In a vibrant South Asian wedding tradition, the Original Poster (OP) proudly selects a white dress to honor her cousin’s big day. However, when she shares her joy at work, a coworker’s Western perspective challenges her choice, setting the stage for a cultural showdown. As accusations fly and misunderstandings deepen, the question remains: is OP’s attire choice truly inappropriate, or is it a celebration of her heritage?
At 19, OP, a South Asian woman, explains the cultural tradition where family members wear the same color as the bride or groom on their wedding day. Multiple ceremonies are common in her culture. The distinction between the bride’s and groom’s families is represented through color coordination.
OP’s cousin, a 24-year-old man, is about to get married to his long-time partner. He and OP share a close bond, having been raised together. OP’s two brothers and she are considered almost siblings with her cousin.
The Groom’s Ensemble
The groom, opting for a grand look, chooses white and gold for his wedding attire. As tradition demands, his family should match his chosen colors. His brother, father, and OP’s brothers will be seen in white suits.
OP’s Dress Selection
OP excitedly selects a beautiful white dress for the occasion, keeping in line with the groom’s theme. She ensures that her dress differs in style from her aunt’s, who has also chosen white for the event. Their dresses may share a color, but their individuality shines through distinct designs.
The Bride’s Radiance
In contrast to the groom’s family, the bride and her family are adorned in striking red. The deep hue symbolizes their side of the union. OP emphasizes that even if someone were to wear the same color as the bride, it would be challenging to outshine her without significant effort.
Show and Tell at Work
OP, excited about her dress selection, shows a friend a picture of her dress during a shared lunch break at work. The anticipation of the big day makes her eager to share her preparations with friends.
As OP showcases her dress, a coworker unexpectedly intrudes upon their conversation. She immediately criticizes OP’s choice, spouting off traditional Western beliefs about not wearing white to weddings.
Taken aback, OP attempts to explain the cultural differences and significance behind her choice. She highlights that in her tradition, wearing the same color as the bride isn’t seen as a faux pas. Yet, the coworker remains unyielding.
Ignoring OP’s explanation, the coworker accuses her of trying to overshadow the bride. She insists that OP will be drawing undue attention to herself. OP, confident in her decision, is amused by the baseless accusations.
OP doesn’t let the coworker’s words faze her. She knows the depth of her culture’s traditions and the love behind her choices. To her, the coworker’s perspective seems limited and uninformed. She regrets showing her the picture of the dress.
However, the coworker isn’t alone in her thinking. Several others at work rally behind her, agreeing with the notion that OP’s decision is inappropriate. They label OP as ‘cold-hearted’ for her reaction.
While OP laughed off the initial critique, her amusement is misinterpreted. Her colleagues view it as callousness or disregard for advice, intensifying their belief that she’s in the wrong. They start to distance themselves from her, thinking she is rude and selfish.
A Question of Intent
OP grapples with the accusations. She wonders if her genuine laughter, stemming from cultural understanding and confidence, could truly be perceived as cold-heartedness. What may seem unusual or inappropriate in one culture might be deeply respected and cherished in another.
The Real Spotlight
OP knows that even if a guest wore red like the bride, they wouldn’t match her brilliance unless they intentionally tried to overshadow her. The bride’s aura, combined with bridal attire and jewels, is irreplaceable.
Was The Woman’s Behavior Appropriate?
Uncertain about the workplace chatter and confused by contrasting views, OP posts her story online for feedback. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “While trying to be socially sensitive on your behalf, your coworker was being culturally insensitive. You are more familiar with the rules for this wedding, so don’t worry about their accidentally bad advice.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “Your coworker seems to have made no attempt to understand your culture. How obnoxious to try to insert Western traditions into a situation where they DO NOT BELONG.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “They’re literally failing to understand your culture and (unintentionally or not) forcing their own cultural expectations upon you. Maybe shoot HR an email about their culturally insensitive remarks.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “Your coworker is ignorant and seems to believe everyone on this earth follows the same traditions. Wear your white dress.”