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Bride Called Out For Refusing To Force Groom’s Teen Niece To Wear A Dress To Wedding

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Younger generations’ approaches to gender roles have rapidly changed in recent years, and older generations often struggle with new mores.

For one woman on Reddit, this turned into conflict with her in-laws when she told her fiance’s tomboyish niece, against her parents’ wishes, that she didn’t need to wear a dress to the wedding if she didn’t want to.

She wasn’t sure about how she’d handled the situation, so she went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for input.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by the username Extreme-Break-6638 on the site, asked:

“AITA for telling my soon-to-be niece that she doesn’t need to wear a dress to my wedding?”

She explained:

“I (32f[emale]) am getting married to my fianc´é (41m[ale]) next year. After we got engaged, I suggested it might be nice if I asked my fiancé’s niece (who’s 15) if she wanted to be a bridesmaid too.”

“I’ve only met her a couple of times, so we’re not close, but she seemed like a cool kid and I thought it might be a nice way for us to bond/ get to know each other/ involve her in the wedding.”

“(Side note – she’s the only niece/ nephew on either side of the family).”

“Anyway, cut to a few weeks ago and we’re in my fiancé’s hometown to visit his family and discuss wedding-related stuff.”

“His brother, sister-in-law and their daughter came over and I noticed this time that she was dressed a lot more androgynous than I remembered.”

“The topic moved to wedding dresses and bridesmaid’s dresses and I could see she was immediately uncomfortable.”

“Her parents (her mum really) and grandma were making comments about how she’d need to be more feminine/ brush her hair etc, and how nice it would be to see her like that.”

“I’ll be honest and say this hit a nerve with me, as I was very much a tomboy as a teenager (even though I’m not anymore) and it absolutely broke me whenever my relatives would say things like that.”

“Eventually, her mother made a comment along the lines of, ‘It’ll be nice to see you dressed like a girl for once.’ and she looked really sad/ embarrassed/ upset.”

“In response, because that really hit a nerve, I immediately told her that my maid of honour would be wearing a trouser suit for the wedding and not a dress and that I’d given all the bridesmaids the option of wearing anything they want as long as it’s in the ‘wedding colour’, to make things easier.”

“I pulled out my phone and started showing her photos of the ideas my friend had sent me (a jumpsuit, culottes, a trouser suit, a tailored tux etc) and let her know that she could pick anything at all she wanted – she could even wear jeans and trainers if that made her comfortable – and that it’s a wedding, not a fashion show.”

“My niece perked up a bit when I said that but her mum looked really pissed off.”

“She’s since asked my fiancé to pressure me into getting all the bridesmaids dresses so their daughter will have to wear one (which, lol, no).”

“My husband doesn’t give a sh*t what she wears, but obviously also doesn’t want his family and me to be arguing on the wedding day.”

“I don’t want to back down because I know what it feels like to be pressured into wearing something that makes you uncomfortable, but on the other hand, I know it’s only for a day and it’d make the family happy.”

“AITA for trying to overrule her parents?”

People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

And they were mostly unanimous that not only did OP not do anything wrong, but that she should stand her ground.

“Definitely NTA.”

“Don’t back down. Stand your ground. Never in my life had I thought I would be urging someone to be a bridezilla.”

“Please. Please. Be the bridezilla. Go full bridezilla.”

“Edit: I don’t know how all these awards go and the pink framing and all, but thanks to all who helped that happen.” –billlevansatmariposa

“Especially since in this case being a bridezilla is actually not being a bridezilla but standing up for your future niece and your bridesmaids, so they can have body autonomy.”

“You’re letting your niece know you have her back and that is going to build a much better relationship than just including her in the wedding.”

“NTA OP! It’s really refreshing to see a wedding story where the bride is putting others’needs above their own even if it’s because it doesn’t go against your vision for the day.” –Meesha1687

“This is one of those rare occasions where I think it’s a good idea to go bridezilla. It’s clear that the niece isn’t comfortable wearing feminine clothes and someone needs to stand up for her.” –OliviaElevenDunham

“Suggest taking out the bridesmaids and her to go shopping just to get her out of the house and find something that she would like.”

“I would be very good to get her out because I bet her parents/grandma would make it pretty difficult for her to buy something she wanted.” –captaindumbass

“Exactly what I was thinking! “This is my day and if I want her to be happy and not wear a dress then she’s going to be happy and not wear a dress. F*ck all the way off.”

“NTA 1000%” –jtl94

“It’s not at all bridezilla. It would be if she was forbidden from wearing a dress. But she is free to wear a dress if she likes.”

“In fact, her parents are even free to force her against her will to wear a dress, if they really want to.”

“What the parents are trying to do, is make OP be the bad guy who forces their daughter to wear a dress, so they don’t have to be.”

But the entire fight has nothing at all to do with OP, and OP should phrase it in that way.” –Ancient_Potential285

“YES! Please be a bridezilla about this!”

“If you can get the mom or other adults who are providing the pressure into a conversation away from the kid, please use as much of your own experience as you’re comfortable with to explicitly tell them that you are NOT OK with your future niece being forced to ‘perform femininity’ for them in any way that makes her (niece) uncomfortable.”

“If it’s easier for the niece to drop out (if parents won’t stop pressuring), so be it. But please stand your ground for her.” –kimby_cbfh

“100% this is one bridezilla scenario I’d love to hear about and pull up some popcorn for.”

“I wouldn’t know from personal experience, but I imagine even having that offer made was extremely appreciated by the niece.” –neuronnebula

“Agreed. My mom made me dress girly as a teenager, I destroyed the photos and got rid of the clothes before I was even 18.”

“Theres only 1 photo left that she has from then and its not even displayed anywhere. I wouldve kept the photos if I dressed how I wanted to.”

“I didnt even take my gown off at my 8th grade graduation cuz I hated the fact that I had to wear a dress that much. I dont think any photos exist of then. NTA OP” –IgnorantKumquat

“Yes, NTA. Also I don’t think you were overruling the parents – you just made it clear there are other options if she and her parents can agree.”

“You’re just refusing to be the easy out for them – if they want to enforce heterocentric misogyny that’s on them.” –RainbowCrane

“Jumping on tho top comment to say that I as a nonbinary AFB am in TEARS so happy reading this. THANK YOU EVERYONE THIS IS SO WHOLESOME.”

“I am SO SO SOOOO happy for their niece to have family like you. I hope you can continue to have a relationship with them. Either way they will ALWAYS love you for this.” –Death_Rose1892

“OP! Take her shopping and keep the clothing item she chooses AT YOUR HOUSE!”

“These women will ruin it and force her into something more feminine they happen to have as a backup. PLEASE be protective in this.” –ohmygoshgamache

“NTA”

“She’s 15 and is old enough to decide on how she would like to dress.”

“You are being very reasonable by allowing her to be comfortable in what she is wearing, as long as it is meeting the wedding colour.”

“The mum is an a**hole for trying to make her daughter wear something that she would be uncomfortable.”

“This would make her not enjoy being your bridesmaid and could also affect your happiness knowing that one of your bridesmaids are not happy.” –Fun-Two-1414

“NTA. YWBTA if you went back on it now, for a couple of reasons.”

“First, you’d be taking back your word to your other bridesmaids and forcing them all to be less comfortable to accommodate your BIL and SIL’s bullying.”

“Second, how would you have felt at that age when your family treated you that way and someone told you you were allowed to wear what you were comfortable in and then immediately turned around and did your family’s bidding instead?”

“If her sh*tty parents want to bully her into wearing something that makes her uncomfortable, you can’t stop them. But that doesn’t mean you should help them.” –ArbitraryAngelfish

Hopefully OP can help her fiance’s niece feel more uncomfortable in her skin.

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.