(Closed) Issue about covered/uncovered shoulders with FMIL

posted 10 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
8351 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2011

If I were you, I would have the girls wear wraps and I would wear the bolero, just because it is a church and it is a sign of respect, in my opinion. It is totally up to you though. I think that if you do have your girls wear wraps and you wear a bolero it will not only show respect for the church, but also to your Future Mother-In-Law, even though these are “modern times”.

Post # 4
419 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I am going to cover mine with a bolero (not only because its mass but because I hate my arms lol) and have my bridesmaids wear shawls. The flowergirls have a wide strap dress and my mom commented about that but I think since they are so little it’ll be okay, besides they would not keep a shawl or bolero on — especially in May in Houston. Several of my wedding party are Arab Catholics and Orthodox and they are more conservative… I stilll veil for mass, for example. Even I am a rarity in that regard now…

Post # 5
5822 posts
Bee Keeper

I think it’s best to have your Fiance broach this.  Or you could just cover your shoulders for the ceremony then take off the bolero and wraps for all the pictures.  She shouldn’t have a problem with that.  (Well she could, but she can’t say “the church” has a problem with it, so the problem would be all hers.)  I think it’s a little much for HER to be dictating your decision, especially if you’ve checked and your church doesn’t mind.  You can do it to shut her up, or not do it and risk ticking her off…it depends on how much friction you want to create (and whether or not she’ll use this as a springboard to make comments about all your other decisions).  Good luck!

Post # 6
401 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I would cover my shoulders up. to be honest if you would not show up to church on a regular worship day with a strapless dress then you should not do it on the wedding day…Just wear a bolero and then take it off. It is out of respect not only to Future Mother-In-Law but to the church. the bridesmaid should also cover up.

Post # 8
1046 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

View original reply
@starry: You seem like you’ve already made your decision about this. I agree with other posters that if you wouldn’t wear a strapless dress to church on any other day, probably shouldn’t for a wedding. I don’t think it matters what religion your BMs are. You are the bride and have final say about what they wear, and it’s important to make sure that it is appropriate for the venue. Play safe and wear the wraps–you can take them off for the reception.

Post # 9
1032 posts
Bumble bee

I think it is a sign of respect, and if you are already wearing a bolero, your BM’s will understand and wear wraps for the liturgy. I really can’t imagine being a Bridesmaid or Best Man and complaining about/refusing to wear a wrap.

I am a huge believer in picking your battles, and I just don’t understand battling over it when you already said you are providing them with wraps. You have so much to be happy about!! I would do it just to make her happy, I mean its less than an hour and it will save many hours of frustration ahead of time! It just doesn’t seem worth fighting over to me. 

Post # 10
1508 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

From the other side:

I wore a strapless A-line gown and my BMs wore strapless long gowns. Yes, our shoulders were exposed, but I think we were showing much less skin than many ladies do in summer sun dresses in church.

Our ceremony was a full Catholic Mass.


Post # 11
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I’m getting married in a Catholic Church with a strapless dress, and my bridesmaids are wearing strapless dresses…  it’s whatever you feel comfortable with (since there’s no policy to adhere to).

Post # 12
126 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I’m going to go against the grain and agree with kayakgirl73.

You asked the church about their protocol and are following what they requested. If your Future Mother-In-Law has a problem with it, you and Fiance should talk to her an explain you don’t think you’re being disrespectful (provided that’s the case). I’m sure your gown is beautiful and that you don’t mean any disrespect to the church or anyone else by exposing your shoulders.

Wear what you feel comfortable doing and what you want to be dressed in when you and your Fiance join together at the altar.



Post # 13
593 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Agree with kayakgirl and shanbrice. I was just at a full Catholic Mass wedding and the bride & bridemaids wore strapless. Nothing too low-cut. Shoulders aren’t evil!

Post # 14
318 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I guess I don’t equate bare shoulders with dressing inappropriately.  I would have no problems wearing strapless or thinly strapped to a wedding or a regular mass.  

I would give the BM’s the wraps and let them decide to wear them or not.  Or if you want them to all look the same, then have them all wear them.


Post # 15
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

Maybe it would help frame things if I gave a bit of history:  before Vatican II (the 1960’s) women were forbidden to enter a church without a hat or with bare knees or shoulders (or anything in between bare).  In fact, that’s still the rule today in Europe and much of South America (not so much the hat, but the shoulders and knees).  See here for the entry requirement to St. Peter’s:


Since the 1960’s, the “rules” have been receding and common sense is used more often in US churches.  But some people are still stuck in the church they grew up in (rather than the church as it is today). 

If the priest and and the wedding coordinator of the church don’t have a problem, then there is no problem.

Post # 16
3176 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I was in a wedding recently and it was a full catholic mass. Our Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses were strapless and above the knee, the priest came to speak to the bride before the wedding and mentioned to all the girls how lovely we looked. I didn’t even think about it before this. I think if your church is ok with it (which it sounds like they are) and you want them to be w/o a wrap you are fine, just mention to you Future Mother-In-Law that even though the dresses are strapless they are appropriate.

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