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Woman Balks After She’s Berated For Wearing Makeup And A Dress To Grandma’s Fifth Wedding

Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

The “rules” around what is acceptable and unacceptable to do, wear, and be at a wedding are somewhat variable and often depend on who the wedding party is comprised of.  No guest wants to draw attention from the bride, so some simple rules can always be applied; ie, don’t wear white.

Redditor redthrowedding was not expecting, though, to be berated for simply turning up to her grandmother’s wedding looking nice. After her maternal grandmother said that she was a “standout” at the wedding instead of her, she didn’t know what to make of it.

She turned to objective strangers at the behest of the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback:

“AITA for ‘upstaging’ my grandma at her wedding?”

Our original poster, or OP, was excited to attend her grandmother’s 5th wedding:

“I’m 28F[emale], maternal grandma is 71F. This past weekend she got married to her boyfriend of a couple years. This is her 5th wedding, which I mention not to judge but because it’s relevant later on.”

“The last time she got married, I was a junior in high school and wore a cranberry strapless dress that my grandma purchased for me, very much in line with the cocktail dress code.”

“I didn’t try to do this, but in hindsight I wore makeup that was too much for a wedding. I just wore what I would normally do–toned down smokey eye, eyeliner, and a nude lip.”

“One of the granddaughters of the husband she was marrying then pulled me aside and told me I did too much, and that I should wipe the makeup off before photos.”

“I was extremely embarrassed; the only other wedding I had ever been to was when I was six, so at the time I had no idea of the etiquette and was mortified that I had broken it. I ended up wiping off the eyeliner, replacing the eyeshadow with a nude eyeshadow, and putting on a clear chapstick.”

Her grandmother reminded her this time to tone it down:

“For this wedding, my grandma reminded me that I should do a very toned down look and not upstage her at this wedding.”

“These days, I don’t wear nearly as much makeup as I used to, so I went with my daily makeup routine–BB cream and a light concelaer, a nude cream blush, some light mascara (that was dark brown instead of black), and a sheer/glossy pinky-nude lipstick.”

“I paired this with a navy blue dress that I tried my best to match my grandma’s request that the dress code is ‘in between casual and cocktail).’ Photo of the dress for reference.

And later on decided it hadn’t been to her satisfaction:

“My grandma didn’t say anything about how I looked during the wedding, nor did anyone else, so I assumed I did a good job of making sure she was still in the spotlight.”

“However, today she got some of the photos back from her friend who was taking them. She said that I was the standout in all of the photos and it was a very tacky move to try to get all of the attention on me when it was her wedding.”

“I apologized and said I tried to be as toned down as possible while still looking presentable, she said the right move would have been to wear no makeup at all and wear a more conservative pantsuit.”

“At the time that I got this call, I was with my paternal grandmother. They do not get along in the slightest.”

“PG told MG that it was unreasonable to expect me to dress ‘frumpy’ to please her and that she had three sets of wedding photos for weddings before I was even born that she could look back on to be the ‘star of the show’ if she wanted.”

“This led to MG telling me she wished to take a break from speaking to me for a while so I could reflect on my “selfish actions.”

“I feel really bad, I didn’t mean to wreck a special day for her, and in hindsight, maybe I should have approved my dress and makeup with her before the wedding. So I thought I’d get some feedback here to see if I’m the AH/if what I did is selfish.”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

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

Redditors thought that OP had gone above and beyond being considerate for her grandmother’s sake.

“NTA for either of her weddings. You do not owe her an apology. You did nothing wrong. She is ridiculous.”

“It’s not dissimilar to people who tear others down to feel better about themselves.”

“That’s essentially what she wants to do to her ‘friends’ … direct them to be ‘lesser’ so she feels better about herself. Not on.”-ewearehere

“OP stop letting others make you feel small. Wearing make-up to weddings is normal. Unless it’s a casual wedding, getting dressed up is normal to, and you dressed appropriately for the dress code.”

“You ‘looking good’ is not an offensive action against others, and other people’s insecurities are not your responsibility to fix.”

“This is all about your grandmother keeping you subservient and small. It’s making up a reason to make you feel bad, so you apologise and she gets to feel superior.”

“Stop being so apologetic. Deflect and then disengage. Like ‘I’m sure that’s not true, everyone looked great and so did you.'”

Then change the topic or end the conversation. Add a ‘Well I’m not in all the photos so don’t display the one’s with me in them if you are bothered by them.'”

“Laugh it off. Don’t apologise. That’s the least you should do in this situation. You could defend yourself and tell people like this they are being ridiculous, and you still wouldn’t be the AH.”

“Do not let people criticise you when you’ve done nothing wrong.”-Ok-Beginning-5922

“NTA. Your grandma is jealous of you. You’re 28 years old and in the prime of your life. She’s 71. As active as she may feel etc.”

“It doesn’t change the fact that a 28 year old will outshine. You could have looked as frumpy as possible, you’d still look better. You have nothing to apologise for.”-SufficientFinding3

“NTA, and can I also say that the makeup you described for both events sounds just fine to me??”

“I wear pretty much exactly what you described when I wear makeup normally, sometimes with sparkle eyeliner added, and when I go to weddings, I make it fancier with lipstick or something.”

“You don’t Tone Down your makeup for a fancy event, you get dressed up and you celebrate!! She just sounds jealous and bitter to me.”-BlueberryGirl95

Plenty of folks pointed out that it was ridiculous to ask a 28-year-old to underdress in favor of a 71-year-old, when it might not make all that much difference anyway.

“NTA, not even close. I’d cut her off cause this is BS and there must be some weird resentment or jealousy here.”

“Anything less than what you wore would be offensive bc it’s far too casual lmao. You wore the simplest dress imaginable.”

“Really don’t sweat it. Even if you were in the wrong, you can’t be an AH on accident.”

“To be an AH requires a level of intent. if grandma had an issue, she should’ve communicated like an adult, or gotten over it like an adult”-Tomodachi-Turtle

“NTA. I mean, yeah, maybe running your outfit by her would have been the safer move, at least in terms of being able to point out to her you did everything you could if she was still upset.”

“But I’m 99.99% sure she would still be upset, because ultimately you can’t do anything about the fact you’re young and pretty and she’s clearly incredibly jealous of that.”

“If I were you, I’d go ahead and minimize my interactions with her – and when she inevitably finds a way to blame you for that, too, just ignore her.”-mm172

“NTA. She sounds like a handful. Expecting you to wear no make-up to a wedding is absurd.”

“It sounds like she’s jealous of youth and kind of ridiculous for attempting to ‘compete’ with you when you’re just there to celebrate her wedding.”-ollyator

“NTA If you look only superficially at any photos of a 28 year old and a 71 year old, the younger woman is likely to attract the eye more.”

“The makeup/dress you describe is quite understated for a 28 year old – if the only way your grandma can feel special is for you to look drab or feel bad, that is her problem not yours.”

“As for the previous wedding, I can’t imagine any 16 year old wearing less makeup, and for another woman who you hardly know to mention it to you is quite bizarre (unless a member of her family had commented on your attractive appearance) – again her problem not yours.”

“Do not feel bad for spoiling her memory of her big day (I say memory because there was no issue until the photos came out), that is a choice she has made for herself.”

“I would leave her to consider her own bad behaviour, and if she brings it up again tell her you are sorry that she has such insecurities in her own appearance that she is threatened by you.”

“And although we should all respect our elders, that respect goes both ways. p.s. I would also skip her next wedding.”-CAHRandles

And plenty of people pointed out OP’s grandma’s seemingly “Evil Queen” complex.

“NTA what did she want you do to? go in sweats and no makeup? give me a break. she’s 71 your …how old? 28? Of course you’re going to stand out. She needs to get over herself.”

“Which I hate saying to anyone older than me. I get it being ‘her’ day but brides just take it to the umpteenth degree.”

“If she doesn’t want to talk to you, so be it. go no contact and let HER reflect on HER selfish actions. She will be calling you before you do her, trust me. The dress is beautiful BTW”-Sweet_Charming82

“NTA. Here I thought insecurities went away with age and your grandma just proved me wrong.”

“Sounds to me like she would have found something to be upset with regardless of how you would’ve showed up.”

“I’m sure you looked great and didn’t upstage the bride. Too bad grandma can’t feel proud about her genes passing down to you but instead choose this approach.”-madoosles

“NTA. Your grandmother sounds like she has some insane jealousy issues if she’s worried about you ‘upstaging’ her.”

“She expected you to wear a pantsuit? What in the world? Fair if that’s what you want to wear, but she just seems like she would have rather covered you up.”

“I would probably make her ‘break’ a long to permanent one and take that control away from her. Her manipulating you like that to try make you feel bad is not at all ok.”-SeekingBeskar

“NTA, this is unreasonable. You were following perfectly normal social convention (with the smoky eye as well imo) so why on earth would you have thought to check with her beforehand?”

“I understand it hurts that she doesn’t want to speak with you but I think you should not fold and agree with her that you’ve done anything wrong.”

“No matter how old a person is, they shouldn’t be validated in that kind of behavior.”-amberlc002

OP has done nothing wrong, according to the objective strangers she solicited advice from.  But can her grandmother come around to the same point of view?

Only time will tell, and until then, OP has some tough calls to make about her relationship with this grandmother.




Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.