Every family has at least a few traditions that help make that family unique and special unto itself.
But for people coming into the family, like friends and in-laws, these traditions may not always be the best received from the outside, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor ffldcouple was looking forward to marrying his fiancée, but he was concerned about what to do, regarding an issue with his mother’s Christmas card tradition.
Because they were not married yet, his bride-to-be could not be included on the card, and the Original Poster (OP) was worried how she would retaliate on their wedding day.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not pushing my family to include my fiancée in Christmas card photos?”
The OP’s family was in the process of putting together their annual Christmas card.
“I (37 Male) am engaged to my fiancée (31 Female), planning on getting married at the end of this year. We’ve been together for two and a half years and engaged for a little over a year.”
“My family takes a Christmas card photo every year, usually around big events like graduations or parties when everyone is together (which isn’t often).”
“Years ago, my mom instituted a ‘not until you’re married’ policy to include SOs (significant others) in photos and applied that rule to my brother when he was dating, and engaged to, his now-wife.”
“To clarify, this rule only applies to one specific photo, the one that goes on the Christmas card. Significant others are encouraged to be in all other family photos.”
“My fiancée has been in all of these other photos up to this point, and she’s included in other activities, too. My family threw us an engagement dinner, they’re hosting another event for us, and they include her in holidays, get her gifts, etc.”
The OP’s fiancée was angry about his mother’s rule.
“My fiancée has had significant issues with this. Last year, when the family took photos shortly after she and I were engaged, she directed many snide comments to me about how excluded she felt.”
“This year, she flatly refused to drive with me to a family graduation, saying how hurt and excluded she felt by this policy ‘since we are getting married this year and the card is coming out the year we are getting married.'”
“I’ve tried to explain that this isn’t our card, this isn’t our right to tell others who can and can’t be on their card, and we could always have our own card to start our own tradition.”
“She’s made several comments around how surprised she is that I haven’t stood up for her to my mother, even telling me that she’s discussed the issue with others and they also are surprised that I wouldn’t take a stand with my mother on this.”
“She also made a point multiple times to say, ‘Good, less time to spend on photos with them at the wedding,’ implying a tit-for-tat response to this policy.”
The OP felt conflicted.
“I don’t really know what to do.”
“I have also spoken to my mom, and she said she gets it, but she has several children and needs to be consistent as everyone gets older and starts getting married. She already did this with my brother and his wife, and now it’s simply our turn.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some felt conflicted about the card since the wedding was happening in the same year.
“I get the rule when someone is dating, but if you’re engaged, it does feel a little harsh. My family isn’t exactly super open with other people in our photos, either, but I think this is pretty rude, so soft YTA.” – Kam_the_devil
“I thought it wasn’t worth it to be upset about and it wouldn’t be fair to your brother and sister-in-law who also had to comply with this stupid rule. But actually, I changed my mind when I reread that you’ll be married by the time the cards will go out.”
“Your mom is just being petty at this point. You should not participate, so I guess YTA.”
“And if I were your fiancée, I would send a Christmas card of the two of you and include all your family in the mailing list. It would be a normal thing to do and would make your mom look bad.” – friendlily
“YTA, only because the card will come out after you are married. That sucks that she will be the only one not in the picture immediately after your wedding. Not to mention, it’s going to confuse all of the recipients and make them wonder why she was excluded.” – pinkpeach
“YTA. I would understand this rule if this was just a college girlfriend, but she’s your future wife. You two will be married by the time the card is sent out.”
“If I were in her position, I would view it as a sign of disrespect, as well. I would honestly have drawn the line once you were engaged, but literally a few months before the wedding? H**l no.”
“Is she being petty with the pictures at the wedding? Probably. But your family started it, and it’s well deserved.” – Lola-the-showgirl
“YTA for not sticking up for your fiancée for this stupid rule after you’ve gotten engaged (especially this year, since you will be married by the time the Christmas card comes around, as your fiancée noted).”
“If you had stuck up for her at least once, but the decision remained the same, you would be N T A because you tried… And I would imagine your fiancée would take notice and wouldn’t be making as many snide comments about it if you had.”
“Don’t be surprised when your fiancée/wife isn’t too keen on attending family events/photos all that often after this.” – StarDatA**inum
But others could understand the importance of honoring a family tradition.
“Your mother is very wise. Your fiancée is a bit of a ‘Main Character,’ isn’t she? Wow. And she’s already planning retaliation at your wedding?”
“Dude. You may seriously want to rethink things here. These are red flags, and her behaving like an entitled child is going to cause some serious friction now and later.”
“You are NTA. Your fiancée definitely is and needs serious help.” – IAmIrene
“You are NTA. I get why your mom put this rule in place years ago. The last picture of my kids with my great-grandmother has my brother’s ex-girlfriend in it and they were about to get engaged.”
“Your mom didn’t make this rule new for your fiancée so I don’t know why she would be so upset by it.” – saedgin
“This is your mom’s (parents?) Christmas card. Your mom is the one with the rule requiring marriage before a so is included.”
“Until she says, ‘I do,’ she’s not included in the picture.”
“Your intended sounds immature and entitled. If this is her overall outlook on life, you’ve got a long road ahead, full of conflict and dealing with hurt feelings caused by her ‘get even’ attitude. Think long and hard about this.”
“Good Luck.” – QuinGood
“Because it seems the precedent of excluding the engaged person was set with the brother’s now wife. If the mother changes it now, it could cause issues with OP’s brother and SIL too, for the unequal treatment.”
“I’d say NTA to OP, and his fiancee is being incredibly childish if she can’t understand the simple concept of ‘the same rules for everyone.’ Not to mention the pettiness of already planning revenge at the wedding.” – StanLee151115
“NTA. I want to start by saying that I understand why she is feeling this way. It sucks to feel excluded, especially by the family who you are marrying into when you already feel like an outsider.”
“However, her behavior is absolutely terrible. To suggest that they can’t be in any wedding photos because she wasn’t allowed in one Christmas card is ridiculous. I am very worried she is going to try to alienate you from them the moment she has a chance.” – Virulencer
“Mother’s photo, mother’s rules, to be fair. Plus, it’s the same across the board. Not singling anyone out.”
“If his fiancée doesn’t like that, maybe OP can do their own family photo. Not a good sign that fiancée is causing issues so early on, b***hing to her friends and accusing OP of not standing up for her against his family.”
“This sounds like it will be the first of many IT’S THEM OR ME arguments. NTA.” – confused-88
“What a strange hill to want to die on. I see some commenters criticizing OP for not ‘standing up’ to his mom. Why should he fold like a lawn chair because this woman he plans to marry wants to change a practice established by his mom years ago – regarding his mom’s own pictures?”
“Can the bride-to-be not arrange group photos? Must her amazing mug appear in EVERY photo or she feels left out? Am I the only one who sees this as narcissistic?”
“I think you’re NTA, OP. I would have a conversation with your intended bride about (a) why this is so important for her (because it is sounding like some insecurities to me; and (b) what she plans to do regarding the wedding photos. Hopefully, you can talk it through. Good luck!” – 3Dog_Nitz
“My husband’s rather large family allows significant others to be in Christmas photos.”
“I can’t begin to tell you how many of those photos are now obsolete. The new significant others don’t want to see the ex’s pictures around the house, so the pictures just stay buried away somewhere in my MIL’s stacks of photos.”
“OP’s Mom has the right idea. NTA. Your girlfriend is something else, though.” – Ok-Appearance-866
The subReddit was pretty divided over the situation from the beginning, with folks arguing over the validity of waiting until marriage for someone to be included in a family photo, implying a legal marriage was the only way in.
But they were increasingly divided over how the OP was handling the situation. Some thought he should have stood up for his future bride more, given the questionable nature of this tradition.
But others believed that family traditions were important, even if everyone didn’t agree with them, and as long as the OP and his bride were not specifically singled out, this didn’t need to be an ongoing problem.