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#1
Old 05-20-2015, 06:20 AM
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Wedding dress on wedding guest?

I was reading an advice column about a woman whose future mother-in-law intended to wear her wedding dress to the wedding. At least one other person wrote a comment about a friend who showed up at her wedding in a wedding dress. Frankly, this sounds like a sitcom setup to me, so I've got to ask: Have you been to a wedding where a guest showed up in a foofy white dress and veil? Or have you heard from a reliable source about such a thing happening?

I'm going to my niece's wedding in June and I still haven't figured out what to wear - maybe this is the answer!




OK, just kidding about that last comment. I eloped, so I didn't have a foofy white dress. So, wait, now's my chance...
#2
Old 05-20-2015, 07:09 AM
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I have never heard of that happening, but if you decide to do it - photos will not be enough, we will require video of the bride's reaction!
#3
Old 05-20-2015, 07:30 AM
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I have had a habit of collecting odd behaviours for the past several decades and although I do not make a special effort to notice weird weddings, I have never heard or seen of this happening.

One would think there would be YouTube "Why would she wear that?" videos if anyone wore a traditional wedding gown to someone else's wedding.
#4
Old 05-20-2015, 08:04 AM
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I think I'd have genuinely considered calling the wedding off rather than marry into a family with a mother-in-law as nuts as that. Who *does* that? Who even *thinks* of doing that?\

Luckily my mother-in-law is sane, and wouldn't have dreamt of coming to our wedding in her wedding dress. The symbolism alone would be too weird!
#5
Old 05-20-2015, 08:04 AM
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Weddings cost a fortune, so it makes a lot of sense to have an alternate on hand in case the bride gets cold feet.
#6
Old 05-20-2015, 08:15 AM
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What do you bring as a gift to such a wedding, Hers & Hers towels?
#7
Old 05-20-2015, 08:16 AM
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Someone has to be the first in order for a new tradition to happen. At one point it was considered gauche to wear "dinner jackets" (tuxedos) instead of tails to a formal ceremony like a wedding. Someone started doing it. Maybe that someone was mentally off, so maybe we need crazy people to push on our traditions.
#8
Old 05-20-2015, 08:18 AM
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For security purposes, I can see the point of having a decoy bride.
#9
Old 05-20-2015, 08:22 AM
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Wedding dress on wedding guest?

By the way, I read that column and the advice was along the lines of have the groom make it clear to his mother that this is a weird thing to do.

But Prudence summed up her advice the way she always does web it comes to wedding guests—if a guest does something weird at your wedding, just enjoy it as something to be remembered.

In my own view, people need to fucking relax about weddings and not treat them like performances in which every participant's actions are scripted and controlled.

Last edited by Acsenray; 05-20-2015 at 08:23 AM.
#10
Old 05-20-2015, 08:28 AM
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I've never seen a guest show up in a wedding dress, but I did once attend a wedding where the mother of the groom was dressed in such a way that it was obvious she was trying to show up the bride. The bride was wearing a pretty wedding dress and her new MIL was wearing this midnight blue gown covered in swarovski crystals, something I would have expected to see underneath a Miss America sash. She looked like she belonged on the red carpet at the Met gala, not at her son's wedding.
#11
Old 05-20-2015, 08:40 AM
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It's the bride's day.
How incredibly rude and tacky to try to show her up or compete with her.
I would think any woman who tried to do so is a bitch and deserves to be scorned for it.
#12
Old 05-20-2015, 08:47 AM
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  • NO ONE EXCEPT THE BRIDE may wear white to a wedding
  • The groom and the groomsmen may wear black as long as they are in formal wear (tuxedos)
  • NO ONE ELSE may wear black
  • No one may try to out-shine the bride. That is tacky to the point of taking the offender aside and correcting them in a shocked whisper.
Thus spake Shodan's mother, Grand High Arbiter of All That Is Done And Not Done.

I tremble to think of how she would react to the sight of someone other than the bride wearing a wedding dress to a wedding.

Regards,
Shodan
#13
Old 05-20-2015, 09:01 AM
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Or we could react graciously and understand that it reflects badly on them, not on us. But this is hard to do in our twenties.

Now I wouldn't care who wore what. Just come and celebrate!
#14
Old 05-20-2015, 09:55 AM
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There's no way that this is true. Sounds to me like the letter-writer got wooshed by an overly-playful MIL.
#15
Old 05-20-2015, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
  • NO ONE ELSE may wear black
I agreed with everything else, but dafuq? No black jackets or black ties among the guests? No black dresses for an evening wedding? This is a bizarre rule to me.

Afternoon wedding, yes, black dresses are not correct, but as a blanket rule this is way outside my experience.

---


Anyway, my mother decided to wear a white outfit to my wedding. White shirt, white pants, white shoes. She did have a blue jacket on, but still. I had no idea she was planning on doing that. Neither did the rest of the family. It's a great credit to my wife that she didn't kill my mother on the spot, because boy was the bride livid.

Of course, we no longer talk to my crazy, narcissitic mother at all, but that was after a long string of second chances she probably didn't deserve. Wearing white to the wedding was just another in a long list of antagonistic things she did.
#16
Old 05-20-2015, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by yellowjacketcoder View Post
I agreed with everything else, but dafuq? No black jackets or black ties among the guests? No black dresses for an evening wedding? This is a bizarre rule to me.
This Isn't Done.

Regards,
Shodan's Mother
#17
Old 05-20-2015, 11:05 AM
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People really get wound up about other people's clothing, and sometimes it's warranted. At my daughter's wedding, her husband's half-brother showed up in shorts, a polo shirt, and boat shoes. He was very attractive in the family portrait next to the gowns and formal wear. At my aunt's funeral, her son-in-law came in pilly polyester pants, a baggy polo shirt, and very, very worn out hushpuppies - definitely tacky.

I'd never show up at a fancy event in torn jeans and a misshapen t-shirt, but having to get a fancy dress and all the accessories has me leaning toward declining such invites. Unfortunately, I can't blow off my niece's wedding. And since I don't have a wedding gown of my own, I need to find something nicer than my usual slacks and sorta nice tops. Just the thought of wearing a dress makes me cringe. Apparently I lost out in the girly-gene department.

Oh, and at my daughter's afternoon wedding, all of her attendants wore black dresses - each had a sash of a different color. They looked very nice.
#18
Old 05-20-2015, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Sahirrnee View Post
It's the bride's day.

No. This is the kind of meme that fuels misogynistic tropes like "Bridezillas." It is not the bride's day. It's everybody's day to celebrate the union of the couple.

It is a celebration of a new link in the chain of the entire social group. It is a celebration of family and society that is represented by this new couple.

It is not a coronation or an ascension in which the bride is worshipped and revered as a individual apart from her social group.

Whatever else one might say about appropriate etiquette at a wedding, we need to dump this toxic meme that it's the "bride's day."
#19
Old 05-20-2015, 11:08 AM
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Rather odd for a groom to marry both his bride and his mother at the same time.
#20
Old 05-20-2015, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
This Isn't Done.
Another vote for it being done all the time and it being just fine.
#21
Old 05-20-2015, 11:17 AM
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I went to a science fiction themed wedding once in which several guests were wearing Star Wars movie Princess Leia costumes which is basically a long, white dress though not specifically a wedding dress. Since the bride was wearing blue and silver, it seemed cool, but that is probably the only case I can think of in which white to a wedding was appropriate.
#22
Old 05-20-2015, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
People really get wound up about other people's clothing, and sometimes it's warranted. At my daughter's wedding, her husband's half-brother showed up in shorts, a polo shirt, and boat shoes. He was very attractive in the family portrait next to the gowns and formal wear. At my aunt's funeral, her son-in-law came in pilly polyester pants, a baggy polo shirt, and very, very worn out hushpuppies - definitely tacky.
Depends. At my wedding, my new brother-in-law's luggage was lost by the airline, so all he had was the clothes he was traveling in. Seeing as how his wife was the maid of honor, he was in almost every photo, dressed in jeans, sneakers, t-shirt and a leather flight jacket.

But he wasn't trying to outshine the bride, of course.
#23
Old 05-20-2015, 11:24 AM
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I disagree with Shodan's mother. There was a time when all men wore the same level of formality as the groom. A tuxedo, or a dinner jacket, wasn't a "wedding uniform," it was just the semi-formal, or formal dress for the evening, and all men of a certain social class owned and wore them. My father owned a set of formal wear, because some of the university functions he attended required it (this was in the 50s-70s-- by the 80s, people mostly just wore suits). A man is upstaging the wedding party only if he is dressed more formally-- for example, if they are wearing regular suits, and a guest shows up in white tie and tails.

Personally, I don't like wedding dresses, and I didn't even wear one at my own wedding, but yeah, the bride does have the option of a ridiculously expensive and impractical garment that has a tradition of about 200 years (Queen Victoria wore a white dress at her wedding, and people have been copying it ever since), and anyone wearing all-white at a wedding, who is not the bride, is going to look foolish, particularly if it isn't the season for white. I'm not sure why anyone would want to do that.

If it's the season for white, and a woman wears some white, like a white blouse with a skirt of some other color, to a day time wedding (particularly if she has some kind of vest, bodice, or jacket of another color), there's nothing wrong with that. It's my understanding that black evening dresses for women, or black suits that are not formal wear, which would be fine at an ordinary cocktail party, are frowned upon by some people as wedding wear, because anything that might be seen as mourning clothes are inappropriate. You are not supposed to suggest that you are staging some kind of objection to the wedding by being in mourning. Considering that a lot of people no longer wear black to funerals, though, I wonder if black at a wedding would register on guests as mourning the event, even if it were intended that way.
#24
Old 05-20-2015, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
No. This is the kind of meme that fuels misogynistic tropes like "Bridezillas." It is not the bride's day. It's everybody's day to celebrate the union of the couple.

It is a celebration of a new link in the chain of the entire social group. It is a celebration of family and society that is represented by this new couple.

It is not a coronation or an ascension in which the bride is worshipped and revered as a individual apart from her social group.

Whatever else one might say about appropriate etiquette at a wedding, we need to dump this toxic meme that it's the "bride's day."
Yeah. Double yeah.
#25
Old 05-20-2015, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Muffin View Post
Rather odd for a groom to marry both his bride and his mother at the same time.
Not at all, if they're the same person.
#26
Old 05-20-2015, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
I disagree with Shodan's mother.
This also Isn't Done.

Regards,
Shodan
#27
Old 05-20-2015, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
In my own view, people need to fucking relax about weddings and not treat them like performances in which every participant's actions are scripted and controlled.
I'm good with that, by and large. Which is why, when a member of a family that's been friends of ours for decades decided on a "no children" policy for her wedding and reception, we sent our regrets.

But there are limits. There are always limits. "No shirt, no shoes, no service" at a grocery or convenience store is a limit. And at a wedding, yeah, the bride is the only one who gets to show up in something that looks like a wedding gown. An attempt to confuse that with Bridezilla shit is absurd. It's not even in the same arm of the Milky Way as that sort of thing.
#28
Old 05-20-2015, 11:48 AM
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Not wearing white to a wedding? Is this an American custom? B/c it's the first time I've heard of it. I remember seeing quite a few guest at the British Royal wedding who were wearing white.

I understand not wearing a long formal fluffy wedding dress. But what if you're wearing a simple white sun dress to an summer wedding that's in the afternoon. Is that also inappropriate?
Why can't you wear white? no one's going to to confuse you with the bride.
#29
Old 05-20-2015, 11:54 AM
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Because I'm your mother, and I raised you better than that.

Regards,
Shodan's Mother, Wielder of the Disapproving Gaze. Trust me, you do not want the Disapproving Gaze.
#30
Old 05-20-2015, 12:01 PM
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The mother of the bride or groom wearing a wedding gown sounds completely inappropriate to me. But on the other hand, it also has always struck me as incredibly wasteful to spend all that money on a dress you're only going to wear once. I'd think a young couple getting started could find better uses for that money. Oh, and are there any statistics on how many brides actually dream about getting married in the dresses their mothers got married in?

As for black being a no-no, why? At the wedding at one of my high school buddy's children (he has 4, I don't remember which one), the bride wore white and the bridesmaids wore black knee length sleeveless dresses. I thought they looked just fine and also thought they could be worn again, unlike some bridesmaid dresses that end up on a hanger in a closet for years before they go to the consignment store.

But I'm a guy, and we just don't have the genes to understand this stuff, I guess.
#31
Old 05-20-2015, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Drunky Smurf View Post
Not at all, if they're the same person.
Yeah, wedding etiquette in West Virginia might be a little different. I'm sure the Hapsburgs had their own set of wedding etiquette rules, too.
#32
Old 05-20-2015, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
And since I don't have a wedding gown of my own, I need to find something nicer than my usual slacks and sorta nice tops. Just the thought of wearing a dress makes me cringe. Apparently I lost out in the girly-gene department.
Same here! I have to go to one in June and am thinking -- usual slacks and a more fun top than normal. Luckily it is being held in a barn and looks to be pretty casual (best man has been instructed to wear pants and shirt, no tie). I would seriously consider declining a fancy wedding.
#33
Old 05-20-2015, 12:07 PM
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I kinda wonder (not having seen the article) if the MILs wedding dress was just a regular evening dress or evening suit? maybe something she wore for a (recent) 2nd wedding? There have always been women who get married in a off-the-rack dress from the department store, not necessarily white in color. Actually my dress was white but it was ordered from Macy's evening wear department, didn't have a train and looked like something you might pack for a cruise. I wouldn't wear it to a wedding but if we had a formal party to go to I might add a pink scarf and wear it.

I mean, wearing your original white wedding dress just seems to off-the-wall to actually be true.

Last edited by sugar and spice; 05-20-2015 at 12:08 PM.
#34
Old 05-20-2015, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
People really get wound up about other people's clothing, and sometimes it's warranted. At my daughter's wedding, her husband's half-brother showed up in shorts, a polo shirt, and boat shoes. ...
Down here the boat shoes would be the conclusive sign of a seriously formal wedding. For more ordinary weddings it'd be sneakers.
#35
Old 05-20-2015, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
This also Isn't Done.

Regards,
Shodan
That's OK, we can have her discuss the issue with Nava's Grandmother and her multiple Cousins. Abuelita's, not mine.




I wouldn't have a problem if my aunt came to my wedding in her own wedding clothes, but that's because she got married in a red suit If someone came to my wedding in some sort of white poofy getup and it wasn't another bride or a first communion girl, I expect the guests would be checking if there are any reported escapees from the nearest psychiatric hospitals...
#36
Old 05-20-2015, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
I'm good with that, by and large. Which is why, when a member of a family that's been friends of ours for decades decided on a "no children" policy for her wedding and reception, we sent our regrets.

But there are limits. There are always limits. "No shirt, no shoes, no service" at a grocery or convenience store is a limit. And at a wedding, yeah, the bride is the only one who gets to show up in something that looks like a wedding gown. An attempt to confuse that with Bridezilla shit is absurd. It's not even in the same arm of the Milky Way as that sort of thing.
My sentiments exactly. There's a vast spectrum between "the entire day is completely about the bride and no one else, period" and "it shows poor manners to intentionally do things to show up the bride and groom." For example, I think it's tacky for a guest to announce an engagement during a wedding, since IMO it's an attempt to divert the celebration. One can respect that a celebration is fundamentally about the two people getting married without having to "worship" the bride.

Yes, a wedding is a community getting together to celebrate a new union, but it's also typically a party thrown by (or at least for) the bride and groom. IME it's inappropriate to call large amounts of attention to yourself, for example by wearing something especially gaudy (e.g. a wedding dress), by announcing that you just got engaged, by getting in a loud fight with someone, or by getting obnoxiously drunk and creating a disturbance. It's not about worshiping the bride, it's about being a good guest.

My fiancée is the polar opposite of a Bridezilla (wherein the idea of trying to have the perfect wedding actively stresses her out), but you can bet she (and I) would be pissed if one of our guests made a major spectacle of themselves. IME, wearing a wedding dress when you're not the bride counts. I would also say that a man wearing a tophat and tails when the groom is in a standard tux or suit would also count.

Last edited by oft wears hats; 05-20-2015 at 12:18 PM.
#37
Old 05-20-2015, 12:30 PM
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I'm hardly the world's expert on wedding dresses, but aren't some wedding dresses made up of multiple parts? Could it be that MIL stripped away the more frilly parts (including the veil and train, of course) so that it wasn't the entire ensemble?
#38
Old 05-20-2015, 12:33 PM
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Shodan's mother must have never been invited to a black tie wedding where formal attire is expected of all guests. Most men wear black tux's so precluding black tux's being worn by guests would inappropriate and tacky to say the least.
#39
Old 05-20-2015, 12:38 PM
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I wore my wedding dress to my brother's wedding. Of course, my wedding dress is a green raw silk shift from Banana Republic...
#40
Old 05-20-2015, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
An attempt to confuse that with Bridezilla shit is absurd. It's not even in the same arm of the Milky Way as that sort of thing.

I in no way "attempted to confuse" the question of attire at a wedding with "Bridezilla shit." My mention of Bridezilla was specifically on response to the "it's the bride's day" trope.

I'll note that whenever folks write t Prudence about stuff like this—people worried that wedding guests are going to do X—her response is almost always along the lines of "forget about it, concentrate on what's important, and be glad to have funny stories to tell when you're old."

Sometimes she agrees that there's something off about it—like the groom' smother showing up in a wedding dress. Sometimes she disagrees that there's anything wrong about it at all—like a close friend who is likely to get drunk off her ass and use crude at the reception.

The point she always makes is that worrying about what every single person might do is not the point. If someone makes a fool of himself of herself then that's on that person. The bride or anyone else needs only to worry about her own conduct and to keep her eye on what's important about the occasion, not on policing every single person's behavior.

It's a party and a celebration. It's a social occasion. That means society. That mean [i]other people[/]. And that's people as people, in all their fucked up messy glory, not as mere props or set decoration in a play.

If that means photographs in which someone is uncoordinated in attire, that should be valued as an honest recording if the foibles of that one person, that family, or that occasion.

And if it means another couple announcing their engagement, that should be cherished above all, that two couples in this social groups can share this occasion as one of delight and happiness and love. The bride and groom should feel nothing but honor that such a thing could happen at their wedding.

A wedding should be about opening oneself up to the happiness of everyone on the social group, not a narrow, jealous, parsimonious focus on "the bride's day" and a withered, paranoid fear of doing anything that might detract from some fiction that during a wedding, life and love is put on pause for everyone but the one bride and the one groom.

Yes, they're the central couple in the celebration, but they should not seek to claim some right in being the sole couple of the occasion and that everyone else should be strictly restricted to the role of backdrop.

I attended a beautiful wedding in which the bride wore a nice dress, the groom wore a nice suit, and the best man—the groom's uncle—wore a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, sandals, and a big floppy hat with a rainbow flag button, because that's the kind of guy he was and his family loved him and valued him for himself. They wanted him to be there as himself, wearing what he felt comfortable wearing, not in a false persona of someone forced to wear a costume he hated.
#41
Old 05-20-2015, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Shodan's mother must have never been invited to a black tie wedding where formal attire is expected of all guests. Most men wear black tux's so precluding black tux's being worn by guests would inappropriate and tacky to say the least.
Oooooh... etiquette smack-down!!
#42
Old 05-20-2015, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I in no way "attempted to confuse" the question of attire at a wedding with "Bridezilla shit." My mention of Bridezilla was specifically on response to the "it's the bride's day" trope.
You do realize we can go back and read what you said earlier, right?

What you said, that I quoted, was:
Quote:
In my own view, people need to fucking relax about weddings and not treat them like performances in which every participant's actions are scripted and controlled.
That was two posts before the first mention of "it's the bride's day."

Treating weddings "like performances in which every participant's actions are scripted and controlled" - maybe you didn't use the word 'Bridezilla' in that post, but you described the condition aptly enough. It wasn't like you were saying anything new by using the word itself later.
#43
Old 05-20-2015, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Shodan's mother must have never been invited to a black tie wedding where formal attire is expected of all guests. Most men wear black tux's so precluding black tux's being worn by guests would inappropriate and tacky to say the least.
On the other hand, Shodan's mother knows that the plural of "tux" is "tuxes".
#44
Old 05-20-2015, 01:42 PM
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nm. Forgot to refresh. Again. Sigh.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 05-20-2015 at 01:43 PM.
#45
Old 05-20-2015, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
You do realize we can go back and read what you said earlier, right?



What you said, that I quoted, was:

That was two posts before the first mention of "it's the bride's day."



Treating weddings "like performances in which every participant's actions are scripted and controlled" - maybe you didn't use the word 'Bridezilla' in that post, but you described the condition aptly enough. It wasn't like you were saying anything new by using the word itself later.

I think I've said enough about my feelings in this matter to make any response to this superfluous.
#46
Old 05-20-2015, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
No. This is the kind of meme that fuels misogynistic tropes like "Bridezillas." It is not the bride's day. It's everybody's day to celebrate the union of the couple.

It is a celebration of a new link in the chain of the entire social group. It is a celebration of family and society that is represented by this new couple.

It is not a coronation or an ascension in which the bride is worshipped and revered as a individual apart from her social group.

Whatever else one might say about appropriate etiquette at a wedding, we need to dump this toxic meme that it's the "bride's day."
This and "a pedestrian has the right of way" are both correct.

In theory.

I'll leave it to the reader to decide the risk of trying to enforce either in reality. Oddly enough, though, the results will likely be the same...

Last edited by Doctor Jackson; 05-20-2015 at 02:10 PM.
#47
Old 05-20-2015, 02:46 PM
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Some wedding dresses are understated. So I could see a clueless but well-intentioned mother-in-law thinking her dress wouldn't necessarily overshadow the bride's.

However, the pictures. The bride, understandably, wants to be the one wearing white so that she stands out. It's not about being Bridezilla. It's about wanting your picture to look the way you want it to.

I say the only way it wouldn't be tacky is if the mother-in-law asked bride and groom if it was alright and they gave their consent enthusiastically. But I think if you've got to ask if something it's alright, you're probably skirting the edge of appropriateness.
#48
Old 05-20-2015, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffin View Post
Weddings cost a fortune, so it makes a lot of sense to have an alternate on hand in case the bride gets cold feet.
This can often be prevented if the bride wears sufficiently thick stockings under her dress.
#49
Old 05-20-2015, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drunky Smurf View Post
Not at all, if they're the same person.
Oedipus, is that you?
#50
Old 05-20-2015, 05:23 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Falls Church, Va.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gigi View Post
On the other hand, Shodan's mother knows that the plural of "tux" is "tuxes".
I thought it was "tuxen."
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