A year or so ago, ABC News aired a What Would You Do segment called A Wedding to Remember: Shopping for the ‘Perfect’ Dress. In it, brides-to-be took their loved ones wedding gown shopping and pretended that they had fallen in love with dresses that, shall we say, fall outside the current bridal norm. The objective was to find out whether honesty is the best policy when a bride-to-be has found “The One,” even when it’s completely wrong for her.
In reading the summary of the segment, what I found particularly interesting were the different reactions the brides-to-be who participated received from relatives and friends.
As the scenario played out, the [companions of the bride] teetered on just how serious Andrea was about the fuchsia dress. Ultimately, however, Andrea was overruled by her dutiful friends and bridesmaids.
“I don’t approve,” Katie said. “I’m sorry.”
“I won’t let you,” said bridesmaid Maria Cacucciolo. “It’s… it’s a nightmare … I’m gonna be honest with you. It’s all wrong. Absolutely not!”
Now I’m sure that Katie and Maria had the best of intentions. They merely wanted to protect someone they cared about from making what to them must have seemed like a monumental mistake. That said, the fact remains that a dress is just a dress, even when it is a wedding gown, and a tacky, ugly, weird, silly, or just-not-to-your-tastes dress (one that covers everything needing covering, anyway) is never truly a ‘monumental mistake.’ What if the bride-to-be had really adored the fuchsia wedding gown? I somehow doubt that she would have thanked her friends for caring enough not to let her wear her perfect gown!
I much preferred this response:
Rebekah [the sister of another bride-to-be] told us why she supported her sister’s decision.
“There comes a point when it’s your integrity versus … what you think you should say,” she explained. And when it came to her sister, she had to ask herself, “Where’s that line drawn with white lies? Who is it hurting versus who would it help? And so in this case, I think it’s really about supporting her.”
Even though the whole thing was a set-up, that’s more like it. The perfect wedding gown only has to be perfect to the person who is going to wear it, so why browbeat someone you care about into wearing a gown other than the one she really loves? If I knew in my heart of hearts that I’d shamed my sister or my friend into wearing a second-choice gown or, worse, a gown that *I* liked, I would feel terribly guilty. Maybe I’m too sentimental about these things, but it seems to me that if you can’t say anything nice about your loved one’s wedding gown, you should say something benign like “It really is your style” or “Wow, that’s colorful!” No lies, no nastiness, and no one gets hurt.