Q: I will be getting married in a few weeks and my fiancé and I have scheduled pictures to be taken with the wedding party directly after the ceremony. My future sister-in-law has stated that she wants her 6 month old son to be included in the pictures with the wedding party, and even threatened not to attend if we don’t comply. My fiancé’s brother found out, and now he wants his son (an unruly toddler, known for his tantrums) to be in the pictures as well. My fiancé thinks I’m overreacting for not wanting the kids in the pictures. Am I wrong for being upset?
A: Weddings are stressful enough, and small children often get impatient, creating a potentially upsetting scene for such an important day. While children who are part of the wedding party should be included in the wedding photos, you are not obligated to include additional children. On the other hand, if the photos go smoothly, and you want to add a few more pictures to the family portfolio, that is also your call. There is nothing wrong with adding on a few more if you so choose, but only after the wedding photos have all been taken, and time allows.
Concerning your future sister and brother-in-law, this is a conversation that should take place between your fiancé and his siblings, and will serve as your first official married lesson in learning to set boundaries. I would suggest he call his brother and sister directly (or go for a face to face visit) and politely explain there will be plenty of time to have pictures taken with the children at the ceremony, but the wedding photos will be for those in the wedding party only. Let them know kindly but firmly, “We will have a limited time frame to take photos after the ceremony, and unfortunately have not planned for extra shots with the kids. Of course, you are welcome to take some photos at the reception.”
It is best to smooth things over before the wedding day, when excitement will be high and tempers short. If your future sister-in-law threatens not to come to the wedding over this incident, weigh your decision carefully. It’s not a great way to start out the relationship– for either one of you.
Since this issue may run deeper than feeling left out of a photo, it could also be a signal for you to be more intentional about growing your relationship with your sister-in-law. Try involving her more with the wedding plans and asking her advice and help with wedding festivities. It’s a good opportunity to diffuse a potentially damaging situation.