Whether or not we’ve attended one, we all know some of the basic rules of wedding etiquette: focus on the happy couple rather than other big news, and absolutely do not wear white to the wedding.
But what if you’re attending an event you didn’t realize was a wedding, questioned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
That was exactly what happened for Redditor Due-Baseball-6528 when she attended what she thought was her cousin’s daughter’s christening celebration.
But when she found out the christening had been paired with a surprise wedding and reception, the Original Poster (OP) realized she wasn’t dressed appropriately for the occasion.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for accidentally wearing white to a wedding?”
The OP had recently been invited to a family christening.
“A few weeks ago, I got a last-minute invite to the christening of my cousin’s and her husband’s baby.”
“My cousin and her husband eloped, but they had not had a ceremony. They had talked about having a ceremony eventually but were not rushing it.”
“They had a baby, who’s now 9 months old. The christening was on Saturday, which is what I received the invite for.”
But as it turned out, there was more to it.
“Only it wasn’t JUST a christening. They also had a surprise wedding ceremony and reception along with the christening.”
“None of us were aware, and everyone was surprised. The reception would happen either way for the christening, only now it was a joint event of wedding and christening.”
The OP dressed appropriately for the christening, but not the wedding.
“For christenings in my country, there’s no rule about outfit colors, and nothing bans you from wearing white. There’s no rule for that.”
“So I wore a white dress with some pink details.”
“It was me and a couple of other girls who wore white, and at first, everyone ignored us. But once the surprise wedding was announced, everyone started looking at us judgementally as if we were supposed to be aware and we did it on purpose.”
“My cousin was cold with me the entire time, and she’d barely looked at me or spoke to me.”
The bride waited until the next day to call her out.
“Yesterday morning, the morning after the events, she texted me, saying how I should be more aware and mindful.”
“She suggested I should play it safe and wear another color no matter the event.”
“She said that she won’t take responsibility for the negative attention the other girls who wore white and I received, and she said we should be more careful in the future.”
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 questioned how the bride expected people to dress for this wedding.
“The bride wants to eat her cake and have it, too. If your guests don’t know they’re at a wedding, they shouldn’t be expected to follow wedding etiquette before they know it’s a wedding.”
“Also, white dresses with patterns are usually fine for wedding guests? Not recommended, but that rule is generally for all white dresses.” – TotallyWonderWoman
“Proper response: ‘You don’t tell anyone that you are getting married and then get upset with folks showing up in spring colors, like white with pink trim? Sorry, Cuz, but this one is on you.'”
“NTA.” – TribeFaninPA
“I think surprise weddings are cute, and I know of a few people who have done them.”
“But I also know of a few guests that attended who were frustrated, because they felt they were too casual/essentially would have dressed differently or paid more attention to their hair and makeup had they known it was a wedding and would have a photographer.” – merouch
“The insinuation that people should just not wear white to ANY event just in case it’s secretly a wedding is so hilariously ridiculous.”
“OP’s cousin threw a SURPRISE WEDDING and is now mad that people didn’t know it was a wedding…”
“Like, for f**k’s sake, if you’re having a surprise wedding, you really should be prepared for the idea that some people may be wearing white, or be otherwise inappropriately dressed for a wedding.”
“How the f**k are you gonna throw a surprise wedding and then be p**sed when people weren’t expecting it? THAT’S WHAT A SURPRISE IS… THIS IS WHAT YOU WANTED.”
“If she was so dead-set on having nobody wearing white at her wedding, she should’ve just had a normal wedding where people would be aware and dress accordingly… Then she’d at least be justified in being mad if someone still showed up in white.” – snowshinesunshine
“You know the old adage, ‘Always wear nice undies in case you need a doctor and never, ever, under any circumstances wear white in case you find yourself at a surprise wedding.'”
“Just classic rules to live by (ends sarcastic comment).” – needmoresnakes
Others said a dress code could have been indicated while keeping the event a surprise.
“Clearly NTA, you had no idea it was a wedding and it’s very common for people to wear white to a summer christening. Once she cools off, she will realize she is being TA.”
“If she wanted a dress code or people to dress a certain way, she should have let people know in advance. A surprise ceremony is lovely but means stuff like this arises.” – the_fourth_child
“This just boggles my mind. I’m willing to accept a certain degree of irrationality when it’s your wedding but how do you just skip that step of ‘nobody knew this was happening’ when arriving at your decision to be upset?”
“It’s even more comical in OP’s post when other people who had ignored people wearing white before started giving them judging looks once the surprise wedding was announced. How does everyone suddenly forget that they are operating off of the same information?” – sensualoctopus
“NTA. I can see why she’s upset, but it’s her own fault. She invited you to a christening, and you went dressed suitably.”
“But then she changed what the event was, and now there’s a different dress code. You had no way to know.”
“‘Be more careful’? Any time anyone invites you to something, dress as though it’s a wedding? You know you weren’t in the wrong, as others did the same thing. She should just laugh and say she shouldn’t have been surprised.”
“In passing, don’t a lot of women wear white to christenings?”
“…and after thinking about it, I think you have every right to be angry that you were led into doing something you would never have done (wear white to someone else’s wedding), potentially looking foolish/bad/whatever.”
“Just tell her you had no way to know, and hope she gets over it quickly and you can be a good family again.” – James_of_London
“On top of that, there is a large part of the world where things are just starting to get warm so the fun, light-colored dresses are out and about again, which includes white.”
“If the cousin wanted people to dress according to a specific etiquette, the cousin should specify what type of event is happening or that there’s a dress code.”
“Regarding the negative attention, would bet that most of the negative attention is coming from the cousin b***hing.”
“NTA.” – No-Policy-4095
“NTA. Your cousin is beyond out of line. What a narcissist thing to say, ‘You should just play it safe,’ when going to any sort of event that involves her or her family, as if people should just always walk around life in anticipation of catering to her wants/needs.”
“If you’re expecting a dress code to a personal event, then perhaps you shouldn’t plan surprises in hopes that people will just somehow automatically assume there’s going to be a surprise with a whole dress code involved.” – Rainbow62993
Some made jokes about “playing it safe.”
“But they should have been more mindful (of something they couldn’t possibly predict) and aware (of something they were purposefully kept from being aware of) and played it safe.”
“Apparently one should never wear a white dress, because you never know when a surprise wedding is just going to sneak up on you!”
“Going to a graduation party? You better avoid wearing anything close to white because it could be a surprise wedding.”
“Mother’s Day dinner? Watch what you wear, it might be a surprise wedding!”
“Going to Waffle House for breakfast? You better dress appropriately in case it is a surprise wedding!”
“It happens all the time, so you should just be ready for it.” – Heavn4Me
“Honestly, OP was just asking for a wedding to happen around her with how she was dressed.” – sharshenka
“What does she want? No one to ever wear white to an event again JUUUUST in case it turns into a surprise wedding?” – Confident_Profit_210
“NTA. Why on earth would ANYONE expect guests at a baby christening to ‘play it safe’ by not wearing white just in case a surprise wedding breaks out?!?!?”
“That’s got to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.” – PinkedOff
“It is truly an alarming world we live in, where a wedding could spring at you from around any corner.”
“Family vacation? No! Surprise Destination wedding!”
“Dinner with friends? Beware! Surprise friend wedding!”
“Ordering DoorDash? Not so fast! Surprise wedding between your DoorDasher and their Uber driver!”
“Staying in and cooking alone? As if! Surprise wedding between your gas meter reader and the furnace inspector!”
“Having a nap? Don’t even try it! Surprise wedding between the window washer and the next-door neighbor’s gardener! White sheets? How could you?”
“No place is safe. Hide your children, or at least don’t dress them in white.” – shawslate
The subReddit completely understood why the OP was so confused and even offended that her cousin was so upset about the accidental wardrobe selection.
But they also used the opportunity to joke around, specifically with the cousin’s concept of “playing it safe” by never, ever wearing white again, just in case a surprise wedding was about to happen, or in case the white fabric would somehow bring a wedding on.