My fiance and I are at a total loss and I could use some advice. After six years of dating we’re finally tying the knot in Rome next year. We picked Rome because it’s where we met and fell in love, my family lives in another country, and our friends are scattered very internationally.
We are framing it (through an invitation letter and repeated word-of-mouth) as a sort of elopement to which a few (25) people are invited if they can make it. No pressure is what we’re aiming for. The only people we absolutely had to have there were our immediate families, so we ran this idea by my parents and sisters who were thrilled with it, as were his parents. Everyone is financially and physically able to go and love the idea.
His parents immediately offered to pay for his adult sister (only sibling) to attend, since she’s a freelance photographer without much money but a lot of free time. Great! Except that this sister, “Anne”, has now said she doesn’t want to go. Despite her parents footing all her expenses for the trip (and she’s never turned down their money before), she’s upset that her boyfriend of a year (whom we will invite of course) cannot afford to attend with her. She is pouting that she doesn’t want to “waste” her first experience in Europe without him, and says we are selfish for picking a place not “everyone” can make happen. Her parents won’t pay for the boyfriend (whom they don’t know very well) because it would mean a big air ticket and extra hotel room (she’d stay with them as is). Anne is claiming that if we all guilt her and “drag her” to our wedding she’ll be miserable. This is a 35 year old woman!
My fiance alternates between anger and sadness that his only sibling might not be there – we’ve all tried reasoning with her but she’s at the point of just shrugging and saying we “should have thought about how our guests would feel” when we picked our location. I know some people hate destination weddings but this is one that should be a no-brainer! I hate to see how sad this makes my fiance… Do we have to change everything for her? 0912-13
If Anne were engaged to be married, that would change the dynamic considerably but she and her boyfriend are not. He’s being generously invited to a very exclusive, private wedding and while it is disappointing that he cannot afford to go, neither he nor Anne should have an expectation that he is to be treated like a member of the family with the attending privileges of receiving unearned financial assistance from his in-laws. Basically Anne wants her parents to shell out a considerable amount of money for a man they neither know well nor who appears to have much of an intention to knit himself into the family via marriage. Sorry, Anne. Get over it.
I’m guessing that Anne is bluffing. Honestly, who would pass up a trip to Europe on someone else’s generously offered dime? Particularly since Anne is quite willing to go on the trip if the ‘rents would only cough up more money for the boyfriend. I’d hold steady on the choices you’ve already made and let the chips fall where they may. This situation may be a sad epiphany revealing where your future sister-in-law’s priorities and values lie. It is unfortunate that Anne is basing her decision to not attend on a petulant and entitled belief that her boyfriend’s travel should be funded but you and the fiance also need to recognize that not everyone can attend a destination wedding and Anne may be one of the casualties of the decision to have a destination wedding.