- 6 years ago
- Wedding: September 2011
My fiancé is a British ex-patriate, living in the USA for over 10 years. He has two sisters, Jane and Mary. I like Jane for the most part; we don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, and she does some things that really get my goat, but we’re fond of each other and I know she genuinely loves her brother and wants him (and us) to be happy. Mary, on the other hand, I can barely tolerate, as she’s self-involved, spoiled, sneaky, and has a wicked mean streak. I’ve given her the benefit of every doubt and tried to be nice and warm to her but she’s just a mean-spirited woman, and my fiancé, Jane, and FFIL’s all see her as a thorn.
We announced our wedding date almost a year ago, giving our European friends/family about 15 months to prepare to attend— we know it’s not easy or cheap for them to travel, but we just don’t have the money, energy or mental stamina to throw two weddings. Fiancé and I are paying for his parents to come to the USA (using miles and flying them in Business Class because they are his parents and deserve to be spoiled). Jane and her husband are making a lot of sacrifices (which we appreciate) to come and bring their 4 kids. Mary and her husband both work but so far haven’t been able to save up the airfare for Mary, let alone her husband and kid. In the 15 months since we set our date, Mary has bought horseback riding lessons for her kid every weekend, spa weekends for herself once a month, new iPad for her husband, new iPhone for her daughter (age 7), etc . Mary and her family live with my FFIL’s and only contribute a small amount of rent, which, according go Future Mother-In-Law doesn’t quite cover the money the FIL’s pay towards groceries. So basically Mary is living way beyond her means, is subsidized by my not-rich FIL’s, and can’t afford a plane ticket to come to her brother’s wedding. She won’t even consider coming by herself and leaving her husband and kid at home because she says that’s “not fair” to her kid.
Over the weekend, fiancé and I were in the UK and had dinner with the FIL’s when Future Father-In-Law dropped a bombshell: he wants us to consider a “second ceremony” for the folks in the UK who can’t make our wedding. We do have a few folks who can’t attend for one reason or another, but fiancé and I both know he’s talking about Mary. She is the only member of the immediate family who can’t make it, and I don’t think he’d be too concerned over my fiancé’s old school buddies not being able to join us. He offered to take care of all the logistics and planning but the FIL’s are not in a financial position to pay for it (nor would we accept that, if offered).
So I am truly conflicted! On one hand, while I have no desire whatsoever to throw an entire wedding overseas, I kind of like the idea of hosting a big ol’ party in a nice hotel for a small (10-20 people) group, getting all dressed up and having a nice time in honor of being married. On the other hand, I HATE the idea of being put through a significant expense (airfare for fiancé and me will be $1500 if we’re lucky, plus hotel, plus the party, etc etc) just for the sake of one mean and financially irresponsible person. If Future Father-In-Law had asked us to do this for his benefit, or FMIL’s, without a doubt we’d say yes, because we love them and want to make them happy. But because he’s asking for Mary’s benefit, I’m not as inclined to be generous or nice.
So, Bees, if you were in my shoes, what would you do? Remember that we’re over 4000 miles away from the potential guests at whatever hypothetical event we would maybe have; the FFIL’s home isn’t really set up for entertaining so we’d HAVE to have a venue, even if it’s just a party room in a restaurant; and basically the fun of throwing a party (which I really do enjoy) would be counter-balanced with the sting of seeing Mary get her way yet again, and this time at my fiancé’s expense and mine. But it would be a great party and we’d be able to include some of our other English friends who can’t make the wedding. FWIW my Future Father-In-Law was considering asking us to trade in his/FMIL’s business class tickets for coach tickets, and use the balance to fly Mary and her kid over, but Jane threw a fit over that, since she’s been cutting back all year to pay for her family and no ones giving her anything for free— we’re getting that story third-hand though, as Future Father-In-Law never actually asked us to do that. But I could absolutely see him thinking this would be the perfect solution, at least until you factor in how unfair it would be on Jane. Mary has had a long history of getting nice things without working for them, and it causes a LOT of stress in the family.