Picture this:

Really?  Twice in one week family members are pretending there are no brides in the family wedding pictures?  Ay yi yi.  But is it worth taking a stand?

From Prudence’s live chat on Monday:

Q. Incomplete Family Picture: My husband and I have been married a little over a year. My mother-in-law recently decided to display a “family picture” taken at our wedding in her house but chose one without me in it. (The photographer took the same picture with all of us as well.) I found this incredibly hurtful, especially because this is the only picture from our wedding day she chose to put out. When I approached her about how hurt I was, she brushed me off by saying that she hadn’t yet found a frame she liked for the picture of my husband and I that she ordered. My problem isn’t that it’s the only picture she has out but that I am excluded from the family picture on the day I supposedly became a part of their family. Am I overreacting, as my husband claims, or do I have a right to an explanation and possibly a replacement photo?

A: You already voiced your objection to the photo, and your mother-in-law said there’s one of you and your husband she’s planning to put on display.What’s your plan now: staple a photo of yourself into the “family” photo, take the family photo off the wall and substitute one of you, boycott your mother-in-law’s home until she displays your likeness? You’ve only been married a year. Presumably, you have decades ahead of interacting with your in-laws, so don’t poison things out of oversensitivity. Your mother has a right to display whatever photos she likes in her own home. Take your husband’s advice and drop it.

I agree with Prudence–if there really is an issue between the new bride and MIL, it will become apparent soon enough, and there will be other battles to fight.  Let this one go.  Insisting on her “right” to anything in this situation can only lead to ugliness (is there a Bill of Rights for in-laws wall ornaments?  I was unaware). Can I also say this is a good argument for why not to do 8 million family pictures, covering every possible permutation of relative?  If this problem was going to cause hurt feelings, the place to avoid it was when it was taken, not when someone decided to actually display it (I mean, she had to know this was coming, right?  Who would want a picture of just the groom’s nuclear family besides the groom’s parents?).  A Little Help’s wedding tip of the day: Save time, money, confusion, frustration, and hurt feelings, by not taking tons of pictures that each exclude a different person.

Of course, it turns out you still can’t stop folks who are determined to shape the family photo how they want–even decades after the fact:

Dear Abby, on Wednesday:

DEAR ABBY: I have been married 11 years to my husband, who is one of nine children. My sister-in-law has asked me for a copy of one of our wedding pictures, which is the last time all of them were together. Since the wedding, one of my husband’s sibs has died and another is serving a long stretch in prison.

The problem is, she wants to digitally remove me from the picture! I don’t want to give my sister-in-law a copy knowing I’ll be edited out. It’s hurtful, and after all these years it makes me feel like she hasn’t fully accepted me as part of the family. Am I overreacting? — BLOCKED OUT IN TEXAS

DEAR BLOCKED OUT: Your sister-in-law wasn’t very diplomatic, but what she is trying to memorialize is the last time her biological family was intact. The situation is poignant, really. My advice is not to take this personally. Give her the picture before any hard feelings “develop.”

Oh, Abby.  Groaaaaan for the pun.  And “oy” for this sister.  Her request is a bit odd–but you know what else is going to be a bit odd?  This scanned, doctored, printed family photo on her wall, with a big blurry hole in the middle where the bride’s been airbrushed out.  I mean, in a wedding picture, it’s unlikely the bride is off to the side or in the back, right?  So really, this is going to be the sister’s issue to explain, time and time again, when people wonder what happened to her picture.  If anything, erasing the LW is only going to draw more attention to her absence.  And the beauty of digitization is that her doing this has absolutely no effect on the LW’s copy of the picture (it’s not like she wants to take a pair of scissors to it).  So, why not?  Whatever, sister.

Save your battles about in-law respect and inclusion for actual events, not for the display of pictures taken months or years ago.

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2 responses to “Picture this:

  1. HA! This is kind of hilarious. At best, these women can take solace in the fact that, even if they’re not in the pictures, anyone who notices them will probably say, “That’s lovely–when was it taken?” And the answer will have to be “At Joe and Jane’s wedding.” You can’t pretend your entire family got together and put on tuxes just to take a few family photos…

  2. Teehee! Great point!

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