Does Your Mother-In-Law Need To Come Wedding Dress Shopping?

Alimay Events an NYC-based event production company founded by two former glossy vets, Ali Schajer and Maya Katz — specializes in organizing pure chaos. So, who better to call upon with our most challenging wedding etiquette queries? This week, the ladies help us navigate how to choose your wedding guest list.
Dear Alimay,
Do I have to invite my mother-in-law to try on wedding dresses? We get along okay, but I kind of want it to just be my close family & friends. Can’t I just use the "no pay, no say" excuse?
—Obnoxious Bride
Dear Obnoxious Bride,
While we must admit that your question lives up to your pen name on this one, we feel as though you make a really good point. In addition to executing logistics and planning the event, our job as planners is to also act as mediators and as a sounding board and that includes a lot of advice while navigating family politics.
For better or worse, the dress is one of the most talked-about aspects of the wedding day. For some brides, picking out a gown can be super stressful — for others, it’s one of the best days of their lives. One bride’s Say Yes to the Dress fantasy is another bride’s personal hell, so proceed with caution. Shopping for the dress, like many wedding-related activities, can be a deeply sensitive event. The best approach: Surround yourself with a select group of trustworthy and honest people. We suggest your mom, dad, sister, and M.O.H. (Maid of Honor) to keep it small. These are the people who know your taste almost as well as you do. They’ve seen you through every weird fashion phase (JNCO jeans and baby doll tees, anyone?) and will hopefully give you the honest and accurate feedback on each dress that you deserve. Negative feedback is never fun, but it is better to hear from the people you have known the longest and understand how to navigate your sensitivities. Bringing a lot of people in can result in a lot of conflicting and confusing opinions. As we like to say, it’s never good to have too many cooks in the kitchen dressing room. Keep it simple and stay true to your personal aesthetic.
Now, for the M.O.G. (Mother of the Groom). Your M.O.G. is going to be in the picture now for good, so it is important to consider her feelings around many of your planning activities. Once you've found your dress, you may want to invite your future mother-in-law to your first fitting, so that she feels included, too. By doing this, you don't have to worry about her knowing the cost of the dress or getting overly involved in the process. You are allowing her to be a part of the shopping experience, as well as to see your dress before its debut on your wedding day. This will feel special to her. In turn, perhaps offer to accompany her as she shops the dress that she will wear to the wedding. A little pre-wedding shopping and bonding can go a long way to a long and happy relationship with your mother-in-law.
Yours always,
Ali & Maya
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