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Bride Livid When Fiancé’s Autistic Brother Wears Noise-Canceling Headphones During Reception

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We can all agree that when we have an important event coming up, there’s a certain vision we have in mind and a way that we would like the whole event to go.

But that doesn’t give us permission to be jerks when something doesn’t go according to plan, pointed out the “Am I te A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor AdventurousBalance13 was planning to attend his brother’s wedding, but because of his sensory concerns, he asked if he could wear something different from the rest of the crowd, which his brother agreed to.

But when the bride called him out on it during the reception, the Original Poster (OP) was concerned about causing a rift in the brand new marriage.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for not wearing a suit and for wearing noise-canceling headphones for my brother’s wedding?”

The OP had sensory issues that were tough to avoid.

“I (15 Male) have quite severe autism in terms of sensory needs.”

“There are quite a lot of clothes I can’t wear at all, and suits just happen to be one of them.”

“Loud music is also way too much for me sometimes, so I brought noise cancellers for me if I needed them.”

The OP reached out to his brother before making accommodations for himself. 

“My brother (28 Male) got married at the weekend and the dress code for men was a black suit with a red tie.”

“However, for me, he said it’s fine if I don’t wear a suit and bring headphones.”

“He told me to just look formal and don’t show up in any of the professional photography. So I did what he said! Easy, right?”

But the bride was not happy with the OP’s look.

“Apparently not! My SIL (31 Female) and her family were talking to me about how what I was wearing was completely inappropriate.”

“It was a white polo and jeans, which doesn’t sound professional, I know, but I tried.”

“They also were saying how I was embarrassing his side of the family completely.”

“My sister-in-law (SIL) knows I have autism too and struggle with clothing sometimes.”

“She told me I should have asked her first too, and I realize she’s probably right, but I thought my brother would have considered both of them when telling me it’s ok.”

The OP’s sister-in-law was still upset during the reception.

“Later in the night, my SIL was very drunk and started shouting at me to take my headphones off, because it was completely disrespectful for me to have them on when everyone was dancing to the music.”

“Again, I thought that my brother brought this up to her, so instead of explaining, I just waited outside for it to be over.”

The OP was later worried about causing drama. 

“The next day, I heard her and my brother arguing about it, and now I feel really guilty.”

“I know I probably couldn’t handle it for all of the wedding, but I feel like an a**, and that I should have at least tried with the suit and music.”

“I’m especially concerned if it’s caused this much of a rift the day after they got married.”

“AITA for not wearing the suit and bringing my noise cancellers?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the OP did what he needed to do by getting permission from his brother. 

“Dude, imagine if he was in a wheelchair and the bride yelled at him to get up and dance because he’s being disrespectful, it’s kinda the same vibe.”

“He definitely has nothing to apologize for, and if I was the groom, I’d be re-evaluating why I married her.” – DiscombobulatedElk93

“As someone who is diagnosed with autism and severe struggles with the same issues, especially noise at twice the age OP is I’ve come to a point where I just refuse to apologize for my limitations.”

“OP tried their hardest. Would the SIL have preferred for him to break down completely? Maybe even at the party itself? The last time I attended a bigger event with more people and music I had a breakdown and could barely hold it together until I was out of sight of everyone.”

“My boss allows me to wear headphones at work, but he’s made me apologize to every single person in the office in case it makes them uncomfortable, jealous, or inconveniences them in any way. It was so humiliating to talk to everyone. Don’t do this.”

“Please don’t apologize OP, you tried so hard and you checked with your brother first. You’re good! NTA.” – Better-Froyo3444

“People with autism and other neurodivergent people are constantly expected to mask in order to fit an ableist standard that makes neurotypicals feel comfortable. Meanwhile, this masking is actively dangerous for our mental health.”

“You showed up! You did what you could to be PRESENT while safeguarding yourself. You are owed an apology by SIL and her family, not the other way around. Her actions are immature and gross.”

“You didn’t do anything wrong here. You actively used strategies (that a lot of neurodivergent people are recommended to do) to make sure you could be there on an important day for your brother, who also was ok with you doing that. It’s not just her day because she’s the bride. It’s also your brother’s.”

“NTA, and from one neurodivergent person to another, sending you so much love right now.” – Big-Focus8280

“NTA you asked your brother. Also, there is nothing disrespectful about wearing headphones while people are dancing, but it is very disrespectful to shout at someone for what they choose to wear on their head. I don’t even know if the word ‘choice’ is what I would use in this situation.”

“That being said, you did say you feel like an a** for not trying the suit. A handwritten note of apology to the bride, for the lack of suit only, may help smooth things over and calm some of the guilt you feel (but I’m not convinced you need to apologize).” – Substantial_Home_

Others didn’t mind the headphones, but they did question the OP’s apparel choices.

“NTA. My only suggestion for the future is that if you can deal with clothing that’s a slightly better match, that wouldn’t be a bad way to go. You didn’t specify the color of the jeans but going with black ones would not have been a bad call.”

“I suggest this based on my 6-year-old son with autism. I have made mistakes with him in the past and now find that having him wear a plain (ie no logo, stripes, etc) pair of black fleece sweatpants with a decent shirt makes him blend in enough for others to shut the f**k up and keeps him comfortable.”

“That said, you were cleared by your brother and definitely are NTA. You wanted to be there and not miserable! Your SIL, however, absolutely is.” – Due_Fix_3900

“ESH, but mostly your brother and SIL.”

“I empathize, but I think the main fail was the jeans. It’s a good idea to go shopping for at least semi-formal wear and really try things on and see if you can find anything. It may take lots of trial and error, but I’m sure you can build a wardrobe for all occasions!”

“Your brother should’ve been the one to help you with that! Headphones should be fine, I think she was mainly upset due to the clothes and wanted more to yell at you, but she needs to apologize!”

“Your brother absolutely needed to communicate with his bride and not put you in a situation where you could be the one in the wrong.” – kspicydaddi

“I think the only thing he could MAYBE have done differently was the colors of what he was wearing. If everyone was in black suits with red ties, perhaps a black or red polo instead might have helped, and then black jeans.”

“But that’s a big MAYBE since textures can be different across brands, and that would have been on his parents to help him sort out anyway.”

“I can see potentially being a bit peeved over jeans and a white polo at a wedding but nothing warranting near the level of tantrum the bride threw. She’s 31, she has to be able to get over these things.” – Ok_Technician3189


“I have a bunch of cousins, men in their 30s and 40s, who simply do not wear suits. Their lives just don’t require them.”

“They show up at weddings and things in button-down shirts, ties, and chinos. And this is accepted as their ‘Sunday best.’ People do not get upset or have meltdowns because they aren’t in suits. What they wear doesn’t really affect the event in any way.”

“One thing you could explore now, before the next formal event you have to attend, is finding more formal-looking clothes that are still comfortable for you.”

“They make men’s button-down shirts out of cotton knit fabric, not unlike the polo shirt you wore. There might be one out there that doesn’t bother you. Same with trousers. If you gradually, over time, try on a bunch of trousers, you might be able to find a pair that is comfortable to wear.”

“Maybe once a month, go out, try one or two pairs. If nothing works, wait until next month. Look for fabrics such as Tencel, which is soft and smooth. Companies such as Patagonia and REI make some active wear pants that can pass for more formal, depending on what shirt you wear. All you really need is non-cargo-pocket pants in black, navy, or dark gray.”

“You could also try a vest instead of a suit jacket. An ascot or bow tie instead of the traditional tie. Or a jacket that is ‘deconstructed,’ that does not have all the stiffness of a suit jacket, and that does not have to match your pants.”

“I guess what I’m trying to say is to work a little to find something to wear that is as comfortable as the polo shirt and jeans, but looks a bit more formal. Something that people will see and think, ‘He’s dressed up and cool.’ But it can be your own style. Look at pictures of celebrities you like and see what they wear and think about how to adapt that style to your needs.”

“For example, my nephew is physically disabled and uses a power chair. Mostly he wears Under Armor tops and sweatpants. But he’s in grad school and needs to present papers and such at conventions now. Standard attire in his field is a suit.”

“Suits do not work with either his chair or his disabilities. But he has worked out an outfit of trousers with an elastic waist that his mom makes for him, an open-collared dress shirt, and a tailored vest with a pocket watch and chain. It is clear he is dressed for the occasion, but he isn’t wearing a suit.”

“And now I’m picturing you at your next wedding, in a black leather jacket, a white polo shirt, slouchy black pants and leather boots, the envy of all the guys in suits.” – krankykitty

Though the subReddit could understand the OP’s concerns about causing an argument, they did not think that an argument was worth having in the first place.

The OP perhaps could have chosen better attire or a better color match for the wedding day, but otherwise, he was doing his best to be present and supportive of his brother and sister-in-law’s big day, and that was certainly something.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.