Ask Amy: Bride asks sister-in-law to wear specific dress to wedding

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Dear Amy: My husband’s sister is getting married in a year. She is requiring all of the mothers at her wedding to wear a specific color and style of dress.

I am not in the wedding so I assumed that as a wedding guest I would be able to pick out my own appropriate dress; however, I was recently told by my mother-in-law (her mother) that the bride also wanted me and the other two sisters-in-law to wear the same color and style of dress as “the mothers.”

I was quite surprised, since I’ve never heard of a bride requiring people that weren’t in the wedding to buy a specific color and style of dress. I have seven weddings to attend next year so I was going to buy a couple of new dresses for the year and re-wear them since different groups of people will be at different weddings.

This now requires me to buy a specific type of dress I would not usually buy. I understand this when I’m a bridesmaid, but I have no such role in this wedding. This comes off really controlling to me and has not made me feel great because the way I was informed was strange (my mother-in-law mentioned it to me multiple times over the course of one day).

I got married this past year and did not dictate what any of the in-laws or mothers had to wear to our wedding.

Sorry: Keep in mind that anyone can ask anything. And yes, it does seem that brides (and/or their moms) are increasingly asking/expecting/demanding that their guests must wear a specific color and style of clothing to the wedding — as if their guests are some sort of bridal pep squad.

You married into this family very recently. Your mother-in-law passed along this dictate to you.

The first thing you should do is to personally ask the bride to explain this request. What exactly is she asking, and why? The second thing you should do is to say no. You can do that by promising to dress appropriately but sit in the back of the venue — or skip the photos (if that’s the bride’s focus).

If you did manage to say no, countless wedding guests would want to hoist you onto their shoulders and parade you through the reception hall.

I’ve researched this issue on various well-known wedding sites, and I am sorry to report that brides are being coached on their “right” to make this sort of demand. On one very popular site, women are told that having a “monochromatic wedding” is justified because “your wedding should be your own vision.” They add: “Pro tip: It’ll pay off in spades with gorgeous wedding photos and just a generally stylish, elegant and curated vibe.”

To quote wonderful Miss Manners on this very topic: Wedding guests “are people, not props.”

Dear Amy: During the holidays, my husband and I met a new neighbor at a holiday party. We exchanged information and decided we’d get together for lunch in the near future.

Well, I got a text from this neighbor yesterday, asking my husband and me over for “cocktails and snacks.” We decided on a day and time and she then proceeded to tell us to bring whatever we want to drink — and she’ll supply the appetizers.

My husband thinks this is rude. I think it’s weird. Your thoughts?

Bringing: How rude or weird this is might depend on where you’re from. In some cultures and communities, BYOB is not considered too far outside the norm.

This host might have put you more at ease if she had worded the request a little differently — for instance, something like: “I don’t serve alcohol at home, but you’re more than welcome to bring your own. I’ll have seltzer and iced tea on hand.”

As it is, you’re left to wonder what exactly the motivation is to be invited for “cocktails and snacks” when it is really just snacks. As you get to know this neighbor, her attitude toward entertaining will be revealed.

Dear Amy: Thank you for standing up for Santa (responding to a recent question from “No Gaslight”).

Gaslight doesn’t seem to realize that believing in this little bit of magic is a benign phase of childhood. What a Grinch!

Fan: Running this question prompted many readers to contribute their own sweet Santa stories, giving me a dose of magic just before Christmas.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency