She had shown me the layout and I told her that was not acceptable. I went with her to the location and told her and the planner not to “put us in the corner.” That is where we ended up months later at the wedding and I was hurt, humiliated and angry. I told them both how I felt three days later, as I did not want to cause a scene at the wedding. Her family was all in front at the head table.
They say I ruined the memory of their special day. How do I fix this?
— In a Corner
In a Corner: So, wait. She will never forgive you for being insulted by her insult?
With the benefit of hindsight, time travel and the experiences of generations of in-laws who learned the hard way that the time to speak up is usually never, we could rewind to the wedding, and you could gaze patiently upon the stairwell and never breathe a word of your dismay to anyone anywhere except to your husband when you’re alone with him in the car.
But, that's out. So is “fixing” something that is largely the consequence of someone else's apparent flair for cruelty.
All you really have at your disposal now is a narrow and specific apology to be offered if and only if this comes up again: “I am sad to hear this still bothers you. I chose to speak up about something after the fact, when it couldn't be undone, and I am sorry about that.”
Because that addresses really the only part of this whole scenario that hasn't hardened into permanence.
Your daughter-in-law seated her family onstage with her and seated you on the moon. Your child went along with this. Your daughter-in-law's antipathy to you has withstood the test of time, as has your child's acquiescence to it. Your child saw the crossroads, thought about it, and took the Wife road, and has remained on it since. This is all too big to fix without your child or daughter-in-law wanting to fix it.
What remains within your power is — again, should the right opportunity arise: to be vulnerable; to say out loud what you would do differently and apologize specifically but sincerely for any errors in judgment; to do so without any expectation of getting anything in return; then to live your life in good conscience.
Unfortunately, this is the short menu so many families have to choose from when things go awry. But while it’s a long shot for reconciliation (because anything would be, at this point), it’s your highest-percentage shot at setting your own mind at ease.