I want to wear a black wedding dress but my mom refuses to attend if I do. Who's right?
Question: "I'm 26 and I'm getting married to my fiancé next October. We have started planning the wedding, booked the venue and are now planning the attire and finalizing our save the dates. My 62-year-old mother is an old school Catholic. Both of my parents are from Peru. Since our wedding is in October, we have decided we are going to be having a Halloween-themed wedding. That being said, I never wanted to wear white to get married and have told my parents I will be wearing black and so will my fiancé, while the guests will be in dark colored attire to fit the Halloween theme.
I have already received backlash from my extended family about wearing black for my wedding, and it is because of my mother’s big mouth. My 66-year-old father is OK with whatever makes me happy, even though he prefers that I wear something with at least some white, but he respects my choice. On the other hand, my mom has now vocalized her opinion one too many times when I try to talk about the wedding and feel I can’t speak to her. She was recently talking about how she’s going to invite her friends to my sister's wedding, in August, instead of mine because my sister is wearing white.
I feel that my mom doesn’t care for my feelings or for my special day. I would love to include her in everything having to do with the wedding, but at this point, I feel that my mental health will be impacted if I hear more negative things about the dream goth Halloween wedding that my fiancé and I both want. It doesn’t help that I’m bipolar, and I generally struggle to make choices that make me happy because I care about what everyone else thinks.
My future sister-in-law paid for my wedding dress as a gift.Now, she wants her money back.
The situation with my mom has gotten to the point where she has now threatened not to attend my wedding because I won’t wear white. I told her if that's her choice, I don’t want her there. Am I wrong for wanting to wear black for my wedding even if it means my mom won't attend?"
Answer: You ask a very important question and, I feel my podcast co-host Alejandra Nagel would be the perfect person to answer this one. She's Peruvian and can share her insights with you, so I will turn it over to her.
"As a 27-year-old female with a Peruvian mother who was also raised Catholic, believe me when I say that I can relate to you. Let me start by saying that I think it’s so unique that you want to wear black on your wedding day and do not believe you are in the wrong for wanting to do so. If you and your fiancé both want a gothic-style, Halloween-themed wedding, that is what you should have. After all, this day is really about the two of you.
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That said, I do understand the pressure of wanting to please others, even if it goes against your own preferences, and especially when it comes to family members. It sounds like you do really want your mom to be present and involved on your special day, but I think the question you need to ask yourself is this: Which will you regret more conforming to wearing white instead of black on your wedding day, or your mom not attending?
You said it yourself that your mental health will take a toll if you have to endure any more negativity about the gothic wedding you’ve dreamed about. Planning a wedding can be stressful, and it is a good idea to let your mom know that her incessant disapproval is stressing you out. This day is supposed to be exciting – not anxiety-inducing! Will giving into your mom’s criticism and choosing to wear white make you feel good? Will you look back on your wedding day and feel fulfilled? In my opinion, going that route would be saying no to yourself and your happiness.
The color of your wedding dress is not harmful to anyone; you are the only one impacted by that decision. It seems as though your mom’s threat to not attend is stemming from a place of control or lack thereof. It sounds like you need to set a boundary with your mom for the sake of a healthy relationship. Today, it is the color of your wedding dress but tomorrow it could be strong-arming you on how to go about your marriage, raising children, etc. This cycle will perpetuate as long as you allow her threats to hold real weight.
It would truly be a shame if your mom bows out of your special day, but that is a decision she will have to live with. And if I had to bet, I’d imagine she won’t feel very good about it. Life is full of compromises and we spend so much time taking the path of least resistance in the name of “keeping the peace," all while hurting ourselves. Your wedding is a day designed for you and your fiancé, and ultimately, you should not be compromising for your mom’s approval. I hope that for your sake (and hers), she shows up for you and supports you regardless of your dress color."
We're wishing you the best and congratulations on your upcoming wedding day!
Morgan and Alejandra
Morgan Absher is an occupational therapist in Los Angeles who hosts the podcast, "Two Hot Takes" where she and her co-hosts dish out advice. She writes a weekly column, sharing her advice with USA TODAY's readers. Find her on TikTok @twohottakes and YouTube here. You can reach her by email at Mabsher@gannett.com or you can click here to share your story with her.
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