Steel Advice: Grandma should move past wedding photo oversight

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DEAR MARY ANN: My question concerns my grandson's wedding, specifically, photographs taken at the church following the ceremony. After the ceremony, my husband and I went through the traditional receiving line, then proceeded outside to where photos were being taken and many guests were mingling. We stayed there approximately 15-20 minutes, then decided to head to the reception.

As we went through the receiving line, neither my daughter nor the bride's parents mentioned the fact that we were to stay for photos in the church. As we lingered outside, no one from either family approached us to let us know that we should stay. We found out about the photos after getting to the reception hall when my daughter arrived. Shortly thereafter, the bride's mother approached us to let us know that we were supposed to stay. There was a photo taken later of us with the bride and groom during the reception.

I was very insulted that no one took even a few seconds as we walked through the receiving line to let us know to stay for photographs. A few seconds are all it took! Additionally, the bride's grandparents were part of the receiving line and again, we were not asked to participate in that either. The wedding took place in [the summer], but I am still upset that we were so blatantly ignored in the picture taking at the church and being in the receiving line. To be ignored for the receiving line was one thing, but the photographs is another.

The bride's mother said it was a matter of miscommunication when informing us at the reception that we were to stay. I would like to know just where was the miscommunication in the situation when the opportunity was right there for anyone in the bride's family, my daughter or anyone in the wedding party? The whole incident just really put a damper on the rest of my evening at the reception. As I said, I was insulted and hurt and am wondering if my feelings were justified.


DEAR GRANDMA: You are hurt because you were excluded. Someone should have told you a family picture was going to be taken at the church before you left for the wedding reception. As much as the oversight stings, you are going too far if you interpret your exclusion as a personal insult. Don't compare yourself to the other grandparents, who were in the receiving line. Assume these were honest mistakes and not a snub. The bride and groom as well as their parents had to focus on multiple details and were quite possibly overwhelmed. If you pout or make more of an issue than this deserves, you may soon find it being said that you were the one at fault and you should have been paying more attention to what was going on. Family dynamics are particularly delicate in new situations. Emotions run high and can easily snowball into negative territory. Move on.

DEAR MARY ANN: I am 74 years old but still work full time as a secretary in Squirrel Hill. I also spend some time in Oakland and Shadyside. In my daily travels, I encounter beggars on the sidewalk a lot. When they are demanding, aggressive or obnoxious, I ignore them or push past them.

When they are sitting or standing there, quietly pleading for spare change or holding out a cup with a doleful expression, they are harder to ignore. Sometimes I give them money; usually I do not. I feel slightly guilty when I just go right past them. I do give to charity on a regular basis.

What is the proper response when encountering a person begging on the street, if there is one?


DEAR LADY: It is a hard life for many, and judgment of how people arrived at the curb is not relevant. If you give spare change to help another person get through the day you are doing a good thing. Eye contact and a drop in the cup won't solve society's problems, but you will feel better by acknowledging the beggar's humanity.

Donating to local charities that provide shelter, food, clothing and other services to the downtrodden is the best use of your dollars. The social services network reaches and helps far more people than those met on the street. However, by keeping extra money in your pocket in anticipation of encountering a beggar asking for alms, you are supplementing in a small way your intention of helping and caring for the less fortunate. Unfortunately, there is no right answer.


Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice.


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