opinion. Maybe something along the lines that it is much more formal than your mom’s dress? She might get the hint on that. Also, could your FI subtly mention that it is much more formal?
Post # 8
I’d honestly tell you to pull out your credit card and help your Mom find something else she’ll feel better about wearing. It would be nice to think she wouldn’t be bothered being upstaged, but in reality, it may totally ruin the day for her if she’s already cried seeing the other dress.
There’s still time for her to find something, and lots of dresses at Nordstrom are half that price and look well made.
Post # 9
This is not a competition about the cost of a dress. An insecure person will still feel insecure in a dress 10x the cost.
I’m with Moose on this one. Your FMIL has every right to have a dress that she loves. If you must, mention that it is quite a bit more formal than your mom’s, but it is a lovely dress. Leave it to her to make the adjustment, if she feels she should.
Again, this is not a competition. Obviously your FIL’s have more money for these things, and really, who cares? If you make it about money and “looks” now, there will never be an end to this nonsense.
Post # 10
Tell your FMIL that it is truly a beautiful dress but that you’re concerned because its not black and that its much more formal than your mother’s black dress. Tell her its up to her, but if she’s asking your opinion, maybe she could keep looking?
She can find something else.
Post # 11
I don’t consider it ‘nonsense’ if her Mother is upset. We aren’t here to psychoanalyze her insecurities, but are trying to help with a solution. The OP brought up the costs and the compared embellishments, so at that point I can understand her Mom’s feeling bad about it. Would you feel happy in a cheaper dress while the other Mother looks glammed up? I certainly wouldn’t.
Post # 12
While I think your FMIL has every right to wear something that makes her feel beautiful, she should also stick to the guidelines you gave her since she did ask for them. If you’d like her in black, that isn’t such a difficult request.
Maybe tell her that while it’s a beautiful dress, you’d really like her to wear black and then show her some other options from Nordstrom’s that are black that you think she may like. She can still get a very nice Nordstrom dress without being super-overdressed when compared to your mother. Here’s one I found that is beautiful, still formal but no train, beading, etc.
Post # 13
Here are a couple more beautiful but more toned down options from Nordstrom.
Post # 15
I would tell your FMIL that while you love the dress she picked out, but you’r afraid she may look too formal and gently push her towards more sensible, black dresses.