What does 'support and love' on the bride's big day REALLY mean?

dana_gardenerNovember 24, 2007

I hope you can answer this email. This is really a heart-wrenching decision that has to be made fairly quickly.

I am strapped for money to go to my nieces wedding in December in Las Vegas. Christmas and New Years are the most expensive time of the year to have to get a hotel in Las Vegas. Plus there are the other expenses of a car rental, 2 airline tickets to purchase, restaurants, and entertaining my 11 year old boy who would come with me. Add that to the fact that my husband has not worked for the last 1 ½ years and we have big debts. I got a new credit card just so I could go to the wedding and will stretch to use it if I feel that will make a difference in my nieceÂs happiness on her wedding day.

SO HERE IS THE QUESTION: I am wondering what it means when people say the guests are coming to "support" the bride by attending a wedding. With all the whirllwind activity that the bride and groom go through preparing for the walk down the aisle the day before and the day of, I just donÂt see how a guest can "support" a bride and groom if they are not even going to have a chance to talk to either myself or my son. I honestly donÂt remember everyone that came to my weddingÂjust a select few. BUT, what I did do isÂI rented 2 hotel rooms the night before so that the girls in my immediate family (my mom, sisters, close cousin) and my best girlfriends could stay in the room with me. I am sure if any of my aunts could have come I would have wanted them to stay in the room with me. We had a wonderful girls night (not a bachelorette party). I just wanted to surround myself with my loved ones. The next morning they were right there with me as the hairdresser did my hair and makeup. They helped me get dressed. It was all very exciting and very loving. (We rented another room for my fiancé and his loved ones plus a couple of my favorite male family members.) No one close to me was left out.

In my case, I am flying in 2 days before the wedding. I have been told to get a hotel room for those 2 nights because, according to my sister, "we are trying to keep it very calm at home". This means the bride wonÂt even see me, her aunt, before or during (and certainly not after) the weddingÂexcept may be at the reception line and across the room at a table after we say "Hello, hunny, you look beautiful". So what is the point? I can understand if we had time to visit and also if I could be a part of helping her during the days before the weddingÂbut that isnÂt part of their plan. She has girlfriends flying in from all over the country that she wants to spend time with. More than anything, I want her to be happy with her new husband and life. I DO want her to have a beautiful memorable wedding. But does that include probably a barely noticeableÂand certainly extremely shortÂappearance from any family member that is not in her immediate family who LIVES with herÂand who is not in the pre-wedding preparations? (ie. In this case only her mother, father and sister)

Please help me understand what "supporting the bride on her big day" means. How can I make the bride happy if there is no time in the schedule to spend with her?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd send a gift, wish her well, and stay home. Since you don't seem to be included in any meaningful way, it is selfish of the bride to expect you to spend big bucks at a time you are already financially strapped, to smile at her across the room.
If asked why you're not attending, Miss Manners recommends "Why do you ask?" If your sister or niece ask, and you think a more detailed explanation is in order, "I'm sorry, I'd love to but I just can't afford it" will have to do (from their POV).

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 5:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with colleenoz.The bride would appreciate the gift toward starting out her new life with her husband alot more then you getting all stressed out to be there and spend money you dont have when like you said you may not even see her.
If I were you,I really wouldnt do this to yourself.Dont put yourself more in debt for one day that goes by so fast it's ridiculous.
Just get her the nicest gift you can,and send a touching note saying, "you'd have loved to have been there,but couldnt so please enjoy the gift and know how much you love her and wish them a happy life together".

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 5:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't go. You clearly can't afford it, and borrowing to pay for it would be a bad decision. Even if you were to be included in some way, like what you did for your wedding, I still wouldn't go. You'd still be putting yourself in more debt that you can't afford, plus the interest on that debt.

Be honest with the bride's mother or father, (your sister or brother?) about why you can't come. They likely know your husband has been out of work, they will understand. Send whatever gift you can reasonably afford, with a nice card.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 8:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm tempted to tell you the same as the others but the one thing that you may not be considering is that you are going for your sister (or is that your brother?) too, not just your niece. Would your sister (brother) have time (even after the wedding) to visit and talk to you about everything? Is this something you both have thought of sharing since you've been kids? I agree that the niece proably won't really miss you, but your sister may have planned to have you sitting at her table and wanted to introduce you to all her friends and the groom's family, etc. After all, she (or he) is the host of this important party.

Other things to consider.. Is this your sister's only child? Has your sister gone to your kid's weddings? Would you get mad if she didn't? And, maybe most importantly, would your sister get mad if you didn't come to the wedding? It may set you back quite a bit, but if you have a sister who is going to refuse to talk to you for years, it may be worth going just to keep peace in the family. Then again, if you really don't think anyone would overly care or get bent out of shape, I would think it would be fine not to go.... You best know your family dynamics and know how much of an uproar not going could cause.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 9:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

doesn't sound like her sister is all emotionally wound up about having a sisterly reunion:

Her sister is the one who told her to get a hotel room!

I think most of the thoughtful posters here have the right idea:
send a card, maybe a small, token gift, & your blessing...

& stay home & save your credit card for emergencies.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 9:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My younger cousin got married three weeks ago, I am not close to her, she lives out of state, we rarely talk etc. I felt I did it all for my aunt and uncle who i am close to. Even though the bride would not care and had no time for anyone I felt that i made a difference for my aunt and uncle..
Your sister or brother will aprreciate your presence even if your niece would not care as much. But if it is a burden financially they have to udnerstand. i would just say that i am stuggling financially right now and cannot afford it.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 9:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I hear your tension and it makes complete sense. It's hard to know exactly how to advise you, though, because I don't know your family - for some families, your not attending would be no problem; for other families, your absence would be felt deeply. It depends on your relationship with your niece, I think, and the value she places on family. You say she's got friends coming in from all over...but friends and family are different, for some. If you sense that she wants you there because she would genuinely feel support and love that only real family can provide, and that your absence would be significantly felt to her, then you may decide it's worth it to attend. Or, if you sense that the principal players- the ones who are closest and mean most in her life - are already there, and your attendance would be more perfunctory, then you might call her and tell her in person how very deeply sorry you are that you won't be able to be there, and that you want her to know that you love her and are thrilled for her. Let her know that this is not an easy decision for you because you really would love to be there to celebrate her but, this year, it's just not possible - focus on your joy about what's happening for her and leave her feeling confident that you love her and are rejoicing in what's happening for her. Again, this is your family, and only you know your niece, so you'll ultimately need to decide this one. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 10:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Everybody's life is different. If you can't do it, you can't do it. The "understanding" thing goes both ways. You're the only one that knows your family and you're the only one that's going to have to pay your bills. Absolutely your call.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 1:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Did your sister suggest you just get the room for two nights and then plan to spend a day or so at her house after the wedding so the two of you could visit then? If not, I'd opt not to go, because you'll be running to the airport shortly after the wedding to catch the plane home. It wouldn't be worth spending all that money (and it WILL be costly) for you and your son if you don't get some family time out of it.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 10:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi dana gardener -

I am wondering, what do you want to do?

Do you really want to go or do you feel that it is an obligation?

Even if it is an obligation it doesn't matter as long as you strongly desire to be there for someone you Love and want to support and share in the person's special day. This is what counts.

However, if you cannot afford this trip with all the expenses involved, even if you want to be there, then I would express that in a note to the Bride with a gift that you can afford.

No one should feel "forced" to attend when it will be so costly to do so.

You may feel bad for not going if you truly desire to share in this Blessed event but you should also feel free and not guilty if you decide not to go because of the financial, emotional, etc. stress that it will cause you.

No matter what decision you make it is your right to do so whether you go or not.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 1:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would talk to your sister, ask her if she would be hurt if you just sent a gift.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 2:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And if her sister said "yes I (or bride) would be hurt". Then what? Spend 1 - 2 grand on the airfare/car rental/hotel/entertainment/gift?
Because that is about how much a trip to Vegas will cost for two people.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 8:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

& you don't even have to explain what you can or cannot afford.

Just send her a card & a gift, a token of your affection, & say congratulations, sorry I can't be there with you.

Wedding invitations often are sent as tokens themselves, to people who live far away & who aren't really expected to appear at the wedding, but whose feelings would be hurt if they didn't receive an invitation.

Save your credit card for emergencies.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 8:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

...that every time anybody had an "occasion", wedding, graduation, baby shower, etc, an invitation always went to my Uncle John in Japan.

Everybody knew he wouldn't make it back to Texas (duh), but it kept him in the family loop.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 10:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Phone the bride and talk to her, ask her how things are going, give her your best wishes.

I think its unreasonable for the bride to expect that people have enough money to "fly In" and attend her wedding.

I would not doing it, myself.

Going into debt to do it, is crazy.

As Sylvia said "save the credit card for emergencies".

Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 4:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lots of invitations are sent out to weddings and showers. Nobody expects 100% in attendance. Send a card, an appropriate gift, and go on with your life. Why would you spend money you don't have to go to this? People who can afford to go sometimes pass on it--for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes people have weddings at a destination so that they won't get hundreds of people coming which makes it expensive for them. It doesn't always mean they expect a gift--but its hard explaining the twins when nobody even knows you got married. So people send wedding invites to keep family & friends in the loop.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I now how you're feeling. I'm in the same kind of situation with my nephew. I explained to my sister, that I just could not afford to go on a destination wedding, along with a gift. Thankfully she's disappointed but understood. It's their wedding and they can have it anywhere they want, but they must realize, not everyone can afford to spend big bucks on someone else's wedding.
If this causes a rift between you and your sister, I would wonder how much she really cares.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 3:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Going into debt is not showing support and love to your niece/bride. A call to your niece and sister expressing heartfelt regrets, write a special note with a gift.
Your DH has been out of work, when your debts are cleared and you can better afford a visit, your sister will have more time for you and you will enjoy it more.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 7:38PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Asexual guy
I have a question with this, but first let me explain...
Viagara - Sorry long
Here's my issue a few months back my hubby (45) had...
Fed up and frustrated
I feel very frustrated and fed up with my marriage....
"Friend" Marriage
I have been looking up posts for months that relate...
Is It a Spouse's Responsibility?
My husband's relationship with some of his siblings...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™