Someone sent me a link to an advice article by writer Emily Yoffee aka Dear Prudence, an advice columnist in Slate. My friend told me the advice in the article rankled her and she couldn’t quite put her finger on why.
In the piece, a man writes in and says that his bride is upset because his family wants to take photos of him, his parents and siblings, iat the wedding, but excluding the bride. They don’t often all get together and this is a rare chance to get a nice photo of the groom’s family, he says.
The bride feels slighted; she feels it is the day she joins the family and is hurt that she’s not included. Her fiancee has no idea what to do. Should he agree to her wishes on principle even though he disagrees with her, he asks?
Prudence says the bride wants to be the “Where’s Waldo” of the wedding album. The groom should stand his ground. There is nothing wrong with the groom’s family “piggy-backing” on the wedding photos.
Since I also was rankled (what a word, huh?) I thought I’d take a minute to analyze why. In fact, let me count the ways I think Dear Prudence is wrong.
1. The wedding is indeed the bride’s day and if she wants to be Waldo, well, let’s hope she does it graciously. Still, it is the one day in the life of a woman where she feels, looks, and is treated like royalty. No matter how much the world changes, for many woman, their wedding day is the most special day of their life.
2. The family is being rude. Even though in many weddings families take individual photos, the bride wants to be part of the family. Perhaps this family doesn’t fully accept her? Perhaps the bride senses this?
She will be daughter-in-law and sister-in-law to them. Will the couple’s children, the parents’ grandchildren, not be considered family enough for a family photo?
I know I call my mother in law “mom”. And I mean it and I know she feels the same way. (And by the way, I would personally not have been bothered by the photo request if I were the bride, but everyone’s different.)
3. If the parents are arranging and paying for the photographer, which the groom’s family sometimes do in traditional weddings, they could discreetly arrange to meet after the wedding, when the bride and groom have gone off, and have their photo taken. Even better, if the bride is hurt–just do it on another day.
4. In Genesis it says Therefore a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they will be one flesh. This doesn’t mean that the groom should dis his parents. It isn’t disrespectful to one’s parents to put your bride first on your wedding day. You are forging a new family. Each can still honor their family of origin, but in order for the relationship to thrive, the marriage itself must be viewed as the most important relationship in each spouse’s life.
Sometimes, a spouse is more loyal to his or her family of origin, even if the family undermines the marriage. I’ve seen it happen, it’s not so unusual.
5. Finally, we don’t know all the particulars. Suppose the groom’s family live on five different continents and really do never get together. Suppose the bride is a control freak. But from the way the question was phrased, I’d say not. If you love her, guy, and she’s usually a reasonable, kind person who loves you too, tell your family to take their photo another day. Put your bride first.
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Last reviewed: 28 Oct 2013