Do you remember what your mother-in-law wore to your wedding? Ohio writer, veteran and married mother-of-four Amy Pennza will never forget.
Pennza, in response to a prompt from Jimmy Fallon asking viewers to post their best wedding fail photos, posted a photo of herself on her wedding day. She wore a white wedding dress and stood next to her mother-in-law, who was also wearing a white wedding dress.
“My mother-in-law wore a wedding dress to my wedding. So, yeah, top that one, Twitter,” she captioned the photo.
A close look shows Pennza’s fist in a tight clench as she stood next to her mother-in-law at the wedding reception.
— Amy Pennza (@AmyPennza) June 19, 2019
Viewers were astonished by the photo and the brief description, eagerly asking Pennza to explain the story. While many suspected some kind of malicious drama had unfolded at the wedding, Pennza explained what led her mother-in-law to turn up at her wedding donning the white gown.
“I didn’t know what my mother-in-law planned to wear. I didn’t think to ask,” she explained on Twitter.
On the morning of her wedding, Pennza recalled waiting in a small room inside a church with the rest of her bridal party. “You know, body glitter and hairspray everywhere. Fifteen coats of mascara. Putting napkins under your pits so you don’t sweat on your dress,” she wrote.
Pennza remembered the moment she saw her mother-in-law walk inside.
“I don’t remember much about the day. Most people say their wedding is a blur, and that’s true for me, too. But I know I said this: “You … You could be the bride,” Pennza wrote.
She went on to explain that her bridal party thought it best not to make a big scene of anything — hoping that Pennza would be too distracted by the flurry of wedding festivities to really notice — and overall, it worked.
“I’m happy to report the wedding unfolded without bloodshed, or anyone being shoved into the champagne fountain,” Pennza joked.
So why did her mother-in-law think it would be a good idea to wear a bridal gown to her son’s wedding?
“Here’s the thing: My mother-in-law is extremely frugal. And I don’t mean she just enjoys a good bargain. To understand her, you have to know where she comes from,” Pennza explained.
“She grew up in extreme poverty. As a child, she used to sneak into the kitchen and eat match heads. That’s a pica craving, and kids do it when they’re malnourished. When you grow up with nothing, it stays with you. Forever, I think. No matter how much money you earn, there’s always that little fear in the back of your mind that someone might take it all away.”
“However, she’s a bargain hunter to the bone,” Pennza continued. “Her money-saving strategies are legend — and often hilarious.”
Her mother-in-law’s frugal behaviors are often the talk of family gatherings, for example, removing the olives and celery out of a Bloody Mary to save them for salads.
She once walked casually to the table where I was eating a subway sandwich and put my discarded cold cuts in a baggie because “someone will eat them.”
— Amy Pennza (@AmyPennza) June 20, 2019
“So when she spotted The Dress at an incredible bargain, she couldn’t turn it down,” Pennza wrote.
“If you ask her now, she says she feels terrible about it. Although, she also told me, ‘I think I’ve still got it. We should raffle it off.’ So, yeah, the wedding dress was a shock. But it gave me a pretty funny memory. No one who attended has ever forgotten it. And, you have to admit, weddings can be forgettable.”
Pennza went on to write a string of Tweets praising her mother-in-law for all the wonderful ways she has shown love and generosity to her family.
“She’s frugal. But she’s also incredibly generous. When my twins were newborns, she drove across town every night, slept on the sofa, and did three feedings. For two babies. Every night for months,” Pennza wrote.
“She never misses a band concert, sports event, talent show, science fair … you name it. She’d walk over hot coals for her grandchildren. She gives them everything. Because, you know, she grew up with nothing,” she continued.
There are no hard feelings in the Pennza family over the wedding faux pas — if anything, it sure makes for a great story.
“Sure, she wore a wedding dress to my wedding. But she has more than made up for it since. When I told her about this getting a lot of attention, and said I worried it might hurt her feelings, she waved it off. ‘Whatever makes me famous.'”
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