Customs and Traditions

Groom's Family & the Dress

Good morning!

New to The Knot here! I just have a quick question. I went shopping this weekend for my dress (ended up finding one too!!!), and my mom came along. I live out of state from my parents and FIL, and really everyone being invited to the wedding. My mom started an album as I was trying on dresses, so they could be shared with my sister (also my MOH), grandmother, and dad. I wanted to add my FMIL and FSIL, who is a BM, but my mom said the groom's family isn't supposed to see the dress before the wedding. I dropped it because I didn't want a fight and I was exhausted from shopping, but I did want to share it with them.

If I had gone shopping back home, I would have invited my FMIL to go shopping with me. Both she and my FSIL have expressed interest and wanted to be involved in dress shopping. Neither know I went shopping or have found a dress, but it's bound to get out soon, since I told my fiance we'll be having a black tie wedding (I ended up getting a cathedral length train and my parents don't want me to shorten it).

So, is my mom correct, is it tradition for the groom's family not to see the gown before the wedding? I'm about 95% sure I'll be showing my bridesmaids the gown, but haven't decided yet - but I don't want to leave my FSIL out...
KnotRiley
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Re: Groom's Family & the Dress

  • I have never heard of this tradition. I didn't show my dress to my fiance during our engagement (although that is just a simple tradition I wanted to follow, it is not a rule and you are 100% fine to show your fiance if you want!), but I did show photos to his mom and my future sister-in-law (who was a BM). If you would like to share what your dress looks like with them, go for it. 
                        


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  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
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    Agree with PPs. The tradition is that the groom doesn't see the dress until the wedding, but with first looks that isn't even being done anymore. I'd show them the pictures if that is what you want to do. FTR, DD showed her MIL the dress she decided to buy. MIL went dress shopping with us for a day but not the day DD found the dress.
    DrillSergeantCat
  • Great, thank you! I'd never heard of the tradition and neither had my sister. Initially my mom was saying she should be the only person to see the dress before the wedding, but then she caved when I said I needed my sister's input.

    I have no plans to show my fiance my dress, and I don't think he wants to see it either! Especially now that the dress is much more formal than we were initially expecting, I want the bridesmaids and FMIL to see it, so they'll understand why we're pushing for black tie!
  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK
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    My FMIL was dress shopping with me. I haven't heard that tradition before. I think your mom is a bit confused maybe.
  • @Ironring I should have been more specific! The train on the dress is cathedral length, and the veil is about the same, just a little longer.

    I'm fine with it not being black tie, but my parents feel that's best for the dress I'm wearing. As soon as I was saying I wanted the dress, and my parents were okay with it, they were saying it would be a black tie wedding.

    I've already been told I don't really have a say since my parents are footing a majority of the bill...
  • Thank you @Ironring! That's a really good point about the black tie. I think most of my parent's friends probably have tuxes, and I think even some of my fiance's friends will have the appropriate attire. I have no idea about my FILs laws though, and that's definitely a discussion I want to have with them.

    I think I could probably get my parents to agree to black tie optional, but I don't think I'll be able to get them to drop it altogether. But that's a different problem needing its own discussion, with quite a bit of background! And I know my parents have a very large say in the planning, but I was told flat out (by my mom) I wouldn't have input. My dad looked rather stunned.
  • edited August 2016
    Thank you @Ironring! That's a really good point about the black tie. I think most of my parent's friends probably have tuxes, and I think even some of my fiance's friends will have the appropriate attire. I have no idea about my FILs laws though, and that's definitely a discussion I want to have with them.

    I think I could probably get my parents to agree to black tie optional, but I don't think I'll be able to get them to drop it altogether. But that's a different problem needing its own discussion, with quite a bit of background! And I know my parents have a very large say in the planning, but I was told flat out (by my mom) I wouldn't have input. My dad looked rather stunned.
    If you want to have a black tie for other reasons, then great!

    To the bolded, this sounds like a potential disaster and a lot of angst. I highly recommend you and your FI sit down and decide what the two of you want for your wedding. Then, have a very clear conversation with your parents about what they want, and what level of involvement and decision making each of you will do. I would make very sure that you and your FI are comfortable with what your mom visions and/or letting her make the decisions and do the planning. If you aren't, respectfully decline your parents money and plan the wedding that you and your FI can afford. 

    I, personally, would absolutely not be ok being told that I wouldn't be able to have any say in my own wedding. 
    OliveOilsMomSP29cowgirl8238
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    Thank you @Ironring! That's a really good point about the black tie. I think most of my parent's friends probably have tuxes, and I think even some of my fiance's friends will have the appropriate attire. I have no idea about my FILs laws though, and that's definitely a discussion I want to have with them.

    I think I could probably get my parents to agree to black tie optional, but I don't think I'll be able to get them to drop it altogether. But that's a different problem needing its own discussion, with quite a bit of background! And I know my parents have a very large say in the planning, but I was told flat out (by my mom) I wouldn't have input. My dad looked rather stunned.
    I would give your mom and dad back any money they've given you or paid out already for your wedding, cancel any existing plans, and plan your wedding with your FI on the funds you will have available to you (without any contributions from anyone else).

    Tell your mom, "Mom, we are cancelling all existing plans and returning your funds to you and Dad, and planning and paying for our own wedding. We hope you will still be willing to attend, and if not, we'll miss you, but it is totally unacceptable to FI and me to be locked out of input into plans for our own wedding."
    SwissMsHeffalumpcowgirl8238
  • Thank you @charlotte989875. I most certainly did not know all that, and I haven't been to a black tie even myself. I think it might be easier to have the GM wear tuxes, and probably my dad. I don't particularly care what the guests will be wearing. It sounds like an open bar is already out of the running, and we were definitely not planning on a band, so black tie should definitely not be required. Formal event it is!

    We have a tentative venue that would work great for black tie, but now my parents are trying to find something cheaper, less extravagant. If we're going to go less on the venue, I most certainly would not require my guests to wear black tie!!
  • @Jen4948 @Ironring

    I have a big problem with what she said. At the time, I didn't want to fight it, and I think some compromise is definitely possible. My sister essentially needs to be our moderator because we can't get anything accomplished and everyone is disagreeing on everything. It's just difficult because everyone is in a different time zone.

    My fiance and I wanted to get eloped, and then plan a celebration a few years down the line when we had enough money and just have something low key. I made the mistake of telling my parents our plan (against the better judgement of my fiance), and now we're stuck in our current situation.

    At this point, the only money my parents have spent is the deposit on the gown/veil.
  • Even if it were a tradition (not one I've ever heard of), you don't have to follow it if you don't want to.
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  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
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    @Kimmiinthemitten ; I have read a few times before, especially when I was planning my wedding and reading the bridal mags, that the dress dictates the formality of the event.  I don't agree with it, but there are people out there who state that.  So I do believe its a totally made up thing by the wedding industry, so if some people read that, they will believe it because the magazine says so!
  • Thank you everyone. Sorry for the delayed response.. Time change is a hassle! @OliveOilsMom @kimmiinthemitten @MobKaz

    I'm not sure if a bit of backstory would be helpful or not, but here goes. @MobKaz yes my mom has always been a bit controlling. My fiancé and I wanted to elope because with scheduling, the distance we live from all of our family and friends, we knew it would be best for us. He wanted to elope, not tell anyone, and still plan a "wedding". I wasn't okay with that and told him if we were eloping we would share the news. My fault was to share that news with my parents ahead of time. After a mini fallout with them, I wanted to push ahead anyway with our plans because they were making it all about them and their feelings. My fiancé and I discussed and he wanted me to maintain a decent relationship with my parents and really advocated for not eloping, and to go ahead with the wedding plans. 

    When we decided to go ahead with a wedding, we were excited because we would be getting experiences we wouldn't have gotten if we eloped. Registering, wedding party, etc.. Excitement wore off quick, however as the actual planning started. Part of the reason I was looking forward to eloping was not having to deal with my parents on the planning. With the time change (we're 3 hours behind), it's been difficult getting any chance to have any planning conversations with my parents (for over a month now), and we haven't gotten any closer to anything. 

    I do have another post going in Wedding 911 describing the budget issues, so I won't get into that mess here. 

    My parents planned a visit for this past weekend, and it was always the plan for my mom and I to go dress shopping, I just hoped we would have had a venue already. It was our goal (between fiancé and I) to have a venue settled by last weekend, which would have given us a chance to get some serious planning done with my parents while they were here. The only thing we did was get a dress, which they decided would make the event black tie. 

    I admit, I did not know all the intricacies of a black tie event, and now that you all have informed me, I definitely don't want to go that route! Thank you! I love my dress, but it never occurred to me that everyone "should" be black tie.. That was my parents. I'd happily shorten my train, but they've already told me that since they're paying for it, I can't.... 

    In terms of money, my fiancé and I will be contributing what we can. 

    As for the bar.. Mom doesn't want liquor served after dinner, doesn't like the idea of an open bar....

    FMIL won't be able to come out to see the dress before the wedding.. 

    sorry if I missed something! I'm on my phone

    essentially, everything is majorly screwed up. 
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216
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    edited August 2016
    Ironring said:
    Show the dress to whomever you want. I showed FMIL and FSIL. 

    Also, a cathedral length veil does not mean you HAVE to have a black tie wedding. Have one if you and your FI want and it fits with the rest of your plans, but it should be based on what you want, not on what veil you buy.  
    And on what you (and anyone helping you) can afford.
  • @ILoveBeachMusic I want to shorten my train because it's just a tad too long for me! It has nothing to do with my parents desire for a black tie or anything like that. The train length was the only part I wasn't completely in love with about the dress, and that can be fixed! I totally understand now (after hearing people other than my parents!) that the length doesn't dictate the formality. 

    The bar... My fiancé and I want to have an open bar with liquor, beer, and wine. I do not like the idea of having an open bar, but stopping service on something after a certain point. She thinks people get too rowdy with liquor, but I know people can get just as rowdy with beer and wine. I would rather not serve liquor to begin with, than to stop it after a certain point, because I agree, that is rude!
    tigerlily6kimmiinthemittenemmaaa
  • lottie64 said:
    @ILoveBeachMusic I want to shorten my train because it's just a tad too long for me! It has nothing to do with my parents desire for a black tie or anything like that. The train length was the only part I wasn't completely in love with about the dress, and that can be fixed! I totally understand now (after hearing people other than my parents!) that the length doesn't dictate the formality. 

    The bar... My fiancé and I want to have an open bar with liquor, beer, and wine. I do not like the idea of having an open bar, but stopping service on something after a certain point. She thinks people get too rowdy with liquor, but I know people can get just as rowdy with beer and wine. I would rather not serve liquor to begin with, than to stop it after a certain point, because I agree, that is rude!
    It may be best to go with no alcohol at all, then, which is 100% okay. If you do decide to serve alcohol, here are the other alternatives:
    • Hosted wine and beer only, but available all through the reception
    • Hosted wine, beer, and a signature cocktail, but all available through the reception.
    If alcohol makes you uncomfortable, then don't serve it. You know your guests best. But it is also generally advised here that MOST guests will know how to keep themselves pretty decent, and if they don't, then you can always have them escorted out. We served wine, beer, and a signature cocktail at our wedding, and nobody got too smashed (which was impressive, considering some of our friends and family!). The after-party got wild, so I heard, but neither my parents (the hosts) nor DH and I had to worry about that. Adults can make their own choices. 
                        


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  • @tigerlily6 my fiancé and I have no qualms about an open bar. We prefer it! If people drink too much, that's on them, and I'm not going to let it detract from our day. I only said people can get rowdy on beer and wine, not just hard alcohol because I said that to my mom! She seemed to think it could only be bad if there were liquor. But overall, the bar is the least of my worries right now! I'm tackling one obstacle at a time, and the bar has just been a topic of conversation thus far, with no actual decisions being made. 
    tigerlily6InLoveInQueens
  • When your parents were married, the men in the bridal party usually wore tuxedos if it was an evening wedding.  The trend for today's weddings is moving towards men wearing suits, which is actually more traditional than tuxedos at weddings.  You can do whatever you wish.
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  • Give the money back. Cancel everything. Elope like you originally planned (but without the "wedding" later -- once you are married, you are married). 

    Also, keep in mind, the wedding can't happen without you and your FI. Your parents can't make you do anything unless they literally hold a gun to your head.
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