Wedding Family Matters: Can I Tell Groom's Mother What to Wear?

Q: My future mother-in-law has no idea how to dress. We went shopping, and she bought a white cotton dress to wear to my wedding! I didn't have the heart to tell her at the time that she shouldn't wear that dress. My mother is wearing a very classy midnight blue evening gown. How do I politely tell my future mother-in-law that her dress is not appropriate for the wedding?

A: Well, the best scenario would have been for you to explain in the store that she and your mom should be similarly dressed. And you also might have mentioned that according to tradition, only the bride should wear white. But it's too late for all that. Depending on your relationship with her, maybe you can sit down with her and explain now. Let her know that generally the two moms' dresses are equally formal, so really she should wear a more formal dress to the ceremony -- and that you'll help her pick it out. Suggest that she wear the white dress instead to the rehearsal dinner or the postwedding brunch, if there will be one. Chances are she'll agree. If you're uncomfortable with that, ask your fiance to talk to her; better yet, if he has a sister, let her sort it out with her mom. If your fiance's mom reacts defensively and says that she's wearing the white dress, you may just have to grin and bear it. Don't obsess over it, though. It's not worth starting off your new relationship with her on the wrong foot.


Up Next
Stepparents: Can I Tell My Stepmother What to Wear to My Wedding?

My divorced parents are both remarried and get along great -- except in the presence of my father's wife. She seems to feel threatened by me, my mom, and my siblings. I found out that she is planning to wear a very revealing red dress to my wedding, probably to upstage my mother. I feel very uncomfortable about this because she will stand out in a sea of black, white, and silver (my colors). I know it sounds childish, but this is my day, and I want her to dress more appropriately. I want to talk to my dad (who will give me away) about this, but I don't know how receptive he'll be. Should I confront him or her, or should I just ignore it?

by The Knot