Wedding attire? Or beach wear? A recent post on Mumsnet has sparked a huge debate over whether a woman should wear a pink dress to a wedding.
The post, which attracted over 200 comments, asked whether an embroidered off-the-shoulder-style dress would be appropriate for a wedding guest. User confusedmummy123 wrote that she’s attending a wedding in a few weeks time, spotted “a gorgeous bardot dress,” and had asked various family members and friends what they thought about it.
“[I] loved it, fiance loved it so ordered it and I love it in real life too,” confusedmummy123 wrote. “However I sent a pic to my mum who just texted back ‘I don’t like it for a wedding’ then didn’t say why or anymore?”
The user went on to ask if she would be “breaking some kind of etiquette” and noted that she’s “[c]lueless about these things.”
“Most weddings I’ve been too I’ve been the bridesmaid or the bride and don’t have a clue how guests dressed,” she wrote. “I do remember a wedding a few years back where I wore a red polka dot dress. Don’t know if that was breaking any etiquette rules. I do that mother likes that dress believe though!”
It turns out that wedding etiquette is rather important to a majority of Mumsnet users.
“Too informal and ought to be longer (if we’re going with wedding-appropriate attire etiquette).” wrote Kat1953. “If the wedding is in a religious place of worship, then strictly speaking shoulders should be covered.”
Rather presciently, Kat1953 added: “Now wait for the debate on wedding attire etiquette :)”
She was not wrong. Duracellbunnywannabe chimed in: “It’s a bit informal. Where is the wedding? Shoulders should be covered in a church generally.”
Similarly, Squiff70 responded: “I’m a great believer in women dressing however they like, but this isn’t really wedding attire. It’s a nice dress but more suited to a beach holiday than a formal occasion.”
@RosesAndHellebores wrote: “It is gobsmackingly inappropriate op.”
FairyCakeWings added that, for a wedding in a church, it would be “considered impolite” to wear a dress that’s too short or has uncovered shoulders. “Even if it isn’t a church, the tradition spills over,” the user wrote.
Others, however, told confusedmummy123 that if she likes the dress, she should wear it, traditions be damned!
Firefightress1 wrote: “Gorgeous dress! Why would you ask your mum, we have very different styles.”
Likewise, KitBumbleB responded: “Wear it if you like it. Surely its better for your wallet and planet to buy a dress you will wear again.”
And these comments didn’t just come from youngsters. Gonnabegrandma admitted: “I must be getting relaxed in my old age.”
“If you like it and feel comfortable wearing it. You are probably young and pretty enjoy yourself and don’t worry about other peoples opinions,” the user wrote.
Some users added that, if it’s a non-church-based wedding that’s a bit more casual, she should go ahead with her plan. Confusedmummy123 later commented: “It’s not a church wedding.”
“I like that someone commented that I should wear something that’s more ‘me,'” she wrote. “If I bought something specifically like what I’m supposed to wear I wouldn’t wear it again.”
Some Mumsnet users concurred with this point of view. Among them was RoseGoldEagle, who wrote: “It’s not traditional wedding attire, but honestly people wore all sorts to my wedding and I loved the variety. I think it’s a lovely dress and will be fine to wear.”
These views appear to be gradually becoming the norm, according to Weddings & Money 2021: A Brides & Investopedia Study published on the Brides website. Researchers surveyed roughly 1,000 people about their views on wedding traditions, and found that 41 percent were planning on incorporating unconventional elements into their celebrations. This included things like using an untraditional venue (36 percent), opting out of the conventional bride’s white dress (28 percent), and choosing not to wear a veil (60 percent).
While we may be collectively moving in this direction, the majority of the responses from Mumsnet users bely the fact that many still think traditions should be followed.
For example, Shehasadiamondinthesky wrote: “It’s too short and skimpy for a formal wedding. Etiquette dictates that nobody takes attention away from the bride. Wear something smart with more coverage.”
“Yeah that’s a throw over a bikini dress really,” added 20viona.
If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.