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Bride’s dress not concern of aunt

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My niece will be getting married in a few months. Her fiance is wonderful, but his mother is known to have some control issues.

She offered her wedding dress to my niece, saying (as she wept) that she didn’t have a daughter (she has three sons) and that there was no pressure. My niece has decided to wear the dress after having it altered, in an effort to please her future mother-in-law.

My niece’s mother doesn’t want to cause any problems, so she is staying out of it. I am of the opinion that it was entirely inappropriate to put my niece in such an awkward position.

Was it appropriate for her to make such a request? While she may not have a daughter, my niece’s mother does, and the request from the future mother-in-law was, in my opinion, an insult to my niece’s mother.

Is there anything to be done, or should I just stay out of it?

GENTLE READER: Your case for staying in must be that unlike the bride, you do not care to please the mother-in-law, and unlike the bride’s mother, you do not mind causing problems. So – speaking of control issues – you propose taking control.

Frankly, Miss Manners thought the tearful offer of the dress touching. She cannot imagine how it could be construed as an insult to the bride’s mother, unless the bride was going to wear that lady’s dress, and the mother-in-law demanded that she wear hers instead.

In any case, it is neither prudent nor kind to attempt thwarting the wishes and overturning the decisions of three people more closely concerned than you.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email, dearmissmanners; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.