Kids at weddings: Bride furious after child dresses up as Disney princess for her wedding

Flower girl sitting next to wedding party, bored - stock photo
The little Belle of the Ball gave this bride a ringing headache. Photo credit: Getty Images

Back in my day, Disney dress-ups rocked. Just like Cinderella, you could transform yourself into a princess whenever, wherever, with a wave of a Fairy Godmother's wand - also known as the bank of mum and dad.

However, while sweet kids clad in costumes are typically more 'aww'-inducing than 'argh'-inducing, not everyone wants a Disney princess at their wedding - a sentiment made clear in a recent anecdote shared to the popular Reddit forum, Am I the Asshole.

For the uninitiated, Am I the Asshole is a space for people to anonymously share their most pressing predicaments and moral conundrums with the strangers of the internet, who in turn, give their brutally honest opinions and determine who is said asshole in the given situation.

In a post to the forum over the weekend, a 29-year-old man said that his sister is currently "furious" at him after his girlfriend's young daughter wore a Beauty and the Beast-themed costume to her recent nuptials. 

The man explained that his girlfriend's six-year-old daughter, whom he assigned the alias 'Zoe', can be incredibly difficult, particularly when it comes to getting dressed in the mornings.

"Sometimes, my girlfriend has had to agree to just send her to school in her pyjamas or fancy dress because she was unwilling to dress properly," the man wrote. 

"Unfortunately, she had one of those moments on the day of my sister's wedding. It was a two-hour drive from my girlfriend's house to the venue, so we decided to just let her wear what she wanted for the journey and make her change when we got there."

In an update to his original post, the man clarified that the child had been dressed as Belle, the princess from Disney's 1991 animated film, Beauty and the Beast.

"However, she refused to change at all. At one point, she bit my girlfriend, and I was involved in the wedding so I couldn't be late. We decided that she's a kid, so hopefully nobody would mind, and just went in with her still in fancy dress."

However, upon arrival, the man realised they were woefully mistaken.

"My sister did mind. She did not say anything at the time, but she and her friends gave us dirty looks. My sister and her husband tried to keep my girlfriend and Zoe out of the family pictures, which was the first indication to me that there was a problem," he continued. 

"Some people, (aunts, cousins, etc) did remark to me about her clothes, some clearly unaware that Zoe was my girlfriend's daughter as they were less than kind about the parents who brought her. It seemed nobody approved of the outfit and my cousin went as far as to demand we put the violet dress my sister liked over the one Zoe was wearing."

After the wedding, the man said he received a long and strongly worded email from his sister complaining about Zoe's costume, calling it "inappropriate" and "attention-seeking".

"She said this… made her look bad after she had tried to plan the wedding to be perfect. I tried to explain that she's just a difficult child sometimes, but my sister refused to listen. The wedding was Sunday and she and my mother are still furious with me.

"AITA [am I the asshole]? Should we have not let my girlfriend's daughter wear a dress-up dress to the wedding?"

As it transpired, many readers agreed that the man and his girlfriend were in the wrong for clearly not setting boundaries or disciplining Zoe, skewing the power dynamic and giving her too much control.

"You're the asshole. You guys are not setting boundaries or parenting this 6yo. She is six, not a toddler," one reader weighed in.

"Personally I wouldn't care if a kid wore a princess dress to a wedding and would think it was kind of cute. If they were two or three, it would be more understandable. But what is not cute? A six-year-old unable to accept a change of dress for someone else's wedding and biting her parents," a second agreed. "Either the parenting is so weak that she knows she can escalate until she gets her way, or there's something going on. Both of these are pretty serious."

"I'm willing to guess that there was more to her behaviour at the wedding than just wearing the costume, too," a third noted, with a fourth adding: "I have a feeling there was more to it than that. Dressing was probably the easiest [for the bride] to bring up without fully telling him the child is a menace."

Most agreed that the biting was the most concerning part of the story, noting that while the behaviour is more commonplace among toddlers, bites from a six-year-old should not be tolerated. Others wondered if Zoe had underlying sensory issues that had yet to be diagnosed or picked up on.

"This is not a child being difficult, it's about parents not parenting. If they don't articulate and enforce boundaries now when she's six, what will happen as she gets older? She will continue to use anger and violent outbursts to get what she wants," another said. 

"And I can understand why someone wouldn't want Disney princesses in their wedding photos."

Last week, a mum divided opinions online after admitting that she's considering making her "very unorganised" eight-year-old pay for his own school uniform, a move she believes may teach him an important "life lesson" 

And last year, one bride shared the story of how having her young nephews at her wedding almost destroyed her and her sister's relationship after she was forced to boot them out.