You can suggest a dress code for your wedding, but it’s going to be hard to enforce it. Some people just have different ideas of what “cocktail” attire is or how fancy “black tie optional” should be.
One Redditor was invited to a wedding and dressed in a way she considered appropriate—but when she showed up, the wedding was very casual and the bride, who was wearing a custom-made gothic dress, seemed upset.
Did the OP do something wrong?
“I got invited to my cousin’s very small wedding, which was last week. I had never met her before the wedding, so I knew it was important to make a good impression. I also have deep insecurities about how I look due to being bullied as a child, so I always need to look as nice as possible when I’m going out, even just to get coffee,” the OP wrote.
“I started planning what I would wear immediately. The invite said cocktail attire, and I settled on a tea length dress I had worn to other people’s weddings, with matching colored chiffon shawl and flats as well as a real pearl necklace and earrings. I didn’t buy anything new for this, just did my best with what I have. I made sure my makeup was decent and didn’t clash, and made sure to get my hair cut a week before the wedding so it would look its best as well.”
When the OP showed up at the wedding, the guests were wearing much more casual attire, such as T-shirts and shorts. She said she was one of two guests wearing a dress.
The groom was wearing a Tuxedo shirt and black jeans. The bride was wearing a “custom gothic dress that looked like a purple, red, and black patchwork dress. Her hair was not brushed, and she did black makeup so heavily that you could barely see her face. I was shocked.”
I mean, the bride and groom can wear whatever they want. I love when people get creative at their wedding and try to reflect their personalities. Unfortunately, it seems like the bride was not happy with the OP’s attire.
“Several people came up to me during the reception to say that I looked nice, but was upstaging the bride, which was not my intention. The bride herself was quiet the whole night. I tried to try to get to know her as that’s what she requested, but she wasn’t interested. The wedding ended and on my way home, I got flooded with calls from her mother and new husband that I was a horrible person for ‘dressing like Grace Kelly’ and going out of my way to ‘make the bride feel ugly at her own wedding.’ I didn’t, I just can’t go somewhere, especially to what I thought was a formal event, looking less than my best.”
Is there really anything wrong with dressing your best for a wedding and accidentally upsetting the bride? Or is the OP being kind of a snob?
“If the invite said cocktail attire, why was every other guest dressed for a BBQ? Why was the groom in jeans? And by tuxedo shirt, do you mean a shirt designed to be worn with a tuxedo, or (and this is what I’m picturing) a tshirt with a tuxedo printed on the print? You were definitely dressed appropriately IMO (I’m not fancy enough to know whether tea length dresses are too long for cocktail attire). I would however focus on the fact that you thought you were dressed appropriately for a wedding, rather than your desire to look your best. The former makes this an unhappy misunderstanding, the latter makes it seem like you would prioritise your appearance to the extent that you could feasibly try and upstage a bride,” said foibleShmoible.
“The invite said cocktail attire. You wore cocktail attire. It seems like the bride and groom have an entirely different version of this concept which was on them to communicate, especially to people who weren’t in their close immediate circle. You said you never met this cousin before the wedding so maybe it’s best to go back to this type of relationship now. Seems drama,” said phelgmdounuts.
“Gonna go out on a limb and say NAH. Traditional cocktail attire is supposed to be a little glamorous (couple accessories, clutch bag, lil heel etc), so you didn’t screw up there…It just seems they had another idea of what that may have meant. You mentioned how self conscious you can be, and that’s fine, we’re all a work in progress.. in the same vein, you being ‘shocked’ by their style is the same judgment you fear from others before going out. Crap like this can happen anytime, lighten up and lean into it a tad more,” advised bb-babsy.
“She’s NTA for dressing how the invitation stated, BUT she is TA for talking about the bride that way. Like wtf? She said SHE’S insecure due to bullying but thats exactly what she did to the bride,” observed Lemon_Kiss.
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