- 5 years ago
- Wedding: July 2013
I’ve done a lot of reading on this forum since getting engaged (though never signed up until now), because at 19 days away from my wedding I’m in a bit of a conundrum…
My parents and I are from Los Angeles, but I’ve been living in Europe (in Bilbao for 5 years, later in Bayonne, in the French Basque Country) since the beginning of 2008. My parents still live in California.
My fiancé and I decided rather quickly to get married (in February of this year), and the first thing I did was call my mother in order to give her and my stepfather enough time to organize their finances, check out tickets and travel agencies, and ask for time off from work. I also asked a friend who works as a stewardess to comp my parents the tickets from London to Bilbao (the biggest airport nearby) so that they would only have to pay London – Los Angeles, and the prices tend to be pretty competitive. My friend can’t comp them the flights from Los Angeles because she works for a small Spanish airline company and this was the best she could do, as a personal favor to me.
As my parents know well (considering I’ve done the same trip quite a few times since I’ve been living here), the longer in advance you buy, the cheaper the tickets are. Ticket prices from LAX to Heathrow in February were about 800 dollars each nonstop round-trip, now they’re closer to 1400 (logically).
I’ve been asking my parents ever since we announced our engagement how their travel plans are coming along and have never received a definite answer, only vague excuses. My mother first said she might be pregnant and couldn’t fly (which later turned out to be untrue), then she said she was going to have a splint put in her heart and had to be operated on (she’s been vague about the details so I don’t know how serious her condition actually is), and then finally came out with the truth: that unless my fiancé and I paid for their tickets, airport transfers, meals and accommodation, they wouldn’t even THINK ABOUT coming out.
I have a fairly good salary and so does my partner at present, but he was out of work for two months (March-April this year) and that, along with wedding expenses, basically wiped out all our savings, so we’re in no position to spend 2800 dollars on plane tickets.
I’d like to also specify that both of my parents work in a construction company full-time, my stepfather as an architect and my mother as a secretary, and have steady and decent income every month. However, in April my mother decided that she and my stepfather wanted to move into a better apartment closer to their workplace, and the deposit and other moving expenses basically ate up all their savings (knowing full well I was getting married three months later, I might add).
My aunt and uncle are very wealthy even by California standards and my mother’s birthday is the 27th of this month. Since they’ve always given her fairly lavish and expensive gifts, I asked her if she thought it would be possible to ask them, as a favor this year, to help out with the plane tickets (even in the form of a loan that she could pay back little by little). Although I don’t think my aunt has given her an answer yet, she recently told me that even if they DID offer to help out, she would have to use the money for “other things” (once again didn’t specify).
Since my fiancé started working again, and in a large company, the bank has offered us a loan that would more than cover my parents’ plane tickets. However, I don’t see this as a solution for several reasons:
– First of all, I had a conversation with a friend about this issue recently and he told me that his parents also have financial difficulties, but if he were ever to get married, they would ask anyone and everyone to help them out (family, friends, bank, etc) and move heaven and earth in order to go to his wedding, seeing as how it’s a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.
– Second of all, my mother has made it clear that even if someone did give them money, she wouldn’t spend it on plane tickets to come out to our wedding, but rather on “bills”, which I’m almost sure they would have the money to pay if they didn’t constantly spend beyond their means. I’ve scrimped and saved for months to pay for my wedding when it seemed impossible, so believe me, when there’s a will there’s a way.
– Third, my in-laws are in much greater financial difficulties than my own parents, and have done everything I mentioned in my first point in order to be there for my fiancé on our special day. I don’t want to get myself into debt when my fiancé and I are just starting out on married life and will have other expenses (planning on starting a family, saving up for a house, etc).
I’ve read in other posts and on other forums that lack of money is indeed a valid excuse for parents not attending their child’s wedding, but I don’t think this is our case. I really feel that if my parents had managed their money properly from the beginning, starting from the day we told them we were planning on getting married, and taken advantage of the financial help that was offered to them, they would have been able to pay their tickets out here without problem (and I could have solved the problem of their accommodation).
I must say that my mother’s had a tendency to be selfish and egocentric throughout my entire life, but this really takes the cake for me. What I don’t know is how angry I have the “right” to be, put simply. My mother hasn’t stopped showing off pictures of my dress and from our engagement photo session that I sent her (when I thought she was still coming) and telling everyone her daughter is getting married and how much she loves my fiancé, and I can’t help wondering what excuse she gives them when they ask why she isn’t coming to our wedding.
I’d also like to point out that my parents aren’t by any means in a dire financial situation. They have debts, largely due to the mishandling of their money and not paying loans they’ve taken out, but they still have enough to go on date nights, to shows, trips upstate and other things, which means they aren’t living on bread and water either. I also know that, right now, they definitely don’t have the money to come out here, but I can’t help feeling that they could have managed it if they’d made saving up to come to our wedding a priority from day one. If my fiancé and I hadn’t had to pay for all the wedding ourselves, we would definitely have found the money to bring them out here, but we can’t do everything.
So, what are your thoughts? Am I selfish for wanting my parents to come out? Do they have a good reason? And after the wedding, what kind of relationship should I have with them? I admit that, right now, my first instinct is to cut off all contact (my fiancé and I are moving to a new city after our wedding and since I’m going from Spain to France, I’ll be changing my phone number as well) so that they understand the seriousness of this situation for my fiancé and I.
Sorry for the endless post, hope to hear your thoughts soon 🙂