Bride-to-be furious with mother-in-law's white wedding outfit

What would you do?
What would you do? Photo: Shutterstock

It's a well-known wedding faux-pas: wearing white to a wedding. But what happens when it's your own mother-in-law who's planning to do so? Should you say something? That's the conundrum one mama posed to the forum Mumsnet, ahead of her September nuptials. 

"My mother-in-law and I always got on brilliantly until my son was born a year ago," the woman writes. "Since then she has been opinionated on every decision we make as his parents." But parenting interference aside, it's her choice of wedding attire that's left the mum reeling.

"We get married in September and yesterday [my] mother-in-law announced she was wearing a off-white dress for the occasion." Explaining that she was feeling "a little hurt," the bride-to be noted, "I believed the etiquette of weddings was only the bride wears white?"

Adding that she's trying really hard not to take her mother-in-law's sartorial selection personally "and as a fingers up to me", the mama told the forum that her mother-in-law likes being the centre of attention and will "play the victim" when challenged about her behaviour.

"If I am being reasonable in that it's not the done thing to do, do we say something, or keep our mouths shut for the sake of keeping the peace?" the frustrated bride-to-be wrote.

"F**k keeping the peace," one woman responded. "It's your wedding day not just a random party!!! Is she stupid, inconsiderate or both?!?"

"Who wears white to a wedding?" another added. "Serve spaghetti at the wedding breakfast and hope she messes up her outfit."

"Tell her it's considered uncouth," said one mum.


Others felt she should simply let it go.

"Your mother-in-law is unlikely to be mistaken for the bride," said one forum user. "Off-white can mean anything from cream to grey. Just let it pass."

"Just ignore her," said another. "It will reflect badly on her, but no-one will think worse of you. You'll still be the bride and therefore the centre of attention, no matter what your mother-in-law does."

One even suggested the poster should re-think her choice of groom if he doesn't challenge his mum, nothing that perhaps it's a sign of things to come.

"Your husband needs to take a side," she wrote. "If it isn't yours, I'd rethink marrying him. I know that sounds a bit melodramatic but if she's playing games now and he's not fighting your corner then it will only get worse and you'll be in for years of misery and conflict."

In an updated comment, the bride-to-be noted that confronting her mother-in-law was out of the question. "I can't say anything to her without her crying to her other two sons how I have bullied her."

Adding that she believes her mother-in-law is wearing white on purpose to "try and wind me up", the woman noted, "I just want to scream and say you ruined the day [our son] was born with your attention seeking ways, for once let the limelight be on us."

So what do the experts think? Well, while wearing black to a wedding is no longer considered taboo, wearing white is overwhelming seen as a no-no - unless it's a theme or you're Beyoncé. 

"Traditionally, you would not wear white," etiquette expert Diane Gottsman told TODAY. "White and ivory should be left for the bride ..." But you don't have to avoid it completely. "Of course, you can wear a dress with some white in it, or have white somewhere within your outfit, but you shouldn't plan to show up wearing an all-white ensemble."