Island Wedding: Go or No?

I’m looking for some advice about what I should do about the following situation:

My cousin is getting married in May of 2006 on the island of St. Thomas. I am supposed to be the matron of honor. (Matron! is that what I am? Jeez.) I originally told her that if she decided on an island wedding, I may not be able to attend. My husband and I are not doing too well financially – he just had his second hip replacement in two years last week and has been out of work most of this time. I have a full time job, and I recently took a part time job so that we could at least stop living on credit. We are in a lot of debt. That should be a LOT of debt, actually. Like $30K.

According to expedia, one flight would cost about $450. I would like to bring my husband, of course, so that’s $900 plus several more hundred for lodging.

Anyway, she told me that if it was important to me, I would make it happen. I think this is unfair of her to say, to make me feel guilty like that, and I told her so. We have gotten into some pretty heated arguments about it. Somehow, she always makes me look like I don’t love her if I just don’t make it happen. I do love her, even if she is being a selfish bitch and was a pretty crappy (according to my other bridesmaids) maid of honor to me.

I know I have a year to “save”. The thing is, we are barely getting by as it is, and how about that 30K? mr. meow won’t be able to work until September or so.

Should I suck it up and go? The thing that kills me is the reason she is having it there is so that she and her fiancé can save money by not having a fancy wedding here so they can buy a house. Hey! I’d like to save for a house too, but my own marriage vows (sicker! poorer!) have so far prevented us from doing that.

Am I being a tacky bitch by spoiling the bride to be’s thoughts of her special day by bringing up my financial problems?

I’m so Charlie Brown wishy washy. I feel like I’m being irresponsible if I go or if I don’t. If I don’t go, I fear that things in the family will never really be OK again.

No way. Your Bridezilla is putting a very unreasonable expectation on you, considering your circumstances. You should politely decline.

Now I have in the past spent a little more than I should have in order to stand up in certain friends’ weddings. But I am debt free and single. Spending $2K that could be getting you back on your feet financially? Ridiculous! Don’t do it! Just Say No.

Remember you can just as easily say to her “if it is so important to you, YOU can make it happen.” $900 for your airfare probably wouldn’t make a dent in her “destination wedding” expenses. I mean really.

  1. Thank her for the invitation and offer sincere appologies for not being able to make it.
  2. Send a nice gift (within your means not as compensation for not going).
  3. If she loves you, she’ll understand.
  4. The family ought not take sides, but they may.
  5. In case you’re still not sure, YOU are in the right.

It depends on your cousin. It sounds to me like she’s a bit selfish and self-centered, and no amount of reasoning is going to make you skipping the wedding an okay move. I suspect you’re right that it will always be a sore spot between you and her, and you and her new husband, and probably anyone else in the family who doesn’t know about your financial woes.

But on the other hand, why would you want to go out of your way, spend money you don’t have, and worry about a future relationship with someone who is so self-centered that she doesn’t care about the troubles that are keeping one of her best friends from going to her wedding? If I were you, I’d be more likely to try and scrape up the money and go if my friend gave me the okay to skip it.

In short, I probably wouldn’t go. I wouldn’t go out of my way to tell my family why, unless they ask. Then I wouldn’t hold back at all about how your financial troubles were the main reason I skipped, and her attitude towards my finances were a close second.

Send your regrets to your cousin, and don’t give it a second thought. Your own financial problems are reason enough not to go. If you win the lottery in the meantime, perhaps you can still attend, but only as a guest. The cousin should find someone else to serve as maid/matron of honor.

I have done a lot of reading about destination weddings, and I have to say I’ve always thought it was sort of a bottom-line understanding that if you have a wedding in a far off place, it will preclude some people from going. That’s the trade off! It’s a neat location, and some people will be thrilled to death, but some people will miss it.

On some level she surely knows that. While she may be disappointed (after all, she must really care for you if she made you her matron of honor) she’s got to be realistic.

It’s unfortunate that she’s making your attendance some sort of litmus test of how much you truly want to be there. That’s not right.

[What meow meow’s response should have been]
Gee… You’re right. Have a nice time. Send pictures.

Ok, maybe that’s a bit too mean. If you can afford it, take the trip. If you can’t tell her you can’t and inform her that she’s a selfish bitch for forcing an expensive trip on everyone in her wedding, and guilting them to spend it. If you’re her matron of honor, you’d think that she would care about your financial situation.

“If I were important to you, you would understand that I can’t spend that much money on an event.”

My matron of honor had to fly cross-country to be in my wedding. I paid for her plane ticket. I wouldn’t have dreamt of telling her she had to foot the bill for that - she and her husband had just started out in their careers at the time and were living in an expensive area. The only thing she paid for was her dress, and I told her to get one she liked and just tell me what the color was so we could work it into her bouquet. She was able to wear the dress on several other occasions.

I think if I were in your place and the bride didn’t want to pony up for my expenses I’d just regretfully decline to be matron of honor, and if anyone wanted to know why I’d tell them the truth - that I just couldn’t lay out that kind of money due to my financial situation. Being a bride doesn’t entitle her to make everyone else miserable and broke.

Who the hell has weddings on an island that you have to fly/sail to? I mean, besides the Rockefellers. Is this a growing trend? God, I hope not. And isn’t it totally unreasonable to expect guests to pay for their own airfare? I mean, she’s the one who wants the fancyass wedding, she’s the one that should pay. It is totally unreasonable to expect “guests” to pay $450 each for the honor of seeing her privileged butt get hitched. What a totally bizarre idea. I wouldn’t go even if I could afford it.

(P.S. I have never been to a wedding reception that wasn’t at the Sons of Italy or a fire hall. I feel like such a hick. But at least the people in my family can have fun at our weddings and not worry about how much money it’s costing us or that some little kid is going to spill punch and destroy the whole marriage. Meticulously planned-out fancy weddings are so alien to me.)

The least she could do would be to buy your ticket.

Too bad you aren’t able to afford to go and take your husband and stick around a week before or after to have your own island getaway.

But to insist someone spend a lot of money that they do not have, to attend a 20 minute ceremony? That is selfish on the bride-to-be’s part and erase any feeling of guilt you might have.

(Get a life size cut-out photo of yourself and send it to the hotel and have it placed at the altar the day of the wedding with a note, “Am here in spirit. Postage, I can afford.”)

You are absolutely under no obligation to go, particularly if you simply cannot afford it.

I assume your family knows about your situation? (Ya know, unless you hid the hubby’s “surgery” because he was really getting special training for the CIA…and and…ok I’ll stop.) If the whole family knows, surely the cousin or another family member would at least offer to pay for part. Especially if you being there means so much to your cousin.

You’re correct; she’s being emotional and unreasonable. This sort of situation is why I’d never want a destination wedding. Not only can a good many people not really afford the airfair (imagine the cost to an average family of four), some of those who could afford it can’t swing the time from work.

One of my cousins insisted upon a lavish wedding in Monterrey, which is not just an expensive place to visit, but a day’s drive for the nearest relative. She was shocked so many people declined. It caused a little unease in our family but everyone but the bride agreed it hadn’t been a wise move on her part if she’d wanted good attendance. Years later, even she agrees it wasn’t a good idea.

You’ve got to look out for yourself meow meow, 'cause it doesn’t look as though she is going to, and you’re the one having to live with your decision. There is nothing wrong with living within your means and spending money you don’t have is not an indicator of your love for her. Once the bridezilla radiation poisoning wears off, she’ll probably come around.

Interestingly, I was a groomsman for a destination wedding on St. John’s. Although my wife and I found a terrificly reasonable place to stay (which is pretty rare out there, especially if you’re prepping for a wedding), we still had to fly out, rent a car, plus the ferry, plus the clothes purchasing, plus accomodations, food, etc. It is not something that any reasonable person would expect from a friend if there was any doubt about their financial situation.

I suspect if meow meow went to great lengths to scrimp & save, budget far in advance, and make personal sacrifices to be able to afford attending this “special” event, the Entitlement Bride would take it all for granted and not remotely appreciate the effort. Screw her, I say. A regretful note is all that’s necessary, since the friend doesn’t seem to have a frickin’ clue.

Most weddings I’ve been to have been flying-distance away. I guess that this does come down to who is actually involved - next month I’m off to Canada for a wedding, which is acutally going to be a long holiday for the extended family. However, all this is as a guest. Matron of Honour, as far as I see it, is part of the wedding party, and shouldn’t be expected to pay her own way.

Why have you been asked to be Matron of Honour? Is it because she wants you there, or because some silly rule says so-and-so should be?

Bridezilla, indeed.

My neighbor’s brother and on again-off again fiance ( about 9 years worth of it) decided to get married in Hawaii as proof that they were finally getting married. It’s more of her idea, not his. :rolleyes:

My neighbor and her husband were so excited (she was elated. Her husband was reticent.) and decided to go, as they were the only family members who really could afford a Februrary plane ticket from Michigan to Honolulu & snazzy waterfront hotel rooms. $$$$$

I told Mr. Ujest that the groom would get cold feet and back out (like he’s done several times in the past. and the bride is just hanging on to his gravy train and coming back for me because he a) makes excellent money and b) is never home-he travels lots. c) he had no interest in marriage d) what a mess.) Personally, I would side with the groom on this one. Any woman that hangs around for a near decade is a free loader or needs therapy. He’s a work of art too.
They flew out there…and the groom backed out and never even made it to the island. He took off to work in Sweden or Singapore for 6 months.


The highlight was that my neighbors got a really nice vacation out of it. However, if this happened to you, that would just suck.
Just thought I’d share.

You should do what you feel is right for you. You’re in a tight spot, and that doesn’t change just because she’s getting married. If she’s worth keeping as a friend, she will understand that.

One suggestion: I was a bridesmaid for a friend who lived in Alaska. The air fare was $800. I couldn’t really afford to go (I was in school at the time). I asked my parents, and they gave me the plane ticket for Christmas. They used frequent flier miles, so it worked out well for all of us. Do you have parents who might be able to similarly help you out? If you really want to go, that is.

Absolutely. If I were planning a destination wedding, I wouldn’t expect my best man or maid/matron of honor especially to foot the bill. Hell, when my best friend had a wedding in Lanaii, Hawaii, he paid $600 for my hotel bill and I covered the $600 airfare there, because otherwise at the time I wouldn’t have been able to afford to come. And I wasn’t even part of the wedding party!

So, yeah, she’s totally being unreasonable. If it means so much for her for you to be there, she could at least meet you halfway.

Eek, don’t go. Bride sounds very self-centred. She doesn’t seem to care in the slgihtest about your and Mr Meow’s situation. And I bet you could do without the added stress of having trying to make you feel bad about it all.

Hell, given the money problem, you wouldn’t dream of planning an expensive trip for you and Mr. Meow, I am sure, so why should Bridezilla (sorry, I Do like that name) be allowed to give you this grief?


Yeesh. I agree with the others. She’s got it all ass-backwards. If it was important to HER, SHE’D find a way to make it happen. If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it, and no amount of foot-stamping on her part is going to magically change your situation.

I got married in Key West, and my then-fiance and I knew going in that we were asking a lot having people travel all the way there, and that some people we’d really love to have there wouldn’t be able to make it. We accepted their regrets. If we’d had more money, we would have paid for plane tickets or hotel rooms to help them out, but we couldn’t insist they be there without being willing and able to assist them in managing it.

The bride-to-be has almost a whole year in which to find someone else to be her Maid/Matron of Honor. Decline, and don’t let her guilt you over this, Meow Meow.