On Nov. 12, downtown Chicago was host to about 1,000 demonstrators, protesting Donald Trump’s election, and many paused by the Trump International Hotel and Tower as a symbol of the president-elect. Just across the Chicago river, a couple were celebrating their wedding at the Art Institute of Chicago. They traveled to the Riverwalk with their wedding party to pose for portraits with their photographer. News photographer Bilgin Sasmaz, who had been covering the nearby protests for the Anadolu Agency, took the opportunity to capture this moment for the rest of the world: The bride and groom and 15 others, dressed to the nines, have their backs to the camera and their middle fingers raised high to the Trump name that adorns the building.
“We did not make this the main focus of our wedding, and frankly it was not our intention for this to be a public statement,” the groom told Yahoo Style via email from his honeymoon. (Due to the political climate, he asked that his name not be used in this story.) “We didn’t expect the attention that it has gotten, and in fact, we did this for our own wedding photographer, only for ourselves. After two takes (and two minutes spent doing this) we were surprised to turn around and see a crowd of people.”
The groom said their hotel was near the Trump Tower, and they had been surrounded by protests that weekend.
“We never joined in any of the protests — it was our wedding day, after all, and we had other things to be doing,” the groom said, but they wanted this photo to record “our sentiments of the time and place.”
These newlyweds had an early preview of what many families are bracing themselves for this Thanksgiving, when loved ones with opposing political views will be gathered for the holiday. Other than this striking photograph, they managed to avoid politics altogether at their party.
“We did have Trump supporters at our wedding, but this was our wedding day, and everyone there was there to support us,” the groom said. “It wasn’t about politics; this was about us.”
“If someone is trying to draw you into a political discussion and you feel that it is neither the time nor the place for it, take the high ground and finesse your response,” Mitchell said. She suggested using a neutral, general statement like, “This has been an interesting race.”
Mitchell’s advice here can count for both weddings and holidays: “Take a deep breath and remember that you are a polite guest and that the event is not about you, your confronter, or about debating politics.”