I have been invited to my ex-step sisters wedding–our parents are now divorced, we did not grow up together save for summers/holidays. She lives in a distant city, we talk maybe once or twice a year when a relative is visiting one or the other. Attending her wedding just myself would be a real stretch, budgetwise, and also would leave my husband alone with two really small children for a long weekend (the wedding is child-free, which is understandable). If we were flush I would be like, sure, I will do this thing, but we’re not and also I think it is very very likely that she invited me out of familial obligation since when I had my kids/got married her level of engagement was to send an email congratulating me in all caps–no gift/calls. my step dad would likely pay for me to go, but I am kind of like “fuck it”, but my husband says she is family so I have to. What do you say?
If you are looking for someone to tell you you don’t have to go to this wedding then boy have you come to the right place! I strongly believe that people should only go to weddings if they want to. Unless you are literally a best friend or a mother to the bride or something, in which case you do have to go no matter what, you can pretty much skip it if you have any reasonable reason to do so. I say this as someone who has been married at a wedding, to which several invitees RSVPd in the negative, and it did not for one second cross my mind to be miffed or hurt at all. People have lives; people live far away; people are broke; people are going through their own things. People have other weddings to go to, they don’t want to spend their entire summer schlepping around the country to weddings! Come on. It’s so wonderful that so many people did come to my wedding! I was so touched! It would never occur to me to be mad that there weren’t MORE people there paying attention to me! Real Talk To Brides: if you are mad that someone can’t come to your wedding, I am 90% sure it’s because you are having some sort of paranoid Bridezilla persecution complex. CHECK YOURSELF! Unless it’s your best friend or your mom, can’t you just relax?
Never has this advice been more passionately given than in your case, Letter Writer, for truly, who even is this person? Your ex step-sister who you are not close to and never talk to? It’s SO FINE to skip this wedding, I can’t even tell you. She won’t mind at all, unless she is mentally unhinged, and if that’s the case that’s not your problem and you can’t fix it anyway. Send a really sincere card and gift and then do that thing where you swipe your hands together like “that’s that!”
My own cousin didn’t come to my wedding–my cousin who I AM close with and who I love–because she had a small baby. I can not think of a more legitimate reason to skip a wedding than the fact that you have small children who require every second of your time and attention. You’re supposed to leave your children and get on a $800 plane ride you can’t afford to go to a wedding by yourself and watch somebody get married you aren’t even that close to? I say NO WAY!
The final thing making me so secure in my advice is your sense that SHE invited YOU only out of the same “familial obligation” that is now making you feel like you ought to go. Break the cycle! Everyone who makes a guest list for a wedding makes it hoping/knowing that like 20% of the list won’t be able to come. You also invite people you KNOW won’t come, just because you kind of have to send them an invitation for whatever reason. I find it highly likely that you are in that category for this guest list. Thus don’t stress about it. Seriously. A heartfelt card and gift is plenty. You should not feel even a single moment of guilt!!! Under no circumstances would I go to the wedding if I were in your shoes. ZERO CIRCUMSTANCES.