Woman defended after refusing to wear stepsister’s handmade wedding dress

‘You were as fair as could be in rejecting the dress,’ one person responds on Reddit

Amber Raiken
New York
Monday 01 April 2024 20:45 BST
Related: Bride Surprises Mom In Repurposed 90s Wedding Dress

A former bride has been defended for refusing to wear a wedding dress that her stepsister handmade for her.

In a recent post shared to the popular “Am I The A**hole?” Reddit forum, the woman asked if she was in the wrong for not wearing the outfit. She then explained that when she and her now-husband got married a few weeks ago, she “paid for most of the wedding,” with her father covering “a few” of the other costs.

She then noted that her father’s girlfriend has a daughter – who she referred to as “Zoey” – who is getting a degree in fashion. According to the Reddit user, Zoey offered to make the dress for the big day.

“She wants to get into the wedding dress industry once she graduates. When I started planning my wedding, she offered to design and make my dress,” the woman explained. “I was hesitant at first, as I’d been excited about picking out my own dress.”

The former bride noted that since she didn’t know her stepsister that well– since her dad had only been dating Zoey’s mother for two years – she gave the college student the opportunity to make the dress, thinking “this could be a nice opportunity” for them to “bond”. She also specified that she’d seen some of the “ball gowns” that Zoey made while in college, so her design work “seemed honestly good”.

However, she noted then when they met up to discuss the dress, she realised that they had different opinions about the outfit. She added that when the dress was finished, it wasn’t what she’d expected.

“I realised our styles were drastically different, but we still managed to agree on a design. I gave Zoey my measurements and asked her to update me. She didn’t. Whenever I asked her how she was doing, she’d say she would send me progress pictures when she got home (she never did),” she explained.  “It took her longer than expected to finish it, and I didn’t get the dress until a month before my wedding. It looked nothing like the design we’d agreed on. It was the wrong colour, the wrong style, everything.”

According to the Reddit user, the dress wasn’t something she’d wear, and it looked “exactly like the type of dress Zoey would want”. After emphasising that she “really did not like that dress”, she shared another issue with the outfit, which ultimately encouraged her to tell Zoey that she wasn’t wearing it.

“When I tried it on, I found out it was also about three sizes too big. Though I knew I could probably have it altered, I truly did not want to wear that dress on my wedding day,” she continued. “I called Zoey and told her I wouldn’t wear the dress. I said it looked lovely, but not the style we’d agreed on, and I thought it would be best for me to find a different dress.”

She explained that while she offered to pay Zoey for the work, since she initially made the dress for free, Zoey declined the offer and “hung up” on the Reddit user. She shared that she then went to a bridal store, where she found a “beautiful gown” to wear that “didn’t need much altering” and looked “exactly” like she wanted.

The woman added that when her big day arrived and she wore her dress, her family, including her father’s girlfriend, Stella, weren’t pleased.

“Zoey seemed to be on the verge of tears during the ceremony, and Stella gave me dirty looks throughout the reception. When I approached them a while later, they were both short with me. My father, Stella and Zoey left less than an hour into the reception,” she wrote.

She concluded by explaining that her father and Stella called her the next day and “told [her] off for how [she’d] treated Zoey”. In the post, the woman then recalled some of the criticism she received from her family, while noting that her husband and younger sister were on her side in the situation.

“This was her first time making a wedding dress and [she] had been excited to see me wearing it. They said it was insulting of me to not wear the dress she’d put so much effort into,” she continued. “I tried to explain why I hadn’t worn the dress, but they’re both insisting the dress was beautiful and I could have sucked it up.”

The Reddit post has quickly gone viral, with more than 9,300 upvotes. In the comments, many people defended the bride’s decision to get her own dress, while criticising Zoey for how she went about designing the initial outfit. They also gave the Reddit user some advice on how to address the situation with her family.

“Zoey disrespected you by ignoring your wants. As a designer, she needs to listen to her clients. Plus her making the dress way too big means she isn’t that great at it,” one wrote. “Give the dress back to Zoey, and let her know that you appreciated the effort, but this was not the dress you wanted and the two of you agreed to. That you are sure she will find someone to appreciate the dress.”

“You were as fair as could be in rejecting the dress. You were generous to go along with it as long as you did. If Zoey can’t satisfy a client, she doesn’t know what she’s doing,” another added. “I’m sorry your father didn’t stick up for you.”

“The thing about being a designer, especially a bridal designer, is listening to the bride and what sort of dress they see themselves in. You likely didn’t get any progress photos because she knew this was her style, not yours. It was your day and your desires should have been honoured,” a third wrote. “She never prepared you for the fact it was nothing like you wanted.”

Other people went on to critcise Zoey’s reaction to her dress being rejected, noting that the situation could have been a “learning opportunity for her”, especially if she wants to work in the fashion industry.

“You were being far nicer than she deserved in all honesty, leaving dress updates until a MONTH beforehand is cutting it incredibly close, this is why people start their hunts MANY months beforehand - almost a full year,” the reader added. “Getting adjustments takes time, and you were lucky to find a dress that you like and that fits on such short notice. She could have majorly compromised your wedding.”

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