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Bride excludes adopted sister from photos at wedding; family is divided. AITA? UPDATED 2X

Bride excludes adopted sister from photos at wedding; family is divided. AITA? UPDATED 2X


When this bride is determined to exclude her sister from her wedding photos due to their history, she asks the internet:

"AITA for excluding my adopted sister from family photos at my wedding?"

I am 26F and my "adopted sister" Ally is 14F. The way we're "related" is that my younger brother Michael (24M) has been with his wife Maya (24F) since their freshman year of high school.

Maya and Ally are sisters and had a really bad home life and my mom is very much a "my home is open to everyone" type of person, so over that year Maya began spending more and more time at our house, eventually bringing Ally over as well since she was always babysitting.

By the time Michael and Maya were 16 years old, Maya basically lived in the guest room and Ally spent after school, most weekends, holidays, and summer vacation at our house.

My mom and dad say that they love both Maya and Ally like their own children. My other siblings (18M and 16F) also treat her like she's a part of the family. Even after Maya and Michael moved out, Ally is still at their house the same amount, if not more than she was before. Now to preface, I have nothing against Ally.

She's a good kid and I make an effort to be nice to her. However, I've never really liked how she was forced into our lives. She's not actually adopted and she still has parents and her own family.

Yet my parents spend so much time and resources on her, it's ridiculous. Everyone else has started unironically calling her their daughter or sister and I've refused. I just don't consider her to be family.

Anyways, I got married recently, which is where the issues start. I invited Ally to the wedding, of course, and she came with all of my other family.

When we were doing pictures of the wedding parties, I decided that I wanted one with all of my immediate family (so my parents, my siblings, and Maya, and Maya and Michael's daughter).

My mom brought Ally up to come take the picture with us and I was forced to tell her no. My mom started to get upset but then Ally said it was okay and sat down by herself. My mom isn't a very confrontational person so she didn't make a big deal of it but then everyone else realized that Ally wasn't there and they got mad as well.

Ultimately, we took the photo how I wanted it because they "didn't want to do this at my wedding" but my entire family is pissed at me now. My mom said that Ally cried when she got home because I don't love her, which I don't.

I feel like they forced into a position where I had to do an asshole thing by forcing this kid onto me. I don't think I should have to consider her family if I don't want to. AITA?

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

gaha66 writes:

YTA. Emotional abuse isn't less than physical abuse. Abuse is abuse and Maya had an abusive household. What's wrong with you.

concdg0 writes:

NTA. It's your wedding, so if you define "immediate family" to mean not Ally, then that's how it is for the photo sessions. Thing is, you make your bed, you lie in it.

Although I get that family is really the people you choose, you must know that your decision wouldn't be popular with the rest of the guests at your wedding classed as "immediate family".

If anything, discussing the photo sessions ahead of time with "immediate family" could have set some boundaries, opened up some understanding, and at least informed your relatives by blood and by choice that Ally is not seen by you as an actual sister like your blood-related sisters.

If everyone can agree to be civil and respect your decision for photos, then there shouldn't have been any drama at the wedding events. Even if people cannot agree, you would have the discretion to disinvite those who cannot honour your day as you wish. I would say, if you haven't been honest before...

in all the years Ally has been coming to your home, be honest now: Tell everyone that Ally is a certain person to you but not an actual "immediate family member". Because it's strange to live your life saying one thing and doing another.

morguemoer6 writes:

NTA she’s not your sister, you don’t consider her family. What If you had a cousin move in with you from a small age for a long amount of time?

That doesn’t magically make them your sibling, that’s still your cousin if you feel like it. She’s not entitled to be in your family wedding picture just because she exists in your house.

partciularclar7 writes:

I'm so sorry but YTA. Unless my math is failing me, this child entered your life when you were 16 and she was about 4 and you already had 3 other biological siblings younger than you but older than her. Your words sound resentful as if you started being neglected at that time.

But you're taking it out on Ally like her sister/babysitter removing her from her really bad home life as a preschooler was her fault. Like she had designs on worming her way into your family.

That's not what happened. I hope you understand that. Perhaps therapy could help. YTA Because you were a dick to Ally at your wedding. You could have gotten your immediate family photos in a much nicer fashion.

(because people keep trying to give me information that I already have):I know Ally is not adopted. I know she is not OP's family. I know that Maya is really Ally's sister. I know that OP has every "right" to exclude whoever she feels like on her wedding day.

I know she owes Ally nothing. I still think she's an AH for the way she behaved. I'm not sure why everybody wants to change my mind about it.

Michael and Maya's relationship did not start when they were 16. I question my "math" because I'm not sure how old people are when they're freshmen. I was 14/15 so I went with 14.

kitschare7 writes:

I’ve been torn between Y T A and N A H but land on YTA because you probably should have talked about this privately before the wedding and because you include Maya in the photos.

Keeping the photo immediate family would be fine, but by including Maya you a) already extend the photo beyond that and b) include everyone important to Ally but her, which seems cruel.

You may not consider Ally family but it’s clear everyone else does - and it makes sense as it seems like she’s been involved for like ten years. You have no obligation to feel a certain way, but you should be considerate of it and realize that being inconsiderate of it can push you into AH territory.

Also you should probably evaluate why you don’t consider her family - do you only think of family as blood, or blood and marriage? Does time spent not count? Ally is a weird case if you count only blood and marriage as she is blood related to someone you consider family by marriage and who is around apparently as often.

You honestly sound jealous and resentful of a 14 year old and should maybe unpack that in therapy.

eyedname6 writes:

YTA: you said this girl has be living with you and your family for 8 of her 14 years (since your 24yo brother was 16). more than half of her life, and basically a 3rd of yours. that is a LONG time. On top of that you let her sister in the picture.

you say you wanted a picture with your "immediate family" but included Maya (the girls sister) and Maya's Daughter (the girls niece) who, despite being the spouse and child of your brother, are would not be considered "immediate family". you basically included every important person in this girls life in the picture, but not her.

Im normally very much on the side of "its your wedding, its your call" but this seems like you are being unnecessarily cruel to a child that clear is in an already horrible situation.

whichwithc6 writes:

Against the grain a bit but NAH. Judging by the ages, you were practically out the house when Ally became a factor into your family's lives. It does seem like you didn't have a chance to develop the same relationship with her as the rest of your family.

She is family to them. She is not family to you. That is not really anyone's fault, but kinda how the circumstances came out.

You have no official relationship and no personal relationship. While you could have taken the extra photograph to keep the peace the day of, the fact is, you would have felt weird including someone neither you nor your fiance consider family in a photograph, and likely preferred the photograph without her as is.

If that's the one you chose to display at any point, it's just tabling the same fight for another time. She was essentially invited to keep tge peace, as is, not because you wanted to celebrate your wedding with her.

You just didn't mind her coming along. It's your wedding day and supposed to be celebrating with family and the people supportive of the couple- which Ally technically is not because you guys have no real relationship.

There might actually be a slight A H to the parents- if they want you to accept Ally as a sister, what have they actually done to build a relationship between you guys? It kinda seems like they expected you to just have one, and it doesn't work like that with older children.

We actually see a lot of that in this sub with step and half siblings- this is really the same scenario. OP just has no personal relationship to Ally, so it makes sense OP would feel weird about a stranger to her being in the wedding photos.

dothatbrandnewthing writes:

Big YTA. Yes she’s not entitled to your love but you didn’t have to be such an asshole about making it clear you have no love for her. You could’ve included her in even just one picture since your family obviously considers her as part of it.

Why do you resent that she’s been foisted on you? You say you weren’t neglected in her favor, so what was it? Did your parents pour money into her that you feel should’ve gone to you?

Does she have accomplishments now as a teen that you didn’t have at her age, or do you feel your parents “parent” her better than they did you? I just want to understand why...

you hate someone whom you acknowledge had a bad home life and was probably just relieved as a kid to get away from that and be somewhere people actually wanted her. And why you felt the need to remind her that actually there is someone in this family who doesn’t want her still.

Edit to add: Just want to clarify that while OP/the bride is well within her right to do as she pleases for pictures on her wedding day, the question was was she an asshole for what she did to Ally? imo, yes.

And for those saying oh well there was no way to do pics without her - I disagree (there can be pics without in-laws which Ally technically is), but regardless, that’s part of maneuvering around family dynamics. It’d be one thing if she wanted someone who’d caused some harm to her away from her...

But as far as we know this is just a teen she’s disliked ever since she came into her life. She has the right to feel that way and to do what she did, but it was still asshole behavior. Glad OP is seeing that she didn’t really have to do that to Ally though, in her edit.

myt766 writes:

NTA. You want whatever pics you want and you’re paying for them. BUT it would have been more politically correct to go ahead and make the pic your mom wanted as well, kept a poor teen from crying all the way home & let mom pick the picture she wants to display at her home. Avoided angry family as well, keeping the peace.

Next marriage, they may choose to decline the invite based on how they (and she) were treated at your 1st wedding because if you’re that oblivious to feelings and uncaring about anyone else having any I don’t see a marriage lasting very long for you.

champepi writes:

NTA. As the oldest, you were not raised with this child. She came along at a point when you were almost an adult and out of the house. It sounds like you have little to no relationship with her, and you can't be forced to love her or consider her your family just because she stays with your parents a lot.

I feel sorry for Ally, but your family is TA for making your wedding photos about them instead of about you. It's unreasonable of your family to expect her to be in YOUR wedding photos with your immediate family when they know you don't see her that way.

And now OP's update:

After the ceremony but before the reception, the wedding party and both of our close family's took photos. I did not include Ally in this photo session and she sat with the rest of the regular guests waiting for dinner.

I did not intentionally exclude her from any of the photos taken. I'm sure she's in some of them from throughout the night especially because she was there with my family. I hope that clears some things up.

Her father went to prison a couple of years ago and her mom is bipolar. She has a room at her mom's house and stays there on some school nights because her mom goes batshit if she's gone for too long. I know she doesn't like to be at her own house but it's not like she's being beaten.

I guess that's also part of the reason that I didn't appreciate Ally's presence in our lives because it invited her mother's presence as well and she is deeply unpleasant to be around.

FYI. I wasn't neglected by my parents, I didn't mean for it to come off like that. I just didn't need another sister and I didn't/don't like having one forced into my life. I feel like I shouldn't need to love someone that isn't blood and who I didn't choose.

Update 2:

To the people calling my parents nasty things in my pms or just saying that they aren't good people: you're dead wrong.

My mom is the most caring and kind-hearted woman in the world and I should have made that more clear in my post. To be clear, I am also not a monster. I don't mistreat Ally. I get her birthday and Christmas gifts every year.

However I am starting to understand that I did do a shitty thing by publicly excluding her at my wedding because I wanted it to be how exactly how I imagined, especially because my mom was apparently blindsided by my feelings.

I was 16-18 when Ally started coming around a lot and I didn't form the same bond everyone else did. I never super liked being around kids, including my sister who by all accounts behaved way worse than Ally ever did.

But I recognize that she's become a part of our family. And I think I'm going to make more of an effort to get to know her properly, because I do know she is very mature and intelligent for her age.

Also, I don't mean to minimize what Maya and Ally have gone through. By saying she wasn't physically abused, I moreso meant to explain why she hadn't been legally removed from her mother's house.

She does have extended family that actually cares about her but they live at minimum an hour away so she stays with my parents the majority of the time. Thank you for all of your input.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Is she definitely TA here?

Sources: Reddit
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