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Wedding dress woes

My brother’s girlfriend wants to come to my wedding dress fittings but it’s getting kinda crowded. Am I being unreasonable?

Not at all, says our elder. Stand up for yourself, but do it kindly.

Dear EWC

Thank you for reading my letter. I am getting married next year, and it’s fair to say mother is pretty excited. We recently planned a date — me, her and my future mother-in-law — on when to go shop for my wedding dress. I have six bridesmaids. I feel very blessed to have that many close friends, but I can’t take them all with me to shop for my dress. I feel like I would be overwhelmed with that many people, so despite the fact that several of them have been asking to come along too, I’ve decided to just have the mothers and my maid of honor. My mother’s issue with this is that my brother’s girlfriend was not invited and she thinks that she should be included. I like my brother’s girlfriend — she’s nice and is a good mother to my niece and nephew, but we aren’t really super close since she hasn’t been dating my brother for very long, so I didn’t think to invite her. Apparently the girlfriend is upset that she wasn’t asked to be a bridesmaid and has expressed to my brother and mother that she wanted to be included more. I decided that I would be okay if she came along, but my request was that she ask me herself. I don’t want there to be a middleman in our relationship. I’d rather hear what she wants from her instead of from other people, and I think that’s fair since I have to tell most of my bridesmaids that they can’t come. My mother thinks my request is unreasonable, has accused me of “throwing a temper tantrum akin to a middle school child” and has also threatened to not come herself unless I invite the girlfriend. I was very calm during our discussion, and don’t think that I’ve done anything wrong. Am I being unreasonable?

JanLynn replies

You’re not getting married until next year. Think about how things will be closer to the wedding date if you’re already dealing with threats and demands. It won’t be good unless you set your boundaries now. What I mean by that is you must establish the kind of wedding you want, who you want in it, and go from there. Stick with your decisions. Let me repeat that. Your decisions. Never, ever should you be threatened by your mother or anyone else that if you don’t do something or other they won’t come to the wedding.

I can’t tell you whether your brother’s girlfriend should be a bridesmaid or should go with you to shop for your wedding dress. But I can say this — if it were my wedding, no one would be able to dictate to me how they would be involved in my wedding. Further, I can’t see any reason at all for her to go shopping with you. No doubt she’s pressuring your brother and he, in turn, is pressuring your mother and then she is pressuring you. None of that should be tolerated, to my way of thinking.

I believe the sooner you stand up for yourself and for your wedding, the better. If you don’t, rest assured that others will try to control you in your marriage as well. It won’t stop at the wedding. Learning how to defend your choices now will serve you well going forward in life.

You have decided who will be your bridesmaids, who will be your maid of honor, etc. My advice is for you to stick with that. Also, my advice is for you to stick with the moms and maid of honor as the only people shopping for the wedding dress. However, before they go with you, I strongly suggest that you go shopping by yourself to get an idea of what you want before they’re with you. Otherwise, they most likely will try to lead you in a way that suits them and not necessarily you. That’s simply human nature. They know what they like, but it’s not necessarily what you like. Don’t forget they’ll be leading you toward those dresses. Will that be OK?

I do not think you’re being unreasonable. On the other hand, please don’t become a bride who gets angry with people and who gets into a state where you don’t consider other people’s feelings. While your mom and your brother’s girlfriend aren’t doing what they should, I encourage you to handle them softly and with kindness. At the same time, be firm, saying something like this is all for you and your fiance’s day, where you’ll demonstrate to everyone your love for each other. The day is not for anyone else.

One more thing: I can tell you’re really leaning to having your brother’s girlfriend go along for the dress. Think about what that might cause. Your bridesmaids are not going to be happy that they weren’t asked, and for good reason. They’re your chosen attendants, yet someone who isn’t part of the bridal party could possibly be the deciding factor for the dress. See what something like that could cause? Just a thought.

I hope a few of my thoughts will be helpful for you in deciding what to do. Please, please, do what you and fiance want to do, always being a unit, with each other over everyone else. Too often, a bride gets into the mode of the wedding day, wanting this or that, and she forgets the reason for the wedding, to get married to the love of her life. That’s the important part.

All good wishes for your upcoming marriage.

Letter #: 448570
Category: Family

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