Post # 1
Hi! I am currently in a bit of a guilt circle over a situation with a friend and am looking for some advice. About two weeks ago, a friend invited me and a couple other women to her apartment as she had just moved in and wanted to show off her new place. This sounded nice and not out of the ordinary. When we arrived, on her dining table were ten pretty white boxes with our names on them. Instantly I knew what was happening and went into an internal panic. I knew her wedding was going to be super far away and wasn’t planning on attending unfortunately, but this felt like it backed me into a corner and was a total and complete surprise.
I would love to be a bridesmaid for this friend. I have known her since graduating college and she is really the sweetest person. If she was getting married in the city we currently live in, or even somewhere relatively close, I would not hesitate to say yes to her bridesmaid proposal and would be so excited to help. But her wedding is taking place on a different continent and is a 20-30 hour flight away depending on the specific flight. My fiancé looked at the prices and it appears that it will cost about 5,000 dollars just for the two of us to fly to this wedding.
I would love to be a bridesmaid for this friend. I have known her since graduating college and moving to a new city and she is really the sweetest person. If she was getting married in the city we currently live in, or even somewhere relatively close, I would not hesitate to say yes to her bridesmaid proposal and would be so excited to help. But her wedding is taking place on a different continent and is a 20-30 hour flight away depending on the specific flight. My fiancé looked at the prices and it appears that it will cost about 5,000 dollars just for the two of us to fly to this wedding.
I feel terrible, but I just don’t think we can swing that right now. My wedding is 4 months after hers and while I technically have enough money to go, I still have a lot of expenses coming with my own wedding and want to be able to indulge in the things I want for my wedding without worrying about another extremely expensive event. I am so frugal and responsible with my money and was so excited to really just let myself have what I want during this one period in my life. Paying 5,000 just to get there on top of hotels, food, bridesmaid dresses, etc. is a lot for anyone.
While I know I am making the right decision for myself and doing what I need to do, I feel awful having to tell her I can’t attend the wedding. The deadline to tell her is in a week (very small turnaround time which adds stress) and I am so nervous. I feel guilty for wanting to say no and I don’t know how to say it without feeling pressured or like there’s wiggle room to convince me. I want to be there for her, but I just can’t go. I’m not really friends with any of her other friends that she asked so I have no one to talk about this with candidly.
I understand there is no “good” way to tell her, but am I even justified for feeling like it’s not the right thing for me to go? I was just listening to a podcast today where they were like you don’t miss a friend’s wedding for anything, you do what you need to do to get there and I was like oh my god. Am I a horrible friend and how do I explain the situation?
Post # 2
your podcast is wrong, you can miss friends weddings and it not impact your friendship. I have missed lots of weddings – for a variety of circumstances – and if you are truly friends, life should go on unaffected by the absence.
When it comes to destination weddings, the bride and groom should have a level of expectation that many people, even the nearest and dearest, may not be able to attend. They cannot just expect friends and family to go on a lavish vacation, take time off work, the travel expenses… For someone else’s big day.
I would tell your friend that you wish that you could be in her wedding party and attend her wedding, but the cost is just too high close to your own wedding date to be able to go on the trip. You don’t technically need to give a reason to decline, but in this case I personally would. A true friend will understand. You should never be guilted into spending thousands of dollars for any reason.
Post # 3
You say, “Friend, I would love to be in your wedding and support you, but financially, I just can’t afford it. I’m so sorry that I can’t be by your side on your big day. ”
Post # 4
You say “Friend, I can’t be a bridesmaid in your international wedding.”
Unless she is a terrible person she will understand.
Post # 6
Thank you! I hope she is understanding. I know she is coming from a kind place and I am so honored she asked me to play such an important role. I knew in my gut that podcaster wasn’t entirely correct because there are so many special cases, but it just made me feel bad. Luckily there are 9 other bridesmaids who can hopefully attend and I can just explain as kindly as I can. Thank you!
Post # 7
This is great, thank you! Short, sweet, conveys the sentiment and doesn’t leave wiggle room for her to try to “convince” me. I appreciate your help!
Post # 8
Thank you! This is what I will say. I know she really just wants her friends to be there since it will be a majority of his friends/family in attendance but sometimes things just don’t work out. I appreciate your help!
Post # 9
I would just be honest and say how much you care about her and would love to, but just can’t afford to travel internationally at that time. Since it sounds like she’s a good friend I’d offer to help with any local things and tell her you’re always here for support and with planning ideas. It sounds like her wedding is basically on the other side of the world so she should definitely understand.
Post # 10
Unless she’s an unreasonable person in general, she’ll understand. Your wedding is too close to hers for you to be spending thousands of dollars and taking more time off of work to attend hers. You can be there for her in the lead up to the wedding without actually going. Higher decline rates come with the territory of destination weddings. She should be expecting many people to not be able to make it, especially with those high flight costs at her location of choice.
Also, what podcasts are you listening to? You’re allowed to be a human being with your own priorities and limits. That doesn’t make you a crappy friend
Post # 11
A podcast is just one person’s opinion; you might as well walk down the street and ask the question to the first person you meet. It’s not the gospel truth and it’s ridiculously simplistic, as there are a lot of factors in play around some weddings. Time, distance and finances must be evaluated. So the hell with this podcast, do what’s right for you.
Post # 12
A good friend will understand. My DH and I are from different countries and we knew not all of our family and friends would be able to show up for our wedding. We wanted to invite them anyway so they knew the importance we placed on their place in our lives, but we absolutely didn’t want anyone to take on financial stress to share our day with us. I’m sure your friend just wanted to let you know how much she loved you.
Post # 13
I agree. She’ll love you no matter what. I would suggest that you tell her the truth ASAP. Also invite her and her hubs after honeymoon over and make a special dinner and give them a wedding gift card to their favorite department store. This will make you feel better that you are celebrating with her in some way. Do go to her shower and any shopping she may need help on. Just because you can’t be her bridesmaid does not mean you can enjoy any process that takes place here in the states.
Post # 14
100% this! Graciously bow out, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything locally for her. I couldn’t attend a former friend’s international wedding (and neither could most of her friends, but her family and his family wanted the wedding to be where they were from), so we hosted a bachelorette weekend for her. After their wedding, they also traveled to different cities hosting mini lunches/dinners for their friends who couldn’t attend, so we attended that and gave a gift certificate and card.
Post # 15
I’m having a destination wedding and never expected anyone to actually come. Financially I understand this is a lot to ask so I fully understand. Your friend will understand too! It’s very sweet that you feel bad in the first place and the intention is what matters.
I do get upset with those who are booking and going on other expensive trips and then saying they can’t afford to come to my wedding:) That just shows their priority’s and I’m not one of them-which is fine too but they’re not my priority anymore 🙂
I have a lot of people who are saying they wish they could be there for me but are also not even able to make it to my bridal shower locally.
THOSE are the people a bride gets upset with. NOT friends like you. You’re a great friend from what I’m reading! 🙂