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Woman Stunned After Future SIL Tries To Enforce Strict Wedding Dress Code ‘To Cover Her Up’

woman with stunned expression
Howard Kingsnorth/Getty Images

Dress codes at weddings are a controversial topic.

Some people adhere to the “their day, their rules” philosophy, while others find the concept overbearing and ridiculous.

But what if the dress code is for just one person? And that person isn’t in the wedding party?

Is it really a dress code or a targeted attack? Does that “their day, their rules” guidance still apply?

A new mom who found herself on the receiving end of a dress code for one turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Consistent_Guest_146 asked:

“AITA for not wanting to follow my SIL’s rules for her wedding and saying her insecurities aren’t my fault?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My (female, 27) brother (male, 34) and his fiancée (female, 31) are getting married soon. My husband and I got our invitation, all fine.”

“However, this is the problem I am having with them.”

“I’m not a bridesmaid/in the bridal party because I have a baby and as she’s very young—four months now—and I was either pregnant/with a newborn during most of the wedding planning, it was for the best.”

“So I’m just a regular guest like everyone else, right?”

“Well, my brother and his fiancée came over a few days after they sent the invitations because they wanted to talk to me. My future sister-in-law (FSIL) basically told me she has gotten a dress for me and she’ll love for me to wear it for their wedding.”

“I was kind of like ‘Okay, thanks…? But why?’ You know?”

“At first she didn’t want to tell me why they’ve chosen a dress for me, but finally she told me that I tend to ‘draw too much attention to me’. Last year our other brother got married and my FSIL thinks that she doesn’t want to risk having me show up similarly to their wedding.”

“By the way, I wasn’t wearing an inappropriate dress or white or anything like that. I was wearing a normal formal dress.”

“I was very confused by this and I asked what she meant, because as I said I know how to dress up for a wedding. I reassured her she shouldn’t worry about being ‘outshined’ because for starters it’s her wedding day and everyone will be paying attention to the bride and groom.”

“And secondly, I won’t wear an inappropriate dress with like too much cleavage or something. Her family is rather conservative, so I thought maybe she was more ‘scared’ of her family’s reactions.”

“She actually had the dress since she was intending for me to try it on. It is very ugly, not my style at all. It’s like something Queen Elizabeth II would have worn.”

“The dress they chose is like a square shape. Is that a thing? And it has like a big bow on the neck.”

“The worst part is that it’s like a yellow mustard color which is so ugly in my opinion, just not something I’d wear at all!”

“I’ve seen some cuter modest dresses. I feel like she tried to do me really dirty, at least she could’ve picked a nice dress.”

“We discussed this for a while and she told me that the problem is my weight. She’s a little overweight and I’m not.”

“I always had problems gaining weight, even while pregnant, so she feels insecure and that’s why she wants me to wear a dress that would cover me completely.”

“I’ve never heard anyone comparing us.”

“These last months before my baby was born I guess my weight was more discussed, since I couldn’t gain as much weight as I needed, so it was more of a health concern than something about looks you know?”

“I couldn’t keep food down and I was even hospitalised. Everyone in the family knows it. I’ve always had trouble gaining weight, it’s not like it’s something new either.”

“The amount of times I’ve heard ‘eat a burger’ or similar while growing up…”

“This is where I think I might be the a**hole. I told her that her insecurities were not my problem and that it was weird to ask me to wear a certain dress just because I’m skinnier than her.”

“She told me that she knew I’d have this reaction because supposedly I always want to be the focus of attention. She also said that my life has always been easier and it’s not fair that I want to ‘steal’ her wedding day as well.”

“I asked her if she was doing this with every other woman who was skinnier attending the wedding and she said no, so I told her that’s a sh*tty move.”

“It’s just that it would’ve never crossed my mind to ask something like this. I get it for bridesmaids because many times when you’re one, you wear an ugly dress the bride chooses, but just a regular guest?”

“Like she’s only targeting me for some reason which is odd.”

“We argued and then my husband and brother got in between us, so they argued as well and finally we kicked them out.”

“But not before I told them to enjoy their damn day because I wasn’t attending the wedding, for which they accused me of being a drama queen and wanting to embarrass them by not going.”

“Well, I’m more calm this evening and this has caused quite a fight in our family as well. Our closest family at least—other brother and his wife and my parents—were on my side.”

“I admit that I was so tired and stressed that day because my baby had been sick all the prior day/night. So I don’t know, do you think I overreacted here?”

“Or were they truly rude to ask me something like this?”

The OP summed up their predicament.

“I refuse to wear the dress my SIL wants for her wedding. I also told her that it’s not my fault she’s insecure.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

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

Almost all Redditors felt the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. You aren’t being a drama queen, you are simply declining an invitation. She turned you looking nice into a massive drama but calls you the drama queen? That’s hilarious.”

“While you shouldn’t go out of your way to announce the disagreement, there is nothing wrong with being honest with anyone who starts a conversation about you not attending.” ~ ghjkl098

“NTA. People with victim mentalities are so exhausting. Someone will always be richer, better-looking, have more privilege than you, come from a better family, have a better job, etc…”

“It’s not your job to make her feel better about her weight. If it bothers her so much then she can take steps to change it up to and including surgery if it’s what will make her feel better.”

“But it isn’t your responsibility to coddle her.”

“I’m speaking from experience. I got bullied for my looks as a teen and am still unattractive, but I don’t blame every pretty woman for my misfortune. It’s just life.” ~ Tambug21

“NTA, and I agree with your decision not to attend the wedding. SIL can give any explanation she wants for why you are not there, but I would definitely answer honestly if anyone asked why you didn’t attend.” ~ Ok_Childhood_9774

“NTA. I too have always been on the thinner side and with COVID times I had finally gained enough weight that people kept commenting how ‘normal’ I was. Then I got pregnant and had hyperemisis gravidarum the whole time.”

“By the time I delivered I was 2 lbs lighter than my pre pregnancy weight (5’ 2” 150 lbs). Between not being able to eat/vomiting for 9 months and breastfeeding I am back down to about 115.”

“Not being able to keep weight on is hard as f*ck on your body and on your mind. FSIL is even worse for doing this to you while you are still pretty freshly postpartum.”

“I would include this in the reason why you aren’t going. Your FSIL is bullying and shaming you for something outside of your control.” ~ marhigha

“Anyone that tries to say ‘I knew you’d respond/act that way’ is being manipulative. NTA.” ~ EZ_2_Amuse

“A couple of other thoughts:”

“Some brides don’t understand that it’s an invitation, NOT a summons. As such, you are free to accept or decline for any reason or even NO reason.”

“Your FSIL has pretty much put you in a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. That is because no matter what you do or don’t do, you are living rent free in her head. Which, BTW, is a HER problem, not a YOU problem.”

“Like others have said, you should post the facts on social media so that your story is already out there before FSIL decides to rewrite the situation to fit her narrative.”

“NTA and under no circumstances should you or your hubby attend the wedding. This is on them for their insecurities in thinking anyone really can outshine the bride during her wedding.” ~ pcnauta

But a few thought everyone sucked (ESH).

“ESH. It’s a weird ask from the SIL. Nothing wrong with turning the dress down. Refusing to go to the wedding though, that’s petty.” ~ Dear_Asset

“ESH. Yeah she is completely absolutely in the wrong here. However, this party means absolutely nothing to you and wearing that dress costs you nothing.”

“You would rather everyone fight and drag on this massive drama, just so you can feel right. I suggest you learn to pick your battles better.” ~ Imaginary_Dingo_

And as Redditor ohmydearsweetacorns put it:

“Not really the a**hole, but this is the kind of thing I just don’t see a point in fighting over. It’s your brother’s wedding. Would it really have hurt to just wear the dress they wanted?”

“I mean, if she wants to tell you what to wear to Xmas dinner, she can kick rocks, but to her wedding? As ridiculous as her request is, eh, I’d have just gone with it.”

Weddings sometimes have dress codes, but demanding to dress one guest who isn’t part of the wedding party was too big of an ask for the OP and most of Reddit.

While the OP was asked to consider if the argument was worth the damage to her relationship with her brother and future sister-in-law, the same question could be asked of the bride and groom.

Is this a hill worth dying on?

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.