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I was supposed to be a bridesmaid, but COVID-19 and the sheer costs make me forego this destination wedding

I’m supposed to be a bridesmaid at an out of state college friend’s wedding this summer. The wedding was originally planned for the summer of 2020 and should take place here in Alaska. It was delayed due to COVID.

My friend has moved for this summer. Now it’s a smaller event with a more “destination wedding feel”. When she shared this, my first thought was how great it would be to get out of here – finally! – and travel somewhere warm. Now I wonder if I should go at all.

Everything costs a lot more than it should. I need to be transported there – the venue is pretty much self-contained – and there are literally no rental cars available. I tried using an app where you rent cars direct from people and that was hundreds of dollars a day. Additionally, with all the mask mandate changes, I feel uncomfortable with the trip itself. In fact, a good friend’s 10 year old just got a bad case of COVID and they believe she got it while flying.

My friend was very critical of people who are “scared” about going to their wedding and said how grateful she was to all of us who will be there for her. I know she found it difficult to postpone the original wedding. How can I tell her that I can’t leave without pissing her off and damaging our friendship?

COVID or no COVID, destination weddings are expensive for the couple and guests alike and require an increased investment of time and money by all parties. If you leave your friend’s feelings and interests aside for a while, it is perfectly understandable that, given the circumstances and logistics of the wedding, which have changed so dramatically since it was first rerun, you should reevaluate and possibly decide not to attend to participate.

According to the standout wedding website The Knot, a typical wedding sees an RSVP decline rate of around 15%, while destination weddings between 20% and 30% of guests refuse to attend. Her friend needs to know that despite her hopes and dreams for her big day, she would see a few friends crossed off the guest list with her new, more expensive, and more complex plan.

The best thing you can do is let them know once you’ve made up your mind – and it will sound like it is. Wedding planning is stressful and logistical hurdles seem to crop up at every turn of the route. The sooner you tell her, the sooner she can hear, process, and accept and tackle the next barrier. If she is a true friend, after dealing with her own dismay and disappointment, she will understand that while your decision was not an easy one, it is the right decision for you.

Well, I don’t think you can tell her that you will not attend her wedding without hurting her feelings and probably damaging the friendship to some extent. That is reality. Even if she is the most understanding, forgiving, and serene friend you have, she will still be very amazed, if not downright disappointed, that you won’t be there for her big day. You are one of her bridesmaids. Their presence is clearly very important to them.

Even so, before a very long and extremely life changing pandemic, you agreed to the bridesmaid duty and local wedding visit. So, if you are really determined not to tackle all of the potential health hurdles and the financial freedoms that come with it, then you are completely in your right not to leave. And she has a perfect right to be upset. But I suspect she’s going to get quite upset with a lot of her friends: you can’t be the only one on the guest list who doesn’t enjoy the sudden wedding remix and the prospect of high spending on attending.

But really, this is not a decision that will haunt her. This is about making the right decision for you and ultimately you live with that decision. There is no fence on this. If you decide to go, do it because you really want to be there, and you will put up with all of the added stress and clutter to do it. If you decide not to leave, do so with complete confidence and dedication or you will feel guilty and put yourself in question forever. It is you already. And beating yourself up is a much worse punishment than anything your possibly confused bride friend is about to hand out.


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