Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: My brother went exclusive with his girlfriend ‘Jenny’ couple of weeks ago. They dated casually for about a month prior. If things go well, they will hit a month of exclusivity by the time my wedding rolls around. It is a very small, family-only wedding, due to COVID-19. We like Jenny and are happy to include her as a guest, but we don’t know what to tell the photographer. Should my brother’s girlfriend be included in the wedding photos?

Answer: If your brother were dating Jenny only casually, it would not be expected to include her in the photos. Since they’ve gone exclusive however, even for a short time, that changes things a bit. First, ask yourself: How would I feel if they ended up married or as life partners with or without children and she weren’t in the photos? If you have gotten to know her well over the past couple of months and would feel bad to leave her out, then include her. Otherwise, don’t include her in the group photos, but be sure to ask the photographer to get one or more of her and your brother together, so that she isn’t completely left out. Most people in newer relationships wouldn’t expect to be included, but we can’t assume we know how they feel about their level of commitment and the many factors that go into matters of the heart. If you decide to include her, be sure to mix up the group photos (some with girlfriends and spouses and some without). This will serve as a fail safe measure in case of a breakup. Second, another option is to ask your brother if he wants her included in the images. He may not expect the gesture, since their relationship is this side of new. If not, then it’s up to you to refer to the earlier question and make the decision. You and your fiancé of course can’t predict the future, but you can at least consider each scenario and consider the feelings of everyone involved.


Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.