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Does the size and level of extravagance come into play when it comes to wedding attendance? Are Your Friends & Family Taking Your Wedding Serious?"

We sent our Save the Dates 9 months before our wedding day, because after 15 months of being engaged we wanted to shout it from the rooftops, “We’ve chosen a date! Mark it on your calendar and celebrate the commitment that we’re making to each other!”

We were under the impression our friends and family would block the weekend on the calendar; they would make sure they could travel that weekend; that they weren’t working or going to school or getting married too. So when I received a Bridal Shower invite to a friend’s wedding for the 26th of May, I wasn’t thrilled about it.

Well, suffice to say she called me; stated she didn’t understand why I was so upset, she wasn’t attending my wedding, and that I’m no longer invited to her wedding, bachelorette party, or bridal shower. So I was confused; shouldn’t I be the one who was upset? I made it clear months in advance our wedding was on May 25th, and she had the gall to overreact?

This wasn’t the first time someone has acted like our wedding wasn’t a big deal; my cousin who originally agreed to allow her son to be our ring bearer told me in January told me he wouldn’t be able to because her daughter was playing softball for a National league and the family couldn’t travel that weekend. A once in a lifetime commitment I’m making to my favorite gentleman isn’t a big enough deal for an absence from a sports team?

So, I started to wonder, “Does the size and level of extravagance come into play when it comes to wedding attendance? Are Your Friends & Family Taking Your Wedding Serious?”

I found that concept so entirely absurd, yet I realized how common it is for people to see larger, more elaborate functions as more important to attend. My mom has traveled from Massachusetts to both California and South Carolina to attend her two of her niece’s weddings, guest lists of 300 and a centerpiece budget that exceeded the cost of my entire wedding. My aunts though, the mothers of those girls, have decided the celebration of the commitment I’m making isn’t worth traveling for.

So naturally, I’ve been upset, and have spent the better part of last week moping about how people don’t care about us; really silly, I know. And finally, my favorite gentleman said that if I was so upset, we should just elope; which jolted me back to remembering what he’s been saying all along, “We’ve decided to spend the rest of our lives together; the rest of the wedding celebration? That’s just gravy.”

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About Denise

I'm Denise, and in May of 2013 I'll be marrying my best friend of over a decade. By the time we get married, we'll have had a 2 year engagement. I also post on my own blog

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  • Jo Ann

    My daughter got married 2 years ago. She lived in Florida at the time and that was where the wedding was. Our side of the family lives in Pennsylvania and it was an expense for family to go to the wedding. Many family members did not attend and although it was very hard to accept, we understood. However, after hearing from my brother-in-law, his wife and adult, married daughter how they could not come because of money and being afraid to fly, I did notice (based on a Facebook post) that they flew to Minnesota 2 days after the wedding (that they missed) to go shopping at the Mall Of America. I know I should not be bitter, but I barely speak to them now. My brother-in-law is my daughter’s godfather and I never thought they would miss an important event like a wedding.
    I know exactly where you are coming from. It really hurts.

    • I would find that hard to understand as well. 🙁 Family is so important, and I feel like special events should really come first! So sorry that you and your daughter were made to feel unimportant.

  • Sherry in Indy

    Never assume because something is important to you that it is important to the rest of the world. Make the decision to get married and enjoy those who choose to celebrate with you and allow others to live their lives as they see fit. As for your friend having the bridal shower the day after your wedding, it was probably unreasonable for you to believe that you could monopolize her time with your event, especially with her event happening the day after. One has nothing to do with the other and her shower the next day in no way would have diminished your wedding the day before. If you ever valued the friendship, I would probably go speak to her and blame your mad on plain ol’ bridal crazy!! In the meantime, congrats and have a wonderful, blessed wedding day!

    • I feel like the friend should understand why Denise couldn’t be at her shower, but it’s inconsiderate of the friend to refuse to attend her wedding! It’s hard not to get hurt feelings over things like this.

    • Denise

      I understand where you’re coming from, but the decision to celebrate a marriage has been a big deal in my family. So I was a bit confused when some of my extended family had opted not to attend my wedding, when they have attended those of their neices and nephews and cousins twice removed. I’m not saying I want the rest of the world to see this commitment as a big deal, just my family members!

      The backstory with my friend though? When she heard I was mad about the shower, she opted to move it one day earlier to my wedding day, to

      “Give me something to be mad about!” … suffice to say, we are no longer friends.

      • Sherry

        Hi Jessica and Denise!!

        Sweeties, I am not saying either of you are wrong, I am saying there are always bigger fish to fry in the grand scheme of things. I am saying enjoy your wedding day with those who value their relationship with you and your fine husband-to-be. Don’t spend any good energy worrying about those who choose not to attend and celebrate with you for selfish reasons. Life’s just way too short. Events like this are always a good barometer of who in your life values you and who may see your relationship as more expendable. Your wedding is absolutely a big deal and you should treat it as such. Revel in that and keep it moving-Have a wonderful wedding with those you love and those who love you. :>)

      • Briana

        Sherry I really don’t agree with you at all and the fact that your defending such a terrible person makes we wonder if you would do something like that too.

        Denise your friend is a selfish bitch. She knew your wedding was announced first and in response she attempted to trump you and then went a step farther and tried to make you feel like the bad person. It’s a good thing she’s not in your life anymore so be happy your done with her.

  • Oh I TOTALLY get this. Any kind of “untraditional” wedding doesn’t really seem like it gets the same respect as other weddings, does it? While a destination wedding, for me, means a lot of people cannot come, and that is fine, some of the reasons we heard were very hurtful, and from people who SHOULD be supporting us before anyone else. While that has settled, now we are hearing similar things about the at-home reception.
    You and your favourite gentleman have the exact right perspective. Thanks for reminding us all what is most important, and I guess, at the end of the day, you are really finding out who is there for you. Good for you for keeping the big picture in mind!

    • Denise

      I’m sorry to hear that the reasons you’re getting are hurtful; at least with us, friends and family are trying to be tactful.

      Enjoy the rest of your planning; based on your posts, both your destination wedding & at-home celebration look like they’ll be a great time!

  • lealorali

    As my fiance likes to remind me…’Hon…. no one *really* cares about our wedding.” It’s sad but true. I mean they love us and they help plan (sort of) but you can’t expect people to book their whole weekend for your nuptials, even if you sent a STD sent 9 months in advance.

  • Oh my goodness; I’m surprised by some of these comments! I didn’t expect my entire guest list to keep their whole weekend free to celebrate with us; but I didn’t think it was too much to ask for close friends not to get married the same weekend as us!

    • Kerry in Tampa

      I’m sorry that you are having trouble with your family. Just remember that this day is yours and your gentlemans and no one elses (btw, I love that you call him your gentleman!). Focus on enjoying it and know that the ones you love will be there if they can, and be there in spirit if they cannot.

      I would also say to be sympathetic to the other bride. I don’t know what is going through her head, but this is a difficult time for some people and they may be overwhelmed and make rash decisions in the heat of the moment. Also, she probably didn’t have anything to do with planning the bridal shower (in the first place, at least). Typically her mom, or other female family members, should be taking care of that and it should be a surprise for her. Her comment was out of line, but try to be sympathetic and be the better person in the end. My mom always said “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

  • Denise, I am dealing with very similar issues right now! It’s so frustrating… but I’m doing my best to keep my eye on the prize — no matter who is there to celebrate with us, Matt and I are getting married and at the very least WE’LL be celebrating that! Good luck!

  • Amber

    My gentleman’s family ticks me off about the same thing. They’re surprised we’re spending money on it, for one. They’re into free or cheapest they can get things. I’m not going to be that way on the one day I can plan and get the day i want completely in my life. So, we’re having it 3 hours from where they are. beautiful venue, great price, lots included. My family is coming from florida and new york to celebrate with us. This is like a 20+ hour drive alone. They’re stating that we have to provide transportation for them or they’re not coming. 3 hour drive, they can’t do it. Really? I can see the older people telling us that, like a few people from his church that’s been there forever and are 70+, then i’ll get you some transportation. We’re not having alcohol. So it’s not like they can’t drive home. It ends at 9pm, so it’s not like they’re going till 2-3am. After they told my gentleman this, they went and splurged on his niece’s wedding and even went to get her gentleman at the army base airport across the state and had their engagement party in the same town, then went to memphis (6 hours from their homes, then 3 hours from their home) because everything in the town they were in closed and they couldn’t drink. I’m half tempted to change the entire menu to “northern” food and get a venue in florida. If we didn’t find a place we absolutely loved, it’d be that way. Some people are just jerks. We’re going to have the day we want. They don’t want to be there? Fine. More pictures of us with our kids, family, and friends that matter as much to us as we do to them 😀

  • Paige

    I doubt the friend is throwing her own shower – right? So someone else, who maybe wasn’t bestowed a golden ticket and wasn’t aware, scheduled it that day? Your friend’s reaction seems well out of scale to the shared part of this story – sounding more like this was the last straw, not the first. Same for your cousin’s decision: You dismiss her kid’s opportunity to participate in a national league event – which to *YOU* pales in comparison to a once-in-YOUR-lifetime commitment to YOUR gentleman. Yup, you’re right, her kid’s thing outranks your thing…to her. And you dismiss the their behavior by blaming it on the Aunts’ shallow assessment of your event. It just doesn’t ring true. Sounds like they’ve had enough to me. You can certainly be the center of your own universe, and your gentleman will put up with it for a while, but you can’t demand the rest come along for the ride.

    • 1) The shower was planned by my friend’s mother, who was fully aware of the date of my wedding as I sent both the invitation and the Save the Date to her house. My relationship with this girl was already strained, but it was not in relation to this bridal shower.

      2) I’m very proud of my cousin’s daughter; she tried hard to get into that national league and I wish her the best. The problem was that my cousin agreed to have her son be our ring bearer NINE months ago when we sent out the Save the Dates. I had been hoping that they would be able to skip 1 game of the season to attend; not for her to not be part of the team at all.

  • Katie H.


    You’re not alone in feeling frustrated. I have had 2 of my bridesmaids “cancel” on me. It was heartbreaking and so hard to have an open heart and forgive them. These are ladies I spent my high school and college years with so it felt like a huge stab in the heart when one flat out said she didn’t even really care to be there and the other said it just wasn’t a fit for either of us for her to be my bridesmaid. However, think about all of the people that DO care about your wedding. They are the ones that matter. My fiance patiently reminds me that he is really my best friend (and he truly is) and in the end they are the ones missing out. Not me. While I loved them dearly and really wanted them to celebrate this momentous occasion with me I have come to terms with the fact that my wedding isn’t the center of their universe.

    Good luck!

    • Marrying your best friend is always a great thing!

      And remember that there could be many reasons involved with why your friends opted out of being bridesmaids that have nothing to do with lack of support; they could really feel ill-equipped to plan your bachelorette party/bridal shower, it could be a cost burden, or any other number of factors.

      For example; my best friend is planning my bachelorette party, but opted out of being my bridesmaid because she is chronically late and didn’t want to hold up my wedding by not getting there on time!

      Enjoy the rest of your planning!

  • Molly

    You first say, “So when I received a Bridal Shower invite to a friend’s wedding for the 26th of May, I wasn’t thrilled about it.”

    You then change your story and say in the comments, “…but I didn’t think it was too much to ask for close friends not to get married the same weekend as us!”

    Clearly you’re making things up and/or are a little crazy yourself. Stop trying to get sympathy from others. No one cares about your wedding and if you’re saying your friendship with this girl was strained prior to the bridal shower thing, obviously you’re whining just to whine.

  • Elle

    Honestly you need to grow a pair and adjust the attitude.
    Its your wedding for you and your husband, you seem to be letting petty things ruin your day before it begins. Perhaps you are presenting your case wrong to family. You don’t seem just hurt that the are not coming you seem morally offend and out to point out how they have failed you. Please take a better attitude towards married life. You need to let things roll over you, or be under-prepared and over come life’s stresses. Ring bearer missing, please try puking for days and having to get up and work a 12 hour work day or miss your mortgage payment. Now thats stress! Later in married life you may hope you didn’t push these people away over ONE day that happens to have nothing to do with them .

    ( Happily married for 6+ years)

  • I find that folks aren’t reading this whole post! Especially the end where I state

    “We’ve decided to spend the rest of our lives together. The rest of the wedding celebration? That’s just gravy.”

    YES, I’m not thrilled about certain things that are going on; but it’s not like I’m lamenting about it every day!

  • Elle

    You are posting a permanent reference to your unhappiness with the situation. (things on the internet are stored in multiple places even when deleted) Something family members and friends will find, perhaps years later. You may have gotten over the hurt, but now you have a public record of who made you mad and why.

  • I think we can all agree that wedding planing is stressful and it’s hard not to get hurt feelings over something you feel is the most important day ever. I think it’s best to remember that it’s never going to be as important to others as it is to you and your fiance and to just appreciate those who are able to attend and be forgiving and understanding with those who choose not to attend, whatever the reason.

    I think the point Denise was trying to make and spark a discussion about is do you think the cost or extravagance of your wedding makes people take it more or less seriously? Let’s please refrain from attacking and judging each other here, ladies!

    Denise is kindly sharing her experiences with you in hopes of starting discussions that can help other brides. Remember that and please be respectful and courteous to each other. 🙂

  • Misty

    Wow, some rude comments on here… I don’t think Denise was saying the whole world should care about her day just those who are close to her. I don’t care who you are usually it’s pretty hurtful when those you think care about you don’t act interested when something important comes up. Especially, when it’s something that means a lot to you knowing you would of been there for them.

    Obviously, she couldn’t of made the shower it was the day after her own wedding. I think she was hurt because her friend pretty much acted like she didn’t care she came which IMO says volumes and tells me she wasn’t much of a friend anyways. With that said, I am not sure if it’s the extravagance of a wedding that makes people come or not but here are some factors I will say I think about.

    Like are children allowed, do I need a sitter, how close am I to this person, I hate to say it but does it seem like it will be boring (of course if it was someone I was super close to I would suck it up), Did the bride turn into bridezilla? All in all I have only been to a few weddings, none were extravagant affairs for the most part but I was there because I Loved the person who was getting married and wanted to be there for them on their day!

    I feel your pain, many don’t care about our wedding coming up. In fact many of my family members have nothing to do with me at all because they are unhappy that I am in an interracial relationship. I have had to accept the fact that those I have loved my whole life won’t share my day. My dad won’t walk me down the aisle and I won’t have many on my side there. But I have told myself at the end of that day that’s okay. Because those who really, truly, care will be there and that is what matters the most to me in the end. As you said the rest is gravy. Sometimes people get sucked into status (hence going to bigger events) but that in the end is their issue.

    Congrats btw 🙂

    • Denise

      I’m sorry to hear that your family and friends aren’t supportive of your relationship; I live in a very liberal state, so I’m always surprised to hear about people being unsupportive of a relationship based purely on demographics!

      Agree that there are many factors that come into play when it comes to attending a wedding, and I hope that *fear of boredom* isn’t one of the reasons folks aren’t coming to mine!

  • Gail Green

    I’m rather new to this site, but I’ve been reading a variety of the articles on here and have had the chance to read two articles by this author. They have common factors.

    Here is some advice I can offer Denise and brides in a similar situation. Be prepared this may sting. Similar to when you get your eyebrows waxed.

    Maybe it’s time you had some consideration of how you may be treating other people. If people are suddenly fleeing from your wedding like villagers running from Godzilla and I assume since you said that these were friends and family members, the issue may not be with them or your budget. You may need to consider how you are treating other people.

    For example the other bride. You mentioned the relationship was already strained. You also mentioned the shower she was having was the day afterwards. If she suddenly chose not to go to your wedding and for you not to participate in her wedding or activities. Was there anything you could have said or done that got her upset? Keep in mind the event was the day after your wedding as you pointed out. Also a bridal shower is not usually planned by the bride, it’s usually a surprise planned by the mother of the bride, bridesmaids and female relatives. Also that was a special day for your friend.

    Second your cousin whose daughter made a National League game. A National League game is a once in life time opportunity for a person. Also the child must have worked really hard along with her teammates to make the finals. Her mother must also be very proud of her achieving that goal. Participating in a game like that would go far on future college applications. Yet you would begrudge her this opportuiniy? For a child?

    It would probably be easy to judge the other bride and the family members, but let’s take a step back. It’s hard to admit and may hurt to acknowledge but other people have equally as important events going on in thier lives. My advise to anyone in this situation is pause, take a breath, and think is what I’m about to do or say kind or helpful? Will it fix the situation? If not let it go. After all do you want to end up estranging friends and family members from you?

    No wedding day will ever go exactly as you have planned,trust me I’ve been in quiet a few. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the far beyond ugly. Please keep in mind it’s a day. Understandably a very important day, but you don’t want to ruin relationships you have over it. Once certain things are done and said you can never take them back no matter how sorry you may be.

    I hope this helps you Denise and other brides who are feeling any bridal stress. Also congrats to Denise and to any of you looking forward to your upcoming wedding.

    • Denise

      I’m surprised that some of my other posts are making me seem like a bridezilla! Maybe this one, understandable, but that’s largely in part to the state of mind I was in at the time!

      As I’ve stated in another comment, I’m actually very proud of my cousin’s daughter. She is a fine athlete, and I wish her the best. As someone with limited knowledge of team sports, I didn’t realize that team members need to be in attendance for every single game. Now that I know, it changes my feelings towards the situation. We are now on good terms.

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