A Dress Dilemma


I recently read a letter in an advice column from a woman whose daughter was getting married. 

When she, her daughter the bride, the mother of the groom and the bridesmaids went shopping for dresses, she found a great dress that they all agreed was a perfect choice.

But, before they left the store, the groom’s mother floored them all by buying the same dress to wear for the wedding, in a slightly different color!

The woman was asking for advice on how to handle the situation.  The columnist’s advice was that she return her dress and buy a different one, and NOT to tell the groom’s mother, in case she was a serial copy-cat and would change to that one too!

Reading that story reminded me of a story I heard about a similar dilemma.  Here it is:

The bride’s mother showed the bride the dress she had found for the upcoming wedding.  They both loved it and thought it was perfect.

Later, the groom’s mother showed the bride the dress she had purchased for the wedding, and it was exactly the same one.  The bride immediately told her that that was the same dress her mother had already purchased, so could she possibly exchange it for another.  No, the groom’s mother said, she loved the dress and really didn’t want to return it.  Surely, the bride’s mother wouldn’t mind exchanging hers.

The bride then went to her mother, explained the problem and asked if her mother could possibly exchange her dress, because the groom’s mother was sure she must have purchased her dress first and she really wanted to wear it to the wedding.

Well, the bride’s mother didn’t have much choice, did she?  So, she said, yes, of course, she would buy another dress for the wedding.  But she didn’t think she would return the dress she loved so much; she would just find somewhere other than the wedding to wear it.  Oh, wait a minute, she knew the perfect place … the rehearsal dinner.

I doubt that the bride’s mother actually did that, but what a funny idea that I’m sure gave her daughter a little laugh and, along with her willingness to wear another dress, relieved some of her  daughter’s pre-wedding tension.


12 Responses to A Dress Dilemma

  1. Hilary says:

    I had heard that one before.. it’s a great story. And I’m sure there are women who would do such a thing.. and those who might deserve it. It brings out the “catty” in me. 😉

  2. Kerry O says:

    What a great story! I well remember the stress of planning a wedding and trying to keep both sides of the family happy. I think in my planning days, a dress dilemma like that may have sent me over the edge! 🙂

  3. Beth says:

    Your story is funny! The original one you told is horrifying, though–I can’t imagine what would possess a groom’s mother to do such a thing! Maybe she didn’t care for the bride and this was her passive-aggressive way of showing it?

  4. Sandra says:

    Hilary — I feel the same way I think you mean — kind of irritated by the mother of the groom. I had to re-write this several times to not make it sound too mean-spirited on either side. I didn’t want MY “catty” to show! 🙂

    Kerry — It is a stressful time isn’t it. I remember thinking when I was the bride how stressful it was for ME, the bride. Then, when I was the mother of the bride, I realized how stressful the wedding was for ME, the mother of the bride. No wonder there is sometimes conflict between the bride and her mother during the planning of a wedding! 🙂

  5. Sandra says:

    Beth — I hope it wasn’t because she was being passive-aggressive, but if she wasn’t, the only other explanation I can think of is that she was clueless! Neither very flattering. And either one should tell the bride that she’s going to have to be verrrry careful in dealing with her husband’s mother. For her sake, I’m hoping the woman turns out to be a lovable dits! 🙂

  6. Linda says:

    I think the best advice I’ve ever heard for the mother of the groom is to “wear beige and keep your mouth shut.” But I surely do love the idea of the mother of the bride wearing her dress to the rehearsal dinner. My “catty” won’t stay hidden!

  7. Chrissy says:

    that’s good! The first story was so scary! The second one is just too funny!

  8. Sandra says:

    Linda — I think what we like about that story is the “gotcha” factor, don’t you think? Somehow it’s satisfying to think of the groom’s mother getting her “come-uppence”, but I don’t suppose that would be the best for the future relationship between the two families! 🙂

    Chrissy — A perfect assessment! 🙂

  9. Dawn says:


    a “real” lady is able to discern the subtle difference between creativity and passive-aggressiveness! hahahahahaha!

  10. Sandra says:

    Dawn — I agree, hahahahahaha! 🙂

  11. lynn says:

    This is funny. But, honest to goodness, at my own wedding years ago both my mom and my mother-in-law had chosen the exact same dress, only in different colors! None of us had consulted each other on specific styles beforehand so we didn’t know until we all showed up on the wedding day. But both ladies looked gorgeous; one dress had the print in pink and its wearer had gotten shoes dyed to match; and the other had the print in dark green with dark green dyed shoes to match. If it bothered either one of them, they both were gracious enough not to mention it. I just figured it was two of my favorite women with matching good taste 🙂

  12. Sandra says:

    Lynn — What a wonderful attitude to start out a marriage! It makes life so much easier if a daughter and her mother can include a mother-in-law and make her feel like part of the “group” too! How blessed you were/are. 🙂

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