When Jack and I got married, MIL desperately wanted a say in everything related to the wedding. However, she knew her status as MIL only gave her so much say in certain things, like my wedding dress. This led to a couple amusing situations in which MIL resorted to creative solutions in order to get her way without stepping on toes.
A couple months into the engagement, MIL notified me that she had 4 wedding dresses in her basement – all free if they fit! Just come try them on! When I inquired how she acquired four wedding dresses, she claimed that she knew someone who worked for the airline industry and they were “lost luggage.”
I was not opposed to the idea of a free dress, so I said sure – I’ll come see them.
I went to her house one day and she brought out the dresses. They were all in standard garment bags, no airline tags attached anywhere.
All of the dresses were very similar in style – coated in layers of lace, with long sleeves, high necks, and huge layered skirts. Somewhat similar to this:
The dresses weren’t hideous, but they weren’t the first thing I’d try on if I were in a store. Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have tried them on at all. They just weren’t my style.
I could also tell by looking at them that they were way too big for me and were not going to fit my petite frame. But I did the polite thing and tried on one anyway, picking out the smallest dress in the bunch. I went into the bathroom and slipped into it. It was about 5 sizes too big for me and I found myself swimming in a sea of fabric. I gathered up as much fabric as I could and emerged into my MIL’s bedroom. She had me stand up on a tufted footstool so she could spread out the train on the dress. I looked into the mirror and giggled at the sight of myself. It was like the dress was wearing me.
“This is way too big, and the other dresses are even bigger. I just don’t think these are going to work out. It’s too bad though, how wonderful it would’ve been to get a free dress!” I said. She smiled and agreed. We called it a day and I went home.
Soon after that, while having dinner together, she let me know that she disapproved of strapless dresses. “We went to a wedding this weekend,” she casually mentioned, “All the bridesmaids had on strapless dresses and they kept pulling at them all night.” She gestured like someone tugging up a strapless dress, while wriggling her hips around.
My MIL wrinkled her nose in distaste.
“Oh, how unfortunate. Sounds like they weren’t properly fitted,” I responded diplomatically.
“You know where you should go look for a dress?!” she suddenly said excitedly. “Jostens! That’s where Kristin bought her wedding dress.” (Kristin is one of my husband’s cousins.) She went on and on for a bit about how wonderful of a store it was and how affordable. She was relentless in promoting it.
After that I took dress shopping into my own hands. I invited my mom and we had a lot of fun shopping for dresses. One sales clerk even told us how refreshing it was to see a mother and daughter dress shopping together without being at each other’s throats the whole time. I wound up going with a strapless dress that was pretty form-fitting, but without being tawdry or immodest. It was my favorite and my mom liked it, too.
While shopping, we did swing by the much-recommended Jostens, but didn’t stay there long. The shop was cramped and small. There were dresses actually laying on the floor, as if they’d slipped off their hangers and no one could be bothered to pick them up. None of the dresses in the store stood out to me, so we wound up leaving after about 10 minutes.
My MIL did not see the dress I selected until our wedding day. I put it on at our church, shortly before the ceremony. She knew which room I was getting dressed in and waited eagerly outside for the big reveal. When I came out wearing the dress, her face turned to stone. She turned around quickly and walked away down the hall without a word.
I guess she didn’t like the dress.
For the record, I didn’t have to tug at it once during our wedding or reception.