I’m devastated that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was allowed to pass me by and I wish I had been more insistent. I also realize that this was more my daughter’s day than mine so maybe I should just suck it up.
How can I move past this? — Mother of the Bride
I think you need to re-frame how you’re looking at this missed opportunity. First of all, the opportunity to see your daughter get married was the main event and you didn’t miss that. I understand that weddings can be highly-emotionally charged affairs and that, as a mother-of-the-bride – especially one footing most of the wedding bill, it’s a time of many mixed feelings. You’re proud, you’re happy, you’re nervous and excited. You’re probably feeling pretty nostalgic, too, remembering your daughter as a little girl and wondering how the time went by so quickly. It can be challenging to process all of these emotions and tempting to channel them into something more manageable and less confusing, like anger or feeling “devastated,” as you say you are. But for your own emotional well-being and for the sake of your relationship with your daughter, you can’t stay stuck on this one emotion. Let yourself feel the range of emotions the whole occasion of your daughter’s getting married inspires, even if it’s uncomfortable or sad.
I also urge you not to point fingers at one specific person for the missed photo opportunity. I can understand why the photographer is an easy target – he should have had a list of people to be included in formal pictures and he dropped the ball. But it’s not as if he was the only person in attendance with a camera. We all carry cameras on us these days. That you don’t have a single photo of yourself in your dress is… well, it’s your fault. It would have been super easy to ask any other wedding guest – including your husband – to snap a picture of you. It would have taken seconds to grab your daughter, hand your phone to someone, and ask him or her to take a photo. You say you’re devastated that “this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was allowed to pass [you] by and [you] wish [you] had been more insistent,” which suggests that you do realize that YOU had some power in this situation that you didn’t use. The answer wasn’t to be more insistent, though – it was to take some photos yourself. And, again, the true “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity was to see your daughter get married and you didn’t miss that. If you really think the bigger opportunity here was the missed photo opp, your priorities are skewed. Photo opps can be missed, pictures can be lost or destroyed or not turn out well – but the memory of watching your daughter marry is something you can keep forever.
Finally, if having photos of you in your dress and you with your daughter in her wedding gown is so important to you, and if not having these photos is tearing you up like you say it is, why not stage a make-up photo day? You can explain to your daughter how disappointed you are that you didn’t get photos together at her wedding and you’d love if you could both put your dresses back on and get some photos together. You could make this a fun event – do it at a park on a gorgeous day, or invite your daughter and son-in-law to your home for celebratory brunch where you can chat about favorite moments from the wedding and guests you were happy to see. The point here is to remember what really matters here – your daughter got married, you were lucky enough to be a part of it, and now you have a new family member (whom you hopefully like and enjoy). The other stuff is just your mind’s way of processing big emotions that are pretty natural to feel following such an important life event. It’s unfortunate formal photos weren’t taken of you, but that doesn’t warrant the kind of devastation you’re describing, and I hope you’ll take my advice and not let yourself get stuck on that particular response. It’s not the picture of a supportive mother who’s happy for her daughter. (And if there’s a reason you aren’t happy for your daughter, understand that the tears you say you can’t stop crying might not actually be about the pictures.)
I find it incredibly selfish for her to make it my Dan and his brother’s job to upkeep this land, these animals, and this house that are well past anything she needs or can maintain. She and I aren’t each other’s biggest fans, so I don’t usually care to go with Dan. Also, I can’t get him to do any “chores” around our home, ever!
Is it unreasonable for him to leave most weekends, only bringing his daughter, while leaving me at home alone with my four kids, never doing chores at home but doing them for his mom? I feel like he needs to stop enabling his mother and that she needs to sell this huge house she cannot keep up with, sell the animals she hoards, and let her grown sons make their own families their priority? — A Full House
It’s not her job to make Dan prioritize his family though. He’s choosing to abandon you and your shared home together every weekend on his own accord, for two years now. I suspect he probably likes having an excuse to leave and that it’s easier for him to disappear every weekend than to do the work of breaking up with you, moving out, and disrupting whatever image of a family and home you’ve created together. As we say a lot on Dear Wendy, you don’t have a mother-in-law problem, you have a partner problem. If it weren’t his mother’s home and animals, it would be something else. Dan is avoiding you. And you’re enabling him. It’s time to have a serious talk with him about your future together, where he sees this relationship going, and whether or not you’re on the same page (I don’t think you are). If he’s not willing to actually spend time fostering a life and future together, you need to move on already. The bonus to doing so will be avoiding all those animals Dan is going to have to deal with when his mom passes away some day…
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
Moe September 9, 2019, 8:59 am
There is a good chance that there ARE pictures of you and your daughter. Many people take lots of their own photos at a wedding. Maybe you could put it out there on social media: “I had such fun at my daughter’s wedding! Does anyone have any photos of me with my daughter so I can remember this great day?”
MaterialsGirl September 9, 2019, 9:18 am
LW1: it’s also possible your daughter didn’t get all the photos she wanted either. After all, the photographer was an hour late. Talk about stressful! The photos should be back to your daughter within 6 to 8 weeks. At that point, she’ll know if this hour (and missing of some of the formal photos) is a big deal. The photographer and crew could have taken more ‘in the moment’ shots rather than the traditional all-lined-up ones. I would advise to take a step back, recognize that these are your feelings.. and wait to see how how the collected photos turn out. She may not be happy with the quality either, and that’s a good time to offer a make-up session for a few shots.
anonymousse September 9, 2019, 9:37 am
LW1: I agree she should have been more proactive and had some photos taken herself, but I think it is a pretty big miss to leave family/parent pictures out. She asked many times. She paid for the majority of the wedding. Ask your daughter for a make up park visit, but I have a feeling there’s a bigger story here.
LW2: I think he is avoiding you and choosing to be away. Go to the farm this weekend. Take the kids with you. Is the place sanitary? Is his mother okay? Does she see a grief therapist? Does she need a medical check up?
You do need to have a conversation about the state of your relationship, and what the long term plan is for the farm and his mother. I do think he’s checked out of your relationship if this has been going on for so long with no end in sight. Who pays the rent or mortgage?
Monkeys Mommy September 10, 2019, 10:38 pm
Agree, I am sensing a justno mom here… Perhaps there is a reason she wasn’t eager to get those photos…
Skyblossom September 9, 2019, 9:38 am
Dan is choosing to go over and do chores every weekend and he is choosing to do no chores at home. That’s what works for Dan. Dan is getting something out of going to his mom’s every weekend.
It’s especially telling that he only takes his own daughter along but never any of your kids. That’s a strong line to create in your family. You are definitely two separate families on the weekend.
Have you tried telling Dan that the current situation isn’t working for you? Have you told him how serious this is? If not I would try talking to him.
LisforLeslie September 9, 2019, 10:07 am
LW#1 This happened at my sister’s wedding, the photographer was not given a list of family photos so there are some snapshots taken on the fly but very few formally organized photos.
I like Wendy’s idea of a re-shoot – but you could also just schedule time to have new family portraits with your new son-in-law and have some with just you and your daughter.
LW#2 – The problem is your husband and his inability to put his foot down with his mom. Have a frank discussion. If his mom is unable to take care of her responsibilities, he and his siblings will need to have a frank talk about what they can and can’t do and the impact on their own lives. When she was in the early stages of grief, I can understand them not wanting to be harsh. But now she’s becoming dependent on their help and they’re enabling this behavior
Bittergaymark September 9, 2019, 10:20 am
LW — I actually think the photographer is the “easy” target as — really! — they are the “right” target. This is a huge, huge fuck up on their part. HUGE! And there is truly NO valid excuse for not getting photos of the bride with her parents. NONE. This isn’t some eight cousin writing in whining that she was somehow slighted. This in the Mother of the Bride! I think her blame is well placed!
That said, what’s done in done. I don’t know that I’d sob much
over this. But I would definitely not pay the full fee to the photographer. No way. No day.
LW2). You brought four kids into this marriage and that’s A LOT. How does everybody get along? I wonder… At any rate, the chore thing seems petty as your husband isn’t at a spa all weekend. Also you do have FOUR kids. Do they do any chores? Do you?
ele4phant September 9, 2019, 11:54 am
I’m with you.
If the photographer was late to the venue AND didn’t take some key shots (it’s not like the bride and her mother is a crazy request – even if you are more of a capture-the-event-as-is style photographer). If it were me, I for sure would be like “I’m not paying you in full – you made two pretty egregious mistakes.”
However, in reading this back, it was the mother that kept asking her *daughter* for these photos, and the daughter kept saying yeah we’ll get to it. And then either failing to tell the photographer to go do it, or explicitly telling them NOT to take those photos.
So, I wonder if there’s more going on here between the mother and her daughter, and whatever angst over that chilliness is expressing itself as angst over the photos.
GertietheDino September 9, 2019, 10:30 am
Are you sure he’s actually going to the farm? It almost sounds like he’s spending the time away with a mistress or somesuch.
Skyblossom September 9, 2019, 10:33 am
Would he take his daughter along to spend time with a mistress?
He’s probably at the farm taking care of the animals with his daughter. He may enjoy caring for the animals and find those chores a nice break from his regular routine.
It sounds like his mom can take care of the animals on her own unless the brother is doing the chores during the week. If mom only needs help on the weekend she can handle these animals on her own.
LisforLeslie September 9, 2019, 11:41 am
Depending on the set up – I doubt she actually can take care of the animals on her own. Little horses may not make as much poop as big horses but mucking out a barn is still not easy, managing 50lb pound bags of food, not easy.
If those horses are living in the house – that’s insane.
Mimi September 9, 2019, 10:42 am
LW1, my sense is that a big part of your hurt is that your daughter didn’t prioritize getting photos with you (and her father, I assume), even though she knew you wanted/expected them. I would be hurt (and a little ticked off) too. Not that paying for a wedding is a bludgeon to be used against your child, mind you. Daughter let you down, photographer let you down, and you let yourself down. You’re allowed to be hurt. You’re allowed to express your hurt to the people involved. Listen to what they have to say, take in the information, and then get up from your bed of tears and move on. If there is some way to reframe this as a comedy of errors where everyone was running around trying to find each other and the photographer at the same time, that would be a good way to go. Good luck!
Skyblossom September 9, 2019, 10:57 am
@Mother of the bride
You need to reframe this in your mind. You are disappointed but not devastated. You would be devastated if your daughter and her husband were killed in an accident after leaving the reception. Devastated is losing your home and/or family members in a hurricane/tornado/wildfire. Devastate means to destroy or ruin. Your experience wasn’t destroyed or ruined. You had a nice evening and your daughter was married.
Disappointment is when you feel let down. Feeling overlooked or skipped or mistreated. A missed photo is a disappointment, and I get it, it is disappointing.
Please frame this in your mind as a disappointment. That will begin to change how you see this. You aren’t devastated. That’s a big exaggeration.
Bittergaymark September 9, 2019, 11:20 am
Eh. Disappointed is far too weak of a word. For example: I am often disappointed by how often mayo STILL arrives with my BLT. Despite me always saying No Mayo at least twice when ordering.
So, yeah. I think the LW has every reason to have much stronger feelings here.
Skyblossom September 9, 2019, 1:07 pm
I don’t agree.
The Bahamas are devastation. People who have no shelter, no food, no clean water sitting on an island surrounded by decomposing bodies is devastation.
Lack of an important photo is a disappointment. In the grand scheme of things no one died, the wedding went off well, the couple are married and life is okay except minus an important photo.
Skyblossom September 9, 2019, 1:45 pm
The evening I turned 11 my hometown was blown away by a tornado. The tornado went right through the middle of town. It left some houses on each edge of town but the majority of the town was destroyed.
People were left finding places to stay. People were left to sift through rubble trying to find anything of value to save. People started over with nothing. No clothes, no home, no beds or dishes or towels or photos or wedding gifts. Nothing. That’s devastation and when you are in the middle of it you don’t have time to cry and cry. Having the time to cry and cry is a luxury that people who are devastated don’t have. People go into survival mode.
anonymousse September 9, 2019, 1:58 pm
You know, I don’t think it’s fair to constantly compare someone feelings to something worse and saying they are invalid. It’s her daughter’s wedding. It’s presumedly, normally a once in a lifetime event. Even if they do make up the photos, she will have this memory and feel the pain of being left out. Maybe it’s not the textbook definition of an actual natural disaster devastation, but you knew what she meant. It’s more than disappointment. She’s allowed to feel her feelings. I don’t understand why her words need to be dissected and defined for her.
Miss MJ September 9, 2019, 2:01 pm
How about “dismayed”? […”cause (someone) to feel consternation and distress…”]
The LW is *dismayed* that the photographer did not take formal pictures of her with her daughter at the wedding. Worse than disappointed, but not devastated, either.
Skyblossom September 9, 2019, 2:08 pm
Dismayed is good.
The words we use to describe something set the tone for how we feel about it. So if you jump to devastated you are going to make yourself feel worse than if you jump to disappointed or dismayed. Context does matter. When you exaggerate what happened you are going to feel worse about it. It isn’t good for the LW to say she is devastated.
Skyblossom September 9, 2019, 2:17 pm
None of that means that the bride and groom shouldn’t ask for a discount on their photos if there was supposed to be a picture of the bride and her mom. They should ask for a discount or for a second photo op. They should expect the photographer to make it up to them if he messed up. It doesn’t mean that they couldn’t leave a review online about his photography if he messed up, stating exactly what happened as a warning to other couples.
anonymousse September 9, 2019, 2:39 pm
She feels devastated right now. It’s fresh and new. I don’t understand why you can’t let her use her own words to describe her feelings. She never said that this is the word she’s chosen to forever define this event. I’m betting most mother’s would feel pretty devastated (however temporarily) to be left out of family/parents of the bride photos at a wedding.
Ele4phant September 9, 2019, 11:02 am
I personally would go back to the photographer and demand some sort of recompense here. I mean come on, getting photos of the couple with their parents is like, the bare minimum expectations of their job that day. If they were scrambling and late (which…an hour late to a job? WHAT?!?!), this should have been a top priority to get down.
ESPECIALLY if they were being reminded repeatedly. How on earth did they ultimately forget? I for sure would be demanding something of my photographer if there was this big a goof up – a discount, an hour of time for them to come out and take family photos, I dunno. Something.
Unless…they didn’t forget? I have no reason from this letter to think this aside from the fact I cannot believe they forget something so elemental. Is it possible the bride told them she didn’t want a picture with her mother and not to do them?
BJ Das September 9, 2019, 11:16 am
Are you certain that the photographer didn’t try to get your photo and your daughter didn’t put it off?
ele4phant September 9, 2019, 11:43 am
I feel like maybe that’s what’s going on? Photographer was like, okay, now it’s time for you and your parents, and for some reason the daughter kept saying no no no. And didn’t want them. LW is that it? Is there more to it than the photographer being just terrible (they were still an hour late which is SUPER unprofessional, so I could see it either way)?
That’s a different conversation to have with your daughter if she didn’t even WANT pictures with you.
LisforLeslie September 9, 2019, 11:42 am
Or the photographer has a “paparazzi” approach – as was the case with the photographer my sister hired. There was no pre-defined list against which to tick the boxes.
ele4phant September 9, 2019, 11:47 am
I mean, sure.
But if the MIL asks you repeatedly to do that, wouldn’t you say – oh no we’re doing this much more candid style so no prescheduled photos. Seems like they kept being like, oh yeah sure we’ll get to that.
Which would be a weird response, if they knew they weren’t ever going to take these kinds of photos.
Also – I feel like most of the time, even when you have a photographer that intends to just capture the event as is, they will accommodate a few requests for staged photos, particularly if someone important (Mother of the bride), asks for it multiple times.
csp September 9, 2019, 11:25 am
LW1 – I love Wendy’s Idea of re staging the pictures. One thing I will say is wait until the proofs come in. I had a friend who had a photographer that did “Photo journalistic” style photos meaning nothing was staged and everything was candid. There might be some sweet moments that you missed. I would wait until you see what they have and go from there. You might be surprised what comes back so don’t panic yet.
ele4phant September 9, 2019, 12:09 pm
So LW2 – Dan is making a choice about what to prioritize. So take your complaints to him.
That said, have you considered helping here? I know it’s not quite the same because your MIL seems to be able to live independently on this farm, albeit she needs help for it to be tenable. But, my MIL was increasingly struggling to live alone (like, at all), and that necessitated my husband go up to her house, two hours away, frequently to check in on her and just…do the basics.
I resented that every weekend he was taking off to care for his mother (and I was frustrated with her for demanding to live in her home despite the fact she obviously was not safe and able to live alone). He basically broke down from all the stress of just trying to keep his mother alive, and then light-bulb went off, oh, he has to do this. And he has no help.
She’s not my mother, but he is my partner, and my partner needs help. So I started helping.
Again, I realize it’s not quite the same because it sounds like your MIL can at least manage to keep herself alive at home, it’s all this extra farm stuff she’s refusing to let go.
But, I’d take with your partner about what how you feel, but also how he feels. He may resent this situation, but feel like he has no choice or else his mom and all these animals will suffer. He may wish too she would wind down the farm, but she refuses, so he feels like he’s in-between this terrible rock and hard place where he wants her to stop but he doesn’t want the animals or her to be in harms way. Then plus on top of that he has this seething partner.
Maybe he’d welcome you and all the kids coming up once in a while and pitching in? Maybe if you came up one weekend a month to help, he could feel okay taking a couple weekends off.
Point is, talk to him about how he feels about the whole situation. You may feel abandoned and put upon, but so may he.
anonymousse September 9, 2019, 12:26 pm
That’s a great point. Is there any chance you could hire out help? I mean, the hoarder house, and the literal zoo is quite another issue, but could you pay some one to come clean out the stalls and feed the animals? There’s are options but probably the first thing is to discuss with your bf, and then he needs to work this out with his siblings and mother.
ele4phant September 9, 2019, 12:58 pm
I can totally see how he resents what his mother is doing and wants her to stop, but ALSO morally feels if he doesn’t step in, it will fast turn into a bad situation for all the animals and his mother, and he can’t live with that. And then if his partner is giving him grief about something he feels forced into in the first place…that’s not good.
Talk to him about how he feels about it what he’s taking on, and maybe offer to help lift that burden off him, in some ways.
Maybe suck it up and go to the farm to help out once in awhile. Or research people that can be hired to help. Help him help her.
Skyblossom September 9, 2019, 2:27 pm
That is very plausible.
I do wonder who is caring for these animals during the week. If his mom is managing by herself during the week does she really need help on the weekend and if so how much. I could see him going over to throw hay down out of the top of the barn so that she could use it during the week but I doubt he could feed all of those horses on the weekend and have it last a week. The same for feed. Maybe he is going to town to get sacks of feed and hauling them into wherever she keeps them so that they are ready to go for the week. His mom must be watering the horses twice a day and feeding them at least once a day but probably twice a day. The same for the other animals. If she could do none of that someone would need to be there morning and evening to do the chores. Maybe the brother?
Taking care of the animals may be the thing that is keeping mom going. They need her. They depend on her. If she isn’t managing any of their care then that is a different situation.
ele4phant September 9, 2019, 2:50 pm
Yeah, she may be able to do some of the light day to day on her own but then need regular help, and some may be a perception thing on the husband. He may feel like he has to do it, and he has to be the one doing it, or these animals will become neglected.
I just think, given my own experiences, he may resent this but has become locked into this mentality that “This has to be taken care of. She refuses to be rationale and has all these animals she can’t take care of. No one else is stepping up to focus on this but me, so I guess it has to be me. I have to do it or it won’t get done and people/animals die.” He may lose the forest between the trees which is, maybe it doesn’t have to be all him. Maybe they can hire people. Maybe she (his partner) can help just a little to free him up.
But if she comes in guns blazing you’re picking your mom over me, she’s going to put him on the defensive. If she comes in and tries to understand how he feels about the situation, she might have the chance to help him think through the options and take stuff of his plate.
ron September 9, 2019, 7:17 pm
His brother may be able to do what absolutely must be done during the week.
Burb September 9, 2019, 12:40 pm
I got married recently and I remember the stress and chaos of the day – and my photographer arrived on time! It sucks the photographer came late, and I imagine the bride and groom were very stressed over the situation.
When I got married, I was too busy to coordinate anything on the day of. Every time someone asked me to arrange something, I directed them to a bridesmaid or groomsman because I did not have the time or mental space. LW’s daughter did not have the time to organize side time for family photos. LW or her daughter should have asked a bridesmaid to arrange some time, but too late now.
It’s fine for LW to feel disappointed, and it’s fine to be unhappy at the photographer. Please don’t blame the daughter, though. Weddings can be hard and stressful, and there’s so much pressure to please everyone and have everything go perfectly.
Either let it go or arrange a post-wedding photo shoot. This is not some passive aggressive gesture or slight. Accidents happen.
ele4phant September 9, 2019, 3:05 pm
I mean, all the more reason to be mad at the photographer. It may be stressful for the bride and groom for whom this is a once in a lifetime event that is super stressful. But if you are a wedding photographer, this is your normal workday. Your job should be to take the pictures, but also to stay on top of which pictures you agreed to take (and know which ones are usually expected). Right?
I mean, that they were an HOUR late, like, they’re better have been a good explanation for that. I get sometimes happens, but again, when you’re job is to capture the most important day of someone’s life, shouldn’t you automatically be building in time for unexpected circumstances to pop up?
Finally – I don’t mean to be dismissive, because I’ve gotten married too and yes it was very stressful…but, lots of people get married. Its an incredibly special thing, but it is like, the opposite of a unique thing.
Most people that get married manage to remember the major stuff, like getting a picture with their parents.
Ultimately, I blame the photographer for being unprofessional. But, if your mom asked you multiple times not to forget your picture taken together, I mean, come on man.
ele4phant September 9, 2019, 3:17 pm
I mean, at my wedding, and the wedding of everyone I know ever that hired a professional, it seemed like 75% of the photographer’s time was spent herding cats and directing everyone to do what they wanted when they wanted.
I knew, well in advance of my wedding day, what the schedule was going to be: we were going to be met at the hotel where I was getting ready with my mother and grandmother, than the photographer would meet my husband and his family as they arrived at the hotel, then first look photos, then some pictures just the two of us before the ceremony, then ceremony, then family photos, then candidates at the reception. That was all sketched out in advance, known to me. Then the day of, my photographer was totally in charge bossing us all around to make it happen, while also dealing with (sometimes accommodating, sometimes shutting down) random family members requests.
This photographer came with a whole crew, so presumably they were professionals. So why weren’t they acting like professionals, like people who do this everyday and know what they are doing?
They are either horrible at their job, and they should well, eat it somehow, or there was a miscommunication between the bride and her mother about what sorts of photos were to be taken that day. And honestly, if mom really wanted a mother-daughter photo, the photographer should’ve managed that and been like, okay, let’s take a break from this fly on the wall plan and I’ll just make mom happy real fast, then get back to scheduled programming.
This was their JOB.
ele4phant September 9, 2019, 3:24 pm
If you pay someone thousands of dollars, THEY should be the one managing which photos get taken. Not the bride, not the mother-of-the-bride, not a bridesmaid.
The professional photographer that’s being paid to capture the wedding should MANAGING AND MAKING SURE THEY ACTUALLY DO THE JOB THEY WERE HIRED TO DO.
Sorry about that. And to be clear, that ranting is directed at the photographer, not you Burb. Incompetence is just like, my biggest pet peeve.
PPK September 9, 2019, 2:23 pm
LW1 — It sounds like you didn’t have formal photo time (most weddings I’ve been at have a time when the photographer churns through a variety of formal photo groupings)? Was a formal photo time planned? Or did it get bumped due to the late photographer arrival?
The wedding photographers that I know usually have a list of what photos the couple wants so they can get through them all without taking forever (AKA: “I need the wedding party now, bride’s side is on deck, someone call in the ushers for after that”).
If photography wasn’t that formal, then I’m sorry this wasn’t conveyed to you since you wanted one.
I like Wendy’s idea, but I also agree with others to wait and see what the “finished” photos look like. You’ll also have some time to cool off about it.
I have a cousin who thought she didn’t want formal photos at her wedding, but later regretted not having them (or did for awhile, not sure if she cares now). But honestly, a couple of the candid shots people captured seem to represent them best (in a good way — they were smiling and looking happy and relaxed).
SpaceySteph September 9, 2019, 3:12 pm
I regret not doing the formal table photos because there are some people who came to our wedding who aren’t in many pics. I also am glad we did the posed family photos because when my grandparents pass away, I’ll be glad to have photos of them from happier, healthier times.
I do regret doing so many posed photos of my husband and myself alone, not because they are bad but in retrospect it was just time spent that could have been spent with our guests and we’ve printed out what, two of those?
ele4phant September 9, 2019, 3:34 pm
I didn’t think I wanted formal photos, but my photographer (rightly) was like, eh, you’re going to want some. Let’s just do a couple of big ones – the couple and the parents, your side, his side, everyone all together.
And she was right. They made THE BEST gifts. We coasted off those, for like a year. Also, family for sure would’ve asked for them. People did come up with random requests. And her photographer, because she was an actual functional professional who had done this before and knew how to manage things, was an ace at dealing with them. Some she accommodated, some she diplomatically brushed off.
The photographer should’ve used their experience to guide their client to the best possible result (I know you think formal pics are cheesy and suck up time but trust me grandma will want them lets build in time for a few to head all that off), and b), should’ve been in charge of managing all the requests, and not left it up to the bride to manage or her mom to push the request.
Like – was this their first wedding ever?
And on top of that AN HOUR late?!?! I still can’t get over that. JFC.
SpaceySteph September 9, 2019, 3:09 pm
Add me to the list of folks who think something else is going on here with LW1 and daughter. Maybe daughter didn’t want photos with her mom.
Also LW doesn’t really KNOW that there are NO photos of her in the dress or with the daughter. If it was a more candid/documentary style photographer then there may actually be a lot of photos of mom interacting with daughter and generally at the wedding that she doesn’t even know were taken.
Hazel September 9, 2019, 3:54 pm
Well, you know, we all make choices. She chose to rescue/keep animals, you chose to have all those kids. Is there a way you could combine all this burstling bounty of life- wouldn’t your kids enjoy being with those animals- can’t you try to blend this a bit more? Is he resistant to you and ALL your many kids going there at weekends and having fun/learning things?
Another Jen September 9, 2019, 5:29 pm
As the daughter of a mother who never fails to make everything entirely about herself, I’m wondering if there’s more to the story. Everyone is saying the mom should demand a discount etc., but perhaps the photos are exactly what the bride and groom wanted.
Maybe they didn’t want an hour’s worth of pics of mom zipping up bride’s dress and mom couldn’t deal with hearing that they the photographer to show up in time for the ceremony. Maybe they didn’t want posed, formal photos and mom wouldn’t take, “we’ll get around to it later” a dozen times for “I don’t want my goddamned wedding put on hold for a family family photo shoot.”
Some couples want family photos and want to spend half their wedding posing with every combination of family and wedding party known to man. Others would rather have a good time the day of and skip the formal pics altogether.
If the bride and groom are happy with the photos, mom should suck it up and let it go. The very fact that she mentioned that she footed most of the bill tells me she’s as pissed she didn’t her way as she is “devastated” she didn’t get the formal pic she was NAGGING about throughout the wedding.
ele4phant September 9, 2019, 5:44 pm
I mean, I see it both ways. I definitely find it hard to believe that a professional wedding photographer would “forget” to take pictures with the family, and I can see how perhaps this was the passive-aggressive way the daughter was like “Not pushing me around today Ma!”
That said, I ALSO find it hard to believe the photographers would be an hour late to their freaking job, so on that alone I side-eye their professionalism and think the paying party would be justified in asking for…something. Unless there was some truly extraordinary circumstances – I just don’t see how they can justifiably not excuse being AN HOUR late to the venue.
It might be a little bit of both – the photographers are a hot mess AND the relationship between bride and her mother is strained and daughter didn’t really want said pic in the first place.
Bittergaymark September 9, 2019, 7:26 pm
Please. Only a completely deranged bitch would refuse to pose with her mother for a god damn photograph when said mother paid for the fucking wedding. Only a deranged bitch… or a “woke” millennial.
Another Jen September 9, 2019, 8:35 pm
I agree…it’s cold not to pose for one stupid pic to make your mom happy. I’m just saying if mom reminded her daughter over and over again about the pic and it didn’t happen, there may be more to it than the photographer blowing if off.
If the bride and groom aren’t devastated with the pics, one of the few things they actually paid for, mom should be careful of making too many waves. If you start demanding discounts etc, the photographer could easily “lose” the pictures. I mean…what do they care? They were already late to a one-time gig…it’s not like they’d be worried about losing more business.
Ange September 10, 2019, 12:37 am
Yeah who knows? My friend at her wedding spent 80% of it posing with various iterations of family, she barely got to enjoy the event. At ours we did a couple of quick shots and that was it because I hate formal photos and I didn’t want to waste time on them. The only person who truly knows whether the photographer stuffed up or not is the daughter and if she’s not demanding discounts well….
dinoceros September 9, 2019, 7:30 pm
LW1: I think that you’re sort of buying into the whole “weddings are a way to gauge how much people love me” that typically makes weddings a lose-lose for the couple getting married because they are always going to piss someone off, since most couples are not professionals at putting on large events. I think that you’re also projecting way too much meaning on these photos. I’m not sure what your wedding was like, but most couples I know now barely remember their wedding day. I also hardly ever see wedding photos that aren’t just the couple or the bridal party. Try to keep in mind that a piece of paper (or I guess now, a computer file) is not how to determine if your daughter loves you. Most parents who DO get pics with their kid on their wedding day probably see the photo once every five years. It does not impact their day-to-day life. Make other memories and take photos together. A wedding is literally just a big, expensive party.
sarolabelle September 9, 2019, 7:40 pm
My mom missed me cutting the cake and the toast…because she decided to go to the bathroom and very sitcom like, when she went to exit the bathroom the doorknob fell off in her hand.
Another Jen September 9, 2019, 8:38 pm
That’s an amazing story! Almost worth missing the cake cutting to have such a great story to tell.
Ruby Tuesday September 9, 2019, 9:34 pm
I scrolled through the comments without reading, so keep that in mind. I just got married and when I got my photos, I realized I didn’t get any photos of my immediate family together. There’s literally nothing I can do about that and I assume my parents don’t care because they complain about everything. It’s just one day in my lifetime. Move on.
brise September 10, 2019, 8:00 am
LW1: totally unprofessional for the photographer NOT to organise a formal serial of pictures with family at a wedding. This is a crucial part of their duty. Who the hell did they hire?
I hope you are not paying for that. But as you didn’t hire him, I suppose you don’t pay him either : if you do, argue with him and deduct a significant part, especially as he was late (what!!). And please let him know that something important was missing in his photos.
Anyway, I don’t think you have to take any blame: it wasn’t your fault. You tried, it didn’t happen, perhaps also because your daughter wasn’t so concerned about family pictures, and this is a shame as you were paying for a big part of the wedding. I would let her know that you are disappointed – without crying about it, that is really an overreaction.
At the end of the day, this was her wedding, her day, the way she wanted it to happen: perhaps she is not a formal person and didn’t attach importance to classic family pictures. There is nothing you can do about that, but accept and move on.
I think you should ask other family members wether they have pictures of you during the wedding. They probably have. Then, if you take it with some humour, you can photoshop yourself and your husband with your daughter and her husband in their wedding dress. I hope you will get one picture of them at least!
brise September 10, 2019, 8:03 am
LW2: the solution seems simple. Ask him to leave your house with his daughter and to stay at this farm with their zoo.
I find it very petty that he goes there only with his daughter and not your children.
It says a lot. He is not invested in you, in your family, in your house.
Kick him to the curb! The good thing is: you are not married.
Liz September 10, 2019, 1:43 pm
Photo… go on a cruise with your nice dress and have pics of you & husband having a wonderful time.
Liz September 10, 2019, 1:45 pm
MIL chores… She could go with him and her four kids every weekend and see if he still wants to do chores after a month or two.
Emily September 11, 2019, 12:22 pm
I was in this wedding situation except I was the bride. We did not have an “official” photographer but we did have a variety of friends and family taking photos. There is a group photo of me with my parents (who are divorced) and my husband. My mother still (four years later) talks about how there is not a picture of her and I at the wedding. Last Christmas she brought it up to one of my friends who took some photos. “I’m so sad we didn’t get a picture!” etc. This makes me feel crappy AND makes me mad. If she was so invested in a picture she should have COME AND STOOD NEXT TO ME to get a photo.
All of this to say , if you were so desperate for a photo that is on you – it is not the photographers fault and definitely not your daughters. Weddings are so stressful and there is a lot to remember AND the time flies by. There is no capacity for the bride or groom to keep track of who that got photos with.
I second Wendy’s advice for a do-over although I don’t really get why ONE PHOTO is worth this much drama. You can take plenty of photos with your daughter AT ANY TIME. One day is one day and it shouldn’t make or break your relationships or emotional health.
anonymousse September 11, 2019, 12:35 pm
But you didn’t hire a photographer. The photographers typically do keep track of who is in the photos because that’s literally their job, and the parents of the bride/groom is like, one of the definite main photos. Before the wedding they discuss what photos you want, and who needs to be in them.
She asked many times throughout the wedding to make time for the photo. I’m not sure what else she could have done beyond grabbing the photographer and forcing it.
Bittergaymark September 11, 2019, 3:44 pm
Exactly. The number of people here blaming the LW or baselessly deciding she most be a monster of a mother confuses me…
ele4phant September 11, 2019, 5:36 pm
In your situation this makes sense. Weddings are hectic. There are SO many demands on brides and grooms. For most couples, this is a one time thing, you are a 100% amauter and not equopped at all to field a bunch of requests day-of, and it’s totally unreasonable to expect them to manage somethign so massive themselves.
Buuuutttttt…if you give someone a few thousand dollars to do exactly that…take professional photos that comprehensively capture the event, and they do this all the time as a living, they had better dang get all the right shots and manage all the requests and make sure nothing major gets forgotten. That is literally their job and what you pay them so much to do.
Is there more going on between the LW and her daughter and this “forgetting” to take the photos was kind of sort of on purpose? Sure, maybe. Maybe the daughter told the photographers she didn’t want the mom-daughter shot and not to go do it.
But, if that’s not the case, if it just got forgotten because things were ill-managed, that is 100% the fault of photographer for letting it slip through the cracks.
Emma September 11, 2019, 2:22 pm
Ok, now I’m only 11 so you problably don’t care about my input, but I say that your daughter was being a jerk by doing that. Poor you! I agree with Wendy’s advice also.
anordinary September 13, 2019, 10:18 pm
LW2: Please do some reading on how hoarding affects family dynamics. I have found the Children of Hoarders website and facebook group very helpful. I loved my hoarding mom very much but if she were still alive I am not sure if I would be married right now. She didn’t hoard animals, just stuff, but she had endless DIY renovation projects, and in my twenties I spent every other weekend driving several hours back home to “help” her. There was always an endless list of stuff she needed my help with, and I felt such a sense of guilt if I didn’t go. I kept thinking that I was an awful person to leave my widowed mom in such a dilapidated situation, and that if I could only help organize things enough, then maybe we could call the plumber and fix her broken water pipes, or move enough stuff so that the HVAC company could come fix the broken furnace. But even if I had won the lottery and bought her a new house, she would have just hoarded it up to live in squalor again. Just like being the child of an addict, it can take adult children of hoarders a really long time to figure out how to set boundaries or have normal priorities or responses to their parents’ unreasonable demands. I am not saying all this to excuse what your husband is doing by neglecting your family, but before you make a final decision about how to handle this, it will help you to know more about the dynamics here.
Graceful November 11, 2019, 6:52 pm
I totally understand where your coming from. My daughter got married two weeks ago. I was involved from the beginning. Dress shopping, veil, venue, flowers, bridal shower, bachlorette party, rehearsal dinner. I was responsible for the rehearsal dinner and centerpieces, the wedding arch, and the walk way welcoming guest. The wedding planner/friend of the grooms mom got in my head. They come from money and we do not. My husband did pay for half of the wedding but on a tighter budget. I worked so hard at everything i did for this wedding to try and compensate. The wedding planner all of a sudden had an issue with the flowers for the round wedding arch that I was doing. Still not sure why. The atmosphere changed, became thick. So very hard to explain. I was so emotionally upset, but I kept all in. The only thing I had to give was my time and effort. I continued forward and with my daughters help, the flowers were stunning. I also was in charge of the flowers arrangements for the rehearsal dinner. I worked day and night staying up to all hours of the night to make these perfect. Once the rehearsal dinner was over, these flowers were thrown into boxes and hidden behind the stair case, but unaware of this yet.
The day of the wedding we went to get our hair and makeup done. Had a blast being with my girls. I was to go and set up the walk way welcoming guest. I had 6 large engagement photos with chains to hang them on shepherd hooks. A 24 x 36 welcome poster on and easel of my daughter and her fiance. I made swags with flowers to trim it with. Had lanterns galore with fairy lights. When I got back to the venue the flowers were missing. My box of decorations was not there. I looked for them for at least 30 to 45 minutes, only to have been told they were found in the mother in laws house in her closet. Why??? I don’t think she would have done this, but still not sure why they would have been put away. Can’t help but think of the wedding planner/friend. My centerpieces that had been put behind the stairs would have worked but didn’t know where they were either. Then problems with the shepherd hooks staying together. I was sweating so bad on my knees trying to make all of this perfect. My oldest daughter poked her head out and I said to her has she put on her dress yet? She said not yet, well please call me when she does. A few minutes later went in to find that not only had she put on her dress, but they had already taken pictures. I was never told to come in to take pictures. I was so emotionally upset. How could I be so close to my daughter, but yet get forgotten about? How could they NOT think of me? Hey where is mom? Someone go get mom. Nothing. I missed one of the most precious moments between a mother and a daughter. A still shot of the love that we have always shared. I feel it would be different if I was off goofing off, but I was trying to make it perfect. Now since then I have owned up to a few things. Again the wedding planner/friend got in my head. I worked so hard at trying to make all of this perfect, that i missed the bigger picture (literally). We did get a few family pictures after the ceremony. My husband her her did have pictures together as well as the father daughter dance.
The wedding continued on and I did not say anything that night. I was not going to be the one to ruin my daughters wedding day. We had a blast, all of us. Dancing, singing, socializing. I myself took so many pictures. It was with out a doubt the most beautiful wedding I have ever been to. I know this day was my daughters and her fiance’s. Not about me. Seeing the smile on her face was amazing. But at the end of it all I felt so insignificant, like I didn’t matter. That no one took the time to see where mom is and make sure she was included in this moment. I worked so hard to prove that I was worthy, that I was better than what the other people thought of me. I have cried and cried about this. I will never get this moment back. I don’t know how to get past this. Little girls grow up dreaming about there wedding day. Mothers dream of there little girls wedding day. Doing a mother daughter photo shoot will not change the way this makes my heart feel. I want to matter to my kids. They are great kids. Yes the wedding photographer should have even said where is mom? But at the end of the day is it really her fault or my foolish pride. I should have stopped what I was doing and went to be with my daughter and that probably hurts more than anything.
I had never told my daughter this but at her high school graduation they do a slide show of all of the important things in their life. I was not in the slide show. I didn’t think much of it then, but now I look back and it just absolutely hurts my heart. I know my daughter loves me, no doubt at all.
I spoke with my daughter about all of this for the first time. I could only express how it made me feel. Of course we both cried but nothing changed. I don’t think she really understood it. I hope that she never knows how it felt. I still missed one of mos the precious moments with my baby girl.
LIane June 7, 2021, 12:46 pm
This is all to familiar and the same happened to me about 3 weeks ago. Although this was her 2nd wedding and she did all of the planning, I still offered my assistance and let her know I would like to be involved. Never did I think I would not be included in the wedding picture, like in her 1st weeding where the grooms parents did everything. Even when I asked about taking pictures, she said they would not be before, but after, as she did not want the future husband to see her and the wedding planner has all the instructions and will direct accordingly. None were taken, heart broken and now the opportunity is gone. I wonder how she will feel when her daughter does not include her in her wedding photos and not tell her. Communication is essential in all situations.
Donna October 19, 2021, 3:34 pm
The same thing just happened to me and I can relate to feeling devastated. Photos were taken with the groom’s family and with friends but not with us. Not sure I will ever get over this heartbreaking experience. It’s not the photo but what the photo represents.