in , ,

Bride Sparks Drama By Celebrating Her First Anniversary After A Child Drowned At Her Wedding

Image Source/GettyImages

Redditor [deleted] is a woman who recently had her one-year wedding anniversary and wanted to publicly acknowledge her special milestone on Facebook.

But her anniversary post wound up being a controversial one because her wedding day was also marred by tragedy.

She visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for celebrating my anniversary despite what happened at my wedding?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My husband and I had our wedding last year. The venue was beautiful and bordered a lake.”

“Unfortunately, during the reception, one of the young children snuck away from their parents and decided to…go for a swim, despite not being able to.”

“This was tragic and devasting, and obviously cut the day short.”

“We haven’t really spoken to the parents since then, as we weren’t close to them aside from seeing them on holidays, which haven’t happened this year. We are still Facebook friends though.”

“When our first anniversary came, I made a post celebrating our anniversary with a few wedding photos. I didn’t think anything of it, until the comments came flooding in.”

“I woke up to 30 comments and 15 missed calls. The top comment was from the mother of the child, who was outraged about it.”

“She wrote a very long comment about how my post was disrespectful of the tragedy that had happened that day and how dare I post that and not mention her child (and of course talking to her first).”

“30 comments later, and it was clear that the entire family had clearly started to take sides in a battle I didn’t realize I created. As of today, we’re at 150 comments. My friends and my parents are involved too.”

“Half of his family is screaming for me to take it down, apologize to the parents, and show more respect, possibly by even celebrating our anniversary on a different day.”

“Some of the family think that we should still be able to celebrate our anniversary on the actual day, but just keep it offline to ‘keep peace’.”

“I don’t think I did anything wrong with my post, and I feel like we should be allowed to celebrate our anniversary just like anyone else.”

“I’m not celebrating the tragedy, I’m celebrating my wedding. AITA?”

The OP provided the following updates as more drama unfolded.

“I have changed the post to only be visible to me and deleted all comments to try to stop the arguing, but from the email we just received, those comments were just a symptom of a larger problem.”

“My mother-in-law sent us an email with, from what I can tell, roughly 3/4 of my husband’s family cc’d on it. His parents, grandparents, and the parents of the child are not only in the ‘different day’ camp, but they are also demanding a second wedding.”

“According to them, they’ve ‘kept their silence’ for so long due to shock and being distracted by everything else going on this year, but they feel that ‘because of what happened’ we aren’t ‘really married’ yet in the family.”

“They ‘understand that weddings are expensive’ so they [husband’s parents] offered to completely pay for this second wedding that will be the ‘real’ wedding in his family’s eyes, and because it may be a year or two before this can be done safely, they will ‘tolerate’ us ‘living in sin’ indefinitely due to ‘the circumstances’.”

“My husband hates arguing with his family, and I’m not sure how I would even approach this with my family without being laughed out of the room, so now we need to talk about what to do with this.”

The OP continued with another update.

“I’ve never had this many calls in my life. My husband and I have tried to read through this and have gotten a chance to actually talk this out.”

“We have avoided the subject for a long time because it is not an easy thing to think about and it is not like this year hasn’t had stresses of its own.”

“He agrees that while something does need to happen, it is a priority that they start and continue to acknowledge that we are in fact married.”

“I have had a conversation with my parents at least, who were exactly as they always were, but they are now aware of the full situation, and while they still would not support a full second wedding, they understand that I have an exceptional situation and so something exceptional needs to happen.”

“I replied to my MIL ONLY to a group zoom call with us, my parents, my husband’s sister-in-law to set up that sets up all of their technology things, which will happen later in the day.”

“I feel like I should address some things:”

“I did send condolences and attended the funeral. By not speaking, I meant since the funeral. I mistakenly thought that would be implied.”

“I am not heartless. I was trying to avoid the rules with the euphemism, and it is not an easy day or thing to talk about.”

“I was trying to keep things to just what happened, which I can see coming across very strange over text. I am also aware that I write very formally but that’s not something I can change.”

“The pictures and caption didn’t reference the wedding itself, and there is no lake visible in the pictures. I only used ones that had just my husband and I in them, and I have sent pictures of just the bridal party before. I never have or will post pictures of the reception.”

“My husband and I are looking at ideas of how to fix this.”

Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Redditors weighed in with their thoughts on the OP’s situation.

“This post is entirely above Reddit’s pay grade, honestly. Moments like this where life milestones are combined inadvertently with tragedy, are impossible to traverse without stepping on someone’s toes.”

“You could have talked to the parent of this child in advance and even mentioned the child in your post and they’d be angry you asked.”

“If you had posted as-is but limited the audience to only your family/friends it might have deeply upset people even more.”

“You could have not posted anything at all, and still been yelled at for not publicly acknowledging the 1yr anniversary of this poor kid’s passing. Similarly, I could easily see the grieving parents being deeply upset just by coming to them to discuss the subject.”

“Every person grieves differently. Some people want to commemorate the day, others want to simply pretend the world itself doesn’t exist.”

“There’s no way for you to know, and just approaching to discuss the subject might get people bent out of shape.”

“On another note, if your child’s death is connected to a major life event for someone else you should probably avoid social media surrounding that date to minimize seeing something you don’t want to (like another guest sharing their old post about what happened).”

“The in-laws ‘you’re living in sin/not really married’ email is ridiculous. If you wanted to do a vow renewal with your husband, that’s your choice.”

“But regardless of how they feel you’re still married and the extreme entitlement to demand another wedding is ridiculous.”

“With your luck, the same cousin would come and still be traumatized because it’s your wedding and you and your husband getting married is a probable trigger for traumatic memories.” – JustDucki314

“After seeing the edit…wow, everyone even peripherally attached to this situation is determined to be the biggest a**hole they possibly can about it, huh?”

“I thought you were heartless and inconsiderate to have made the Facebook post, but that email suggests you are one of the less-a**holish people in your social circle. (‘Living in sin’? They can sit on a cactus!!)”

“I don’t mean to sound flippant, but clearly NONE of the people present at your wedding have processed the tragedy they witnessed (directly or indirectly) in a healthy way.”

“Y’all need therapy. Less processing with each other, since it looks like the whole family are drama queens who reinforce each other’s bad ideas, and more processing with trained professionals.”

“I’m sorry your wedding was ruined. I’m sorry for the family who lost their kid. I’m sorry for everyone who was present for and impacted by such an upsetting event. I’m sorry your in-laws are making a sh**ty situation sh**tier. What a sad mess.” – BitterIrony1891

“I find it awful that so many people are getting mad at OP, when it seems to me like she and her husband have distanced themselves from the tragedy in order to move on and be happy.”

“But it’s clear that the family in some way, shape, or form blame OP for the death of the child. In the sense that had they not had a wedding, child would not be dead. And that they should never be allowed to celebrate their happy moment, because during said event a child tragicay passed away.”

“It’s just. It’s incredible to me the lengths people will go to hold grudges and blame. The family could’ve unfriended her on social media, could’ve just moved past the anniversary photos and made their own post about the child.”

“Heck, I know some people even make Facebook pages about children who have passed.”

“The whole thing is a sh*t show, but to blame OP when so much is going on and isn’t her fault is insane.” – Trumpet6789

“This is an important comment. Without playing trauma olympics, everyone at that event, including OP and their spouse, is going to have trauma from this.”

“Acknowledging that their wedding happened and the actual day it happened (which will never change) is a valid way of coping. Acceptance is a valid way of coping, even if it doesn’t seem as somber as others want.”

“OP needs to not broadcast the event to the parents, but the parents have obviously not processed it well. They are also not required to cope from acceptance. But staying as Facebook friends with folks who they don’t know well, and whose entire relationship had a nexus to their child’s death, is maybe not best.” – zkidred

“The edit with the email that was sent pushes the husband’s family definitely into asshole territory. Forcing them to have another wedding and insinuating that they are ‘living in sin’ until then is complete and utter bullsh*t.” – blu333

“WOW this might be the most conflicting post I’ve seen on this sub.”

“I can see all sides. I think you absolutely have a right to celebrate your anniversary however you want. People commenting ‘oh why do you have to post it on Facebook for likes blah blah blah’ clearly are the type of people who hate Facebook and everyone who uses it.”

“I personally enjoy seeing peoples’ wedding photos on social media, especially those I was close to when I was young. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing that, even considering the circumstances.”

“I DO think you should have blocked the parents and loved ones of the deceased from seeing the post because I can understand how upsetting it must have been for them to see it.”

“Only side I cannot see is your in laws demanding a second wedding. That’s just….insane. I mean it’s cool they’d pay for it, but everything else is just absurd.”

“I’m gonna go with NAH. I think you made a big mistake by not blocking the parents but I don’t think that makes you an a**hole. It’s just an impossible situation all around. Sorry your wedding and anniversary were marred by such a tragic event.”

“Edit to add: also, if I were the parents I 100% would have unfriended you after my child drowned at your wedding. Like I would just assume that you’d be posting wedding pics at some point, and tbh even seeing your profile would probably send me into a meltdown.”

“I’m not necessarily blaming the parents but like….if they didn’t want to see anything celebratory or even reminding them of the day their child passed, they should have taken the initiative to unfriend and not put themselves in a bad position.”

“Edit 2: oh, and I’m sure after this HORRIBLE year we’ve all had, OP was really looking forward to her anniversary and celebrating a happy milestone in her life. It’s not so bad that she’d be focusing on that and not what happened at the reception.” – pf4awg

“People keep comparing it to other events, like concerts – but your wedding only happens once. It’s a once in a lifetime event.”

“The document is signed at the ceremony, long before the reception. Wedding photos are often taken between the ceremony and the reception. They can’t change it now. It wasn’t their fault a child died. I don’t think it was anyone’s fault necessarily – so why are they getting blamed?”

“Are they never allowed to publicly acknowledge that they got married? Never allowed to share their photos??? Its rough all around. I don’t blame thr parents for grieving their child.”

“I do blame the amount of people who commented on it though… like way to turn it into a circus. Those people are they AHs for escalating a situation that’s only going to cause more trauma.” – SkinnyCitrus

Some Redditors thought the OP was being completely insensitive and declared her TA (the a**hole).

“You became the AH the moment all hell broke loose on your post and you didn’t have the decency to delete it completely.” – Acceptable_Letter331

“The fact that OP cannot actually say the words ‘A child died at my wedding’ means that they know how upsetting this is, yet chose to put this into the face of the grieving parents. YTA to the max.” – mference123

“YTA. You’re not an a**hole for celebrating your marriage, you’re an a**hole for celebrating your wedding. You just posted photos of an event where a child drowned, and you can’t fathom how insensitive that is, or that the event is a horrible memory for everyone else?!?”

‘We haven’t really spoken to the parents since then, as we weren’t close to them aside from seeing them on holidays, which haven’t happened this year.’

“So you just shrugged your shoulders and moved on, and can’t figure out why the child’s parents have not? And you haven’t even talked with them since?!?”

“I really, really, hope that you do not have children, because you seem to lack normal human empathy.” – Ragingredblue

“My question is, why is the event NOT a horrible memory for OP and her husband?”

“If a kid died at my wedding, whether it was a close relative or the child of people I barely knew, the wedding wouldn’t be something I would want to remember and look at photos of—especially only 12 months later.”

“Knowing something so terrible had happened would completely taint my memories of the day and everything associated with it, and I doubt I’d be emotionally ready to look at the photos for a long time (if at all), let alone celebrate it, let alone celebrate it on f’king FACEBOOK.”

“Never mind the fact that the wedding photos are justifiably upsetting to the grieving parents—does anyone else find it pretty heartless that the pictures AREN’T upsetting to OP?” – tamaleringwald

“But other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?” – Retlifon

“ESH. You are allowed to celebrate your anniversary, and even publicly, but this is the first year. I find it a little odd that you yourself didn’t have uncomfortable feelings in making the post.”

“Your comments here make it sound like you haven’t really thought about it much, and that makes me wonder if you have really dealt with it.”

“Someone already suggested marriage counseling, but I wonder about individual therapy too. At a minimum, it may help you navigate this social dynamic and how it has impacted your relationships with both of your families since the wedding.”

“And who knows, once you start doing the work, you may find that you are having your own emotional struggle that you have just been tamping down as a coping mechanism.”

“Everyone else sucks for not considering you married and expecting you to either ‘redo’ or thinking you are a vain a**hole if you decide to ‘redo.’ “

“This is not a common situation, so it isn’t a surprise that no one is handling it well. I’m so sorry for all of your suffering. I think you need help several paygrades above reddit to help you move forward.”

“Many counselors and insurance are offering telehealth services now, if that is a concern, and if you can’t afford traditional therapy, there are many app based video counselors available for less cost.”

“I wish you and your family healing.” – AdPresent6703

“Honestly, though, does anyone who was at this wedding want to see those pictures? I don’t think this is just a matter of blocking the parents’ access to this post.”

“If I were a guest at this wedding, even if I had no connection to the child or parents, if I had seen the child’s body retrieved from the lake, witnessed the parents’ reaction, maybe saw an ambulance or coroner come, etc., I sure as hell wouldn’t want to see happy wedding photos from the day either.”

“This sounds like a traumatic experience for literally everyone involved. I think the fact that OP’s own family is having such a strong emotional reaction to this is testament of that fact. It’s not just the parents objecting here.” – Father-Son-HolyToast

“Even if it wasn’t my kid, and I was just a more distant family friend, I’d be pretty aghast to see someone posting pretty wedding pictures on Facebook when we all know damn well that an actual and very beloved child died at that actual wedding a few hours later.”

“It’s a real pity for OP, but I think that bell can’t be unrung – that association is there for everyone. I know I would never forget, my kid or not.” – byneothername

“YTA. Something awful happened at your wedding. It wasn’t your fault, but it’s something that you have to deal with.”

“I’m very sorry that you will never be able to have a normal anniversary, but that’s a small burden compared to having to deal with the loss of a child.”

“Those that say you should just celebrate privately are absolutely correct. Do not put anything celebratory where the grieving parents can see it.”

“People have been celebrating anniversaries for centuries before Facebook existed, you’ll survive without making public announcements of your love for friends to see.” – cdifl

Judgment remained scattered between TA, NTA, and ESH, but initial sympathy for the grieving parents was a commonality.

A majority of Redditors also believed the complex dilemma was beyond Reddit’s paygrade and that grief counseling might be a better solution for the wedding guests still coping with the tragedy.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo