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Overseas wedding, considering cancelling - AIBU??

(85 Posts)
bonbonpixie Wed 19-Jun-13 00:46:41

So DH, DD and I are off to Australia for 5 weeks later this year. We made the decision to go to coincide with a really good (ha!) and old friends of mine wedding. As it happens my father lives in Melbourne and DH has many friends in Sydney but the wedding is being held in Brisbane, a city which I'm sorry to say I've never warmed too- so we'd not be going anywhere near it, if not for this wedding. The Bride and I have been friends for 15 years, since meeting at school and even although she moved back to Australia 5 years into the friendship we made a huge effort to see each other over the years. We went traveling together, and holidayed all over the place together. So pretty close. She was a bridesmaid at my own wedding. However in the last few years life has understandably taken over. Career, mortgages, babies (me) so I don't have the time to go galavanting off like we used to. I haven't physically seen her for three years, but we still chat, text etc. Her fiancé and I have never met. Also DD will be 16 months when we arrive.

Anyway so as the wedding date approaches we receive our invite. So......the ceremony doesn't begin until afternoon 2:30 and then.... It's a cocktail reception at a hotel bar from 7. No meal. No food being served of any kind. I must admit when I read this I was a bit disappointed. As we would have to find a restaurant nearby to feed DD (and ourselves) as the hotel they are using doesn't have one!?
Today however she told me they are having a meal but its only for the wedding party and if this wasn't insulting enough she has texted me that the hotel cocktail bar, where there reception is being held, has a no child policy!!!

I am so angry with her. Essentially we are only invited for an hour and half ceremony. I am stunned. In her text she said that she still wants us to spend a week before the wedding in Brisbane so I can attend her bachelorette party and generally catch up. But DH thinks that if she doesn't want us at the meal and as its impossible really to go to the cocktail reception then we should fly from Sydney in the morning and leave the next day? Would doing this make me a terrible person?
I know it's her wedding and she can do whatever she chooses but she knows that if it wasn't for her wedding we would be doing this trip at Christmas so DD could spend it with my family. As it stands we have just taken on a huge restoration property and will not have the money to do a Christmas trip for a few years.

Also it isn't a child free wedding at all. As I understand it, lots of children will be in attendance. She will be having 2 flower girls under the age of 3 (not family). The wedding is a small one 40 people maybe. It's not a money issue as their honeymoon is lavish.

I guess I'm really upset because I thought out friendship meant more to her, and if it was just me going I would do it her way. But I have DH and DD to consider and it's their holiday too. If we do just fly in for the ceremony I have no idea how to tell her without making it very obvious that I'm upset- help!!

EhricLovesTeamQhuay Wed 19-Jun-13 05:35:41

I wouldn't go. No way. Can you cancel without losing loads of money?

lisianthus Wed 19-Jun-13 05:57:21

Given that the OP has said that this trip would mean she can't afford a trip at Christmas, i am with tortoise and midnite here. Shes treating you very rudely in Australian terms, even if you lived in Brisbane. As you live in the UK,this is pretty dreadful and I'd take this as a statement of how she values your friendship.

The trip from Sydney isn't negligible either. It is a 2000km round trip. You could do as Chipping says and decide it "is worth it to you", but the three Australians on the thread (not sure if Chipping is Australian or has family here) have made it pretty that in Australian eyes, she seems to be making a pretty clear statement that your friendship isn't "worth it" to her.sad

lisianthus Wed 19-Jun-13 05:58:50

Pretty clear, that should be.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 19-Jun-13 06:02:17

I'm personalyl not a fan of "A" and "B" lists at all, but in any event it's extremely rude of her not to invite international guests to the meal in recognition of the effort they've gone to to attend, and I certainly wouldn't spend a week in Brisbane helping her with her wedmin. If your flights are non-changeable, I would probably do 2. from Lavender's list- fly from Sydney on your own, go to the ceremony and the evening reception, and then head back the next day. If the flights are changeable, and you'd genuinely rather go at Christmas, then I'd go at Christmas

Thumbwitch Wed 19-Jun-13 06:14:54

I'd tell her to stick it, frankly. Perhaps as you are British she thinks she can get away with being that rude to you - but she didn't know about MN International, did she! grin

I am also in Australia (although British) and agree that bit-part invitations to weddings here are a real rarity - I have been invited to "come along to the church" without a formal wedding invitation, but that was only because the church was just down the road from my house! I didn't expect an invitation to the rest of the wedding either, she's just someone I know from playgroup.

So in your shoes, if you can't change the tickets (and you probably won't be able to without it costing you a lot of money) I'd just go when you planned to and skip Brisbane - your DD is a bit young for Australia Zoo yet, which is the only reason I could think of for going there if you don't attend the wedding. (I do quite like Brisbane, to be fair, but wouldn't go there unnecessarily).

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 19-Jun-13 06:17:01

lisianthus - I think the point the other posters were making is that the two tier inviting isn't common in Australia - but the way I see it, it isn't just the OP that hasn't been invited to the sit down meal, it's all the guests as only the wedding party is going for a meal. I'd find it very weird too - but not personal. I fail to see how if none of the guests are invited to the meal this singles out the OP and makes a clear statement about their friendship? It's a shame she didn't ask the OP to be a bridesmaid or matron of honour - then it would have been much easier grin

... and that aside, the OP said if it was just her she would just go along with it. It just seems to make sense to me for the OP to go alone if she wants to go to the wedding then all of them go next Christmas. Giving them one more year to save one adult fare.

I'm not saying she should or shouldn't go - just that this is an option worth exploring if she would like to go.

drinkyourmilk Wed 19-Jun-13 06:30:23

I wouldn't go. I would also tell her why. Id say that you planned your whole trip because of her wedding, but as realistically you are only invited to the ceremony you don't feel its fair on your family as a whole to attend. Then send a card and a nominal gift.
I would also see how much it is to change flights so you could be there over Xmas instead.

lisianthus Wed 19-Jun-13 06:36:32

Chipping, yes, that's the point they were making, that the two-tier thing is pretty unheard of. However, while it is rude to all the guests, it is particularly rude to the OP as her friend is asking her to go far further (financially and otherwise) to attend. We don't know how many other guests there are, either.

And even if it wasn't particularly rude to the OP, it still includes her in the general rudeness. I would imagine that the OP isn't the only friend the bride will be losing over this. Guests all over Brisbane will be shock and buying books of manners for the bride and groom.

And I'm not sure that the OP fully appreciated the ramifications when she said that. It's like when I first moved to the UK and heard about the two tier wedding, I thought it was very rude and it affected the way I thought about people who did that until I came to appreciate that in the UK it just isn't regarded as rude, and it is just a different cultural practice. The OP is going through this realisation the other way, IYSWIM.

exoticfruits Wed 19-Jun-13 06:40:52

YANBU and I would cancel for all the reasons already stated.

exoticfruits Wed 19-Jun-13 06:41:54

I think this might be a record- total agreement on an AIBU wedding thread!!

Inertia Wed 19-Jun-13 06:45:05

Don't worry about her noticing that you're upset.

Just tell her that the wedding plans make it logistically impossible for you to stay after the ceremony, but you will be there for that.

BalloonSlayer Wed 19-Jun-13 06:52:06

I'd skip the Brisbane leg of it too. The "in Australia anyway" doesn't count to me - Brisbane is 450 miles from Sydney, so it's like being asked to fly from London to Hamburg for a wedding ceremony and a half-reception your baby isn't allowed into.

But be aware that if you say: "Sorry we can't come as we need to feed/bring DD" she'll probably say "Oh you can all come to the whole thing anyway" which will make you feel awkward.

I'd suggest you say that something has come up and the itinerary won't work any more/you thought the internal flight was a free thrown-in one but it isn't and it's turned out to be too expensive/other family member has a wedding or similar on the same day "would you believe it?"

But end your excuse with the line that: "We hope you won't mind too much, but hopefully, as we were not coming to the whole day anyway, this won't affect your plans massively."

olympicsrock Wed 19-Jun-13 06:53:47

Actually i would go. Sounds like you have had a lot of fun over the years. Go the week before with, catch up with your friend at the hen do, attend the wedding and then get DH to babysit while you hit the dance floor with the girls.

meditrina Wed 19-Jun-13 07:02:06

"I also think it's much more unusual, in Australia, to have a meal for only some guests and then a "b-list" evening reception, although I know that's regularly done in England. So it's ruder than you think."

It's considered bloody rude by many people in UK too.

But the stiff upper lip tends to take over, and people rarely say how dreadful it seems. It's a strong sign that the "wedding industry" has taken over and duped another couple into having a wedding beyond their means. Usually accompanied by bleats from said couple of "but we couldn't afford it otherwise".

MumnGran Wed 19-Jun-13 07:05:57

You now have more investment in this relationship that your friends. Sad but true ...and very normal. Friendships just do move on.
Honesty is always the best policy!
Call the airline to see if you can change your tix to just Sydney, in December flights.....and do it if you can. Then just email her to say that, with regret you will not now be able to attend as it is simply too far to travel with a baby for whom you will not be able to organise effective childcare with which you will be happy.

If you can't change the tix, go anyway, but skip the Brisbane leg, and send email as above.

Yes, she will probably be ticked off. But she lives half a world away and the friendship obviously doesn't mean enough for her to make you a priority anymore.

Thumbwitch Wed 19-Jun-13 07:09:44

Or perhaps, Meditrina, they are constrained by how many people the registry office will allow in. Mine, for e.g., had 2 rooms for marriages - one contained a max of 12 people, the other a max of 50. I didn't have any choice over this (and that was one of the most roomy registry offices!) so I could only invite 50 people to the ceremony. Different for a church, I appreciate.

meditrina Wed 19-Jun-13 07:22:58

Size of registry office is a genuine limit. And irrelevant for OP, as she was invited to ceremony, then omitted from start of the reception, then asked to attend part-way through.

That is bloody rude.

If only some can fit into registry office, but everyone is invited to reception, that's utterly different from A and B list receptions.

(Unless of course you are Royal, and have several concurrent receptions divided according to international norms of protocol).

Thumbwitch Wed 19-Jun-13 07:27:07

Yes sorry, I was referring to the UK, not the OP's situation.

meditrina Wed 19-Jun-13 07:30:14

Yes, so was I - and I really didn't mean to criticise genuine logistic limits on the legal ceremony.

It's the assumption that A and B list receptions is OK is UK that is wrong (but tangential, so I'll wander off and stop diverting the thread).

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 19-Jun-13 07:34:12

Not the OP's situation but I don't think it's that bad to invite close family & friends to the ceremony & reception 'proper' then to invite work colleagues, team mates (footy/netball/darts/whatever), neighbours etc to the evening 'do' and extend the invitation to attend the ceremony if they wish (space permitted) but stress it's entirely up to them and no problem At All if they just want to come for the celebration in the evening.

Thumbwitch Wed 19-Jun-13 07:39:24

Yes meditrina - it's that thing that crops up again and again on MN - I think pretty much every wedding I have been to as an adult has had both receptions, with extra people being invited to the evening, and I never realised that anyone thought it could be considered rude until I came onto MN! It was normal for me and most people I know; but MN was a real eye-opener on that one.

ZillionChocolate Wed 19-Jun-13 07:46:01

I d

primallass Wed 19-Jun-13 07:49:29

I think it is rude towards guests who are flying thousands of miles to be there though.

ZillionChocolate Wed 19-Jun-13 07:52:06

I don't think you can say expensive honeymoon means money no option. They might well have prioritised that over the wedding. If it's a wedding for 40, seems mean not to feed everyone.

I think I'd see if she could commit to lunch with you the day before, then go alone to that and the wedding.

If you cancel, maybe find out if she's having a wedding video you can watch later. I think you can make the point that it will cost you X to attend the ceremony as you're not going to be able to attend the rest because of DD.

Blu Wed 19-Jun-13 08:18:15

I would guess she has 't (like many non parents) thought through the practicalities for you.

I would just go to Brisbane long enough to enjoy her 'Bachelotette' party ' possibly without your DH and Dd if that can be done. Enjoy it and celebrate in a way that is fun and then enjoy the rest of the trip in the way that suits you all best. I wouldn't spend a whole week in a city you don't enjoy in order to go to a v short event.

But then I think weddings are over done. You already maintain this friendship in a way that recognises distance, I don't think you need to observe the last detail of etiquette . Just celebrate her wedding in the way that you will most enjoy. Or just go alone, for one day, to the cocktail do. (I know it's a flight away , but hey. )

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