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Miss Manners: Trust groom’s mother’s taste in dresses

Wed., March 19, 2014

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother is 70 and plus-size, and the dress that she bought for my wedding is very elegant yet semi-plain. My fiance’s mother is driving me nuts because she would like to wear a ballgown that is bigger than my dress and has a large amount of jewels and gems on the dress.

I believe that she should look elegant and subdued to match my mother’s dress, but she feels she will look matronly. She wants to dress very fancy, but I believe that she is trying to purposely be the center of attention, therefore outshining my mother and also trying to pull attention off of me and onto her.

I know she wants to look good and she does look amazing for her age (51), but I believe this is not the appropriate place. I have talked to her several times and told her that I want her to look elegant and not brothel-esque. I told her no strapless and nothing with too much beading or sequins because she will make my mom look underdressed, and it will seem like the dress is over the top, and she keeps showing me the exact opposite.

Am I being a bridezilla or do I have any merit? How should I approach the situation?

GENTLE READER: By turning around. Instead of approaching, you should be backing off. As you are understandably worried about going over the bend, Miss Manners must tell you the danger signals.

One is believing that you are in total charge of costuming. You can set the standard of formality for your guests and hope for the best; you can state your wishes to the bridesmaids and hope that they consent. You may even be able to dictate to the bridegroom. But to attempt doing so to his mother is as impertinent as it is useless. She is an adult and will use her own judgment, good or bad.

An even worse sign is worrying that someone else will outshine you. There is unlikely to be an occasion in your life when you can be as sure of being the center of attention as at your wedding.

But is that really what will be foremost on your mind when you are being married?


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