Moms and Maids

Politely helping w/ travel expenses

I am planning a destination wedding in NYC for May 2013.  We live in Mississippi and I want the wedding to be somewhere that is really special and meaningful to us.  I have had my heart set on NYC for over two years and I don't want to change our plans.  

Unfortunately, my groom's parents cannot afford to attend our wedding.  Even with a year's notice.  They are in a tough spot financially and we are worried about increased stress/health concerns and don't want to put them in that situation.  My future mother-in-law is retiring in May, in the same month she will celebrate a birthday and mother's day, and I have decided that I want to make a big guesture to celebrate the occasion and pay for both of his parents' airfare for the wedding.  

Now the problem.....
There has always been a little bit of tension with his parents when it comes to money.  It is pretty obvious that it bother's his mom when my family can buy us more expensive presents.. like it hurts her feelings or she is embrassed that she cannot do the same.  

How do I present this gift in a way that it will be well recieved and not come off as offensive or embarassing??  It is very important to me that his parents attend our wedding but I am dead set on NYC.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Politely helping w/ travel expenses

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_politely-helping-w-travel-expenses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:357Discussion:97395b74-24df-471e-93b5-1b956cc637b4Post:f285a40a-d916-4ec6-94ac-4f4082af6120">Politely helping w/ travel expenses</a>:
    [QUOTE]I am planning a destination wedding in NYC for May 2013.  We live in Mississippi and I want the wedding to be somewhere that is really special and meaningful to us.  I have had my heart set on NYC for over two years and I don't want to change our plans.   Unfortunately, my groom's parents cannot afford to attend our wedding.  Even with a year's notice.  <strong>They are in a tough spot financially and we are worried about increased stress/health concerns and don't want to put them in that situation.</strong>  My future mother-in-law is retiring in May, in the same month she will celebrate a birthday and mother's day, and I have decided that I want to make a big guesture to celebrate the occasion and pay for both of his parents' airfare for the wedding.   Now the problem..... There has always been a little bit of tension with his parents when it comes to money.  It is pretty obvious that it bother's his mom when my family can buy us more expensive presents.. like it hurts her feelings or she is embrassed that she cannot do the same.   How do I present this gift in a way that it will be well recieved and not come off as offensive or embarassing??  It is very important to me that his parents attend our wedding but I am dead set on NYC.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Posted by lindseyrayhall2[/QUOTE]
    You mention worry about stress/health concerns. If their health is a concern, I don't really know how paying for their airfare is going to help any.

    I think you should have your FI talk with his parents about this before buying any airfare, especially if she gets embarrassed or feels bad that they can't contribute more financially. Also, would they be able to afford everything else while in NYC? Hotel accomodations? Food? ect.

    I know you said you're dead set on NYC, but, would you be willing to still do that even if his mom & dad don't attend? Also, how does your FI feel about that? You might be putting him in a tough place- I'm sure he wants you to have the day you want and all, but I'm sure he would also love to have his parents there.
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  • The health concerns are an issue b/c his stepfather has substantial back and hip issues - which means the option to drive is out of the question.  Flying would be the only way to have him there.  This issue came up last night because we found out that his stepfather was prescribed a new medicine for his diabetes that is very expensive and they were concerned with how they would afford it every month.

    I honestly believe that they could save up enough money to manage this trip if they had too.  They are not poor or impoverished, but they just have some financial difficulties and easily stress out when money gets tight.  Worst case scenario, they would charge the wedding and pay it off after - but I hate that idea.  My thought was that if I relieved some of the financial burden of the trip (approximately $700 - $800), then they wouldn't have as much to worry about and they could slowly save the rest. I want them to look forward to their son's wedding... not dread it because of money or other superficial issues. 

    It is very important to me that his parents are at the wedding.  I think it is more important to me that they attend than it is to my FI, Justin.  I have offered some local options that we could consider, but he says that he would rather do NYC. 

    By the way, it is probably important that I mention that my wedding is going to be TINY.  We are only inviting 6 guests and it is more like an 'elopement ceremony' than a wedding.  The option of a complete elopement and then a reception at home has crossed my mind, but it is not an option.  My parents and older brother have threatened my life if they aren't there to see me get married... and I'm pretty sure Justin's Mom and Stepdad feel the same way.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_politely-helping-w-travel-expenses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:357Discussion:97395b74-24df-471e-93b5-1b956cc637b4Post:fecd22e5-335f-4bc1-b520-74107d44842c">Re: Politely helping w/ travel expenses</a>:
    [QUOTE]The health concerns are an issue b/c his stepfather has substantial back and hip issues - which means the option to drive is out of the question.  Flying would be the only way to have him there.  This issue came up last night because we found out that his stepfather was prescribed a new medicine for his diabetes that is very expensive and they were concerned with how they would afford it every month.<strong> I honestly believe that they could save up enough money to manage this trip if they had too. </strong> They are not poor or impoverished, but they just have some financial difficulties and easily stress out when money gets tight.  Worst case scenario, they would charge the wedding and pay it off after - but I hate that idea.  My thought was that if I relieved some of the financial burden of the trip (approximately $700 - $800), then they wouldn't have as much to worry about and they could slowly save the rest. I want them to look forward to their son's wedding... not dread it because of money or other superficial issues.  It is very important to me that his parents are at the wedding.  I think it is more important to me that they attend than it is to my FI, Justin.  I have offered some local options that we could consider, but he says that he would rather do NYC.  By the way, it is probably important that I mention that my wedding is going to be TINY.  <strong>We are only inviting 6 guests and it is more like an 'elopement ceremony' than a wedding.</strong>  The option of a complete elopement and then a reception at home has crossed my mind, but it is not an option.  My parents and older brother have threatened my life if they aren't there to see me get married... and I'm pretty sure Justin's Mom and Stepdad feel the same way.
    Posted by lindseyrayhall2[/QUOTE]

    An "elopement ceremony" has zero guests. Tacking the word "ceremony" onto it doesn't <em>not</em> make it a destination wedding.

    And how they choose to spend their money -- hell, anything at all to do with their finances is exactly none of your concern. Unless you're their accountant, you have no idea what their finances are.
  • I really don't think it's that important to you that they be there if you are insisting on having it in NYC. Why can't you get married at home and honeymoon in NYC?
  • AmynutritionAmynutrition member
    100 Comments
    edited March 2012
    With gas prices going up, airfare will probably be a lot higher next year.

    Also keep in mind hotel rooms in Manhattan are usually ~$200-300/night. Memorial Day weekend will be more like $300+
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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_politely-helping-w-travel-expenses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:357Discussion:97395b74-24df-471e-93b5-1b956cc637b4Post:2a1e1695-3417-4420-851b-00588d92c892">Re: Politely helping w/ travel expenses</a>:
    [QUOTE]I really don't think it's that important to you that they be there if you are insisting on having it in NYC. Why can't you get married at home and honeymoon in NYC?
    Posted by nlindsay17[/QUOTE]

    I agree with this.  If you really want them to be at your wedding you would get married at home and not in NYC.

  • Wow.  These are not the responses I was expecting - especially from other women getting married.  Getting married in the way that you have always wanted is something that you will remember for the rest of your life.  I want them to be there - so much so that despite my own limited budget I want to pay for their travel expenses to get there.  Our choice to get married in New York is not a selfish decision - and you cannot convince me that it is.  I believe that each couple has to do what is right for them - We are doing everything we can to make sure all of our guests are comfortable with the situation.

    I am trying to make mine and Justin's vision for our wedding happen and taking care of the people that I care about.  I am trying to do something nice - I know that they will come to our wedding no matter what because they love both of us and want to be there (and they are excited to visit New York for the first time!), but because I love and care about them, I want to make sure that they are comfortable and that I don't cause them any unnecessary stress or anxiety.  Downgrading our wedding would make them feel guilty and would result in an even more difficult situation than where we are at now. 

    I am being sincere and I have the 100% best of intentions when it comes to making our wedding something everyone will be able to enjoy.  I'm sorry if I am using the wrong termonology about what we are trying to accomplish w/ our ceremony/elopement/destination wedding.. whatever - it is something small and different and I don't know what to call it exactly, I was just trying to convey the idea or concept. 
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I'm sorry but I still don't get it.  I know you are trying to be nice but what happens if they will not accept your money?  What happens if they can't get the means together to travel to NYC?  What happens if their health declines and it prevents them from travelling at all?

    I know that you have this vision in your head, I did too, but to have the people that you love and care about at your wedding sometimes your vision needs to change.  For example, I wanted to have my wedding on the eastern shore over looking the water in this beautiful venue...but I then realized that it would mean that many of my guests would have to travel and spend a night or two at a hotel.  My H and I were afraid that many would decline because they either A) didn't have the funds for the hotel or B) wouldn't be willing to travel.  So, in order to share the day with our friends and family we (or I should say I) changed our wedding vision.  We instead had it at a venue only 30 minutes away allowing everyone we invited to come...and you know what? I was so happy we did what we did.  We were able to have everyone we loved with us and we were able to party the night away with our friends.  That probably wouldn't have happened with the other venue and we would have had regrets.

    Sometimes you have to make changes even if it means scrapping your orginal wedding plans.  Wouldn't you rather know 100% that they can be there then just hope they can make it?

  • DH and I built most of our life together and relationship where we live now; we moved together, away from our families, jumping into unknown terrority together.  We have more history here than back in our home state and we considered getting married here rather than there in order to choose a place that meant more to us as a couple.  We gave up that idea, though, when we realized not all of the people we wanted would be able to be here.  We decide to go to our families in our home state in order to have the people we wanted around us.  We found a great venue and a terrific reception site and had a beautiful day, surrounded by most of the people we would have wanted there, and many people who wouldn't have joined us anywhere else.

    If you truly want to include his parents in your wedding day, without having them stress over the high costs of transportation, lodging, food beyond what your reception would pay for, etc., then I think you need to consider a ceremony and small reception where they are.  If you are, and more importantly if your FI is, okay - not just now but okay in the long term - with a ceremony and reception plan that could potentially exclude his parents, then continue to plan the NYC event.

    I don't think you would have to tell FI's parents or anyone else, why you changed your plans; in the long run, no matter how much they want to be in NYC, I think they would appreciate the kindness you showed them (and your other guests) by having something that would not stress them physically, emotionally or financially. 

    Your wedding ceases to be absolutely about you and your FI and your vision when you begin to include other individuals in the day.  You can always honeymoon in NYC.  You could probably even pack your wedding attire and find a photographer to take pictures of you at a meaningful place in NYC if you wanted.

    I honestly don't think the location is worth the potential of not having his parents there as witnesses.   
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  • It's fine to have an ideal or perfect vision for your wedding, but it's naive to think that it will/should happen. Sometimes the 'vision' just doesn't or can't happen for one reason or another. It's all about preferences and priorities. In your case, I think it's NYC vs. making his family comfortable. I hope that you can find a balance between the two.

    What some of the ladies and I were trying to convay is that you may have to sacrifice your vision of the NYC wedding in order to ensure his parents can attend. If you're looking for a, "It's your wedding so do whatever you want" kinda attitude, you're probably not going to get it here.

    I addressed your original question in my earlier post- Again...
    I'd have your FI talk to his parents about this whole gifting airfare money thing. They may not want to accept the gift- if not, then I guess you either carry on your plans w/o them- or change your vision to have them attend. Again, all about priorities. If they do accept, great! I hope you have a fabulous NYC wedding!


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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_politely-helping-w-travel-expenses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:357Discussion:97395b74-24df-471e-93b5-1b956cc637b4Post:33ef5282-9875-47e8-9df0-7fc92a0b596d">Re: Politely helping w/ travel expenses</a>:
    [QUOTE]Wow. <strong> These are not the responses I was expecting</strong> - especially from other women getting married.  Getting married in the way that you have always wanted is something that you will remember for the rest of your life.  I want them to be there - so much so that despite my own limited budget I want to pay for their travel expenses to get there.  Our choice to get married in New York is not a selfish decision - and you cannot convince me that it is.  I believe that each couple has to do what is right for them - We are doing everything we can to make sure all of our guests are comfortable with the situation. I am trying to make mine and Justin's vision for our wedding happen and taking care of the people that I care about.  I am trying to do something nice - I know that they will come to our wedding no matter what because they love both of us and want to be there (and they are excited to visit New York for the first time!), but because I love and care about them, I want to make sure that they are comfortable and that I don't cause them any unnecessary stress or anxiety.  Downgrading our wedding would make them feel guilty and would result in an even more difficult situation than where we are at now.  I am being sincere and I have the 100% best of intentions when it comes to making our wedding something everyone will be able to enjoy.  I'm sorry if I am using the wrong termonology about what we are trying to accomplish w/ our ceremony/elopement/destination wedding.. whatever - it is something small and different and I don't know what to call it exactly, I was just trying to convey the idea or concept. 
    Posted by lindseyrayhall2[/QUOTE]

    Maybe you should save us all the time and trouble and just tell us what you want to hear.
  • I appreciate the real-world, non-naive, advice that you have all given.  I do understand what you are saying about sacrificing what I want for what will be best for everyone involved and I agree. 

     I would give up going to the city IMMEDIATELY if my choice was New York OR them.  But I don't see that I have to make that choice at this time.  As of right now they are physically capable of flying without a problem and I am financial capable of making sure that they can afford the trip.  Yes - I know things may change - Health may decline - Money could get tighter (for them or me!) but, one of the beautiful things about having such a tiny wedding is that we don't have to book things a year in advance; There is no caterer or church; It will just be us and our loved ones with an officiant and a photographer. 

    Right now our wedding is so far away that we are looking at all possible options and we have a plan A and a plan B.  A: Everyone can make it to NYC, we have our wedding in the park, and then honeymoon for a week or so in the city  B: Not everyone can make it (for physical or financial reasons).  We have the same style of ceremony in a place like the Grove on my college campus or some sort of garden or park.  Then we honeymoon in NYC.  Once we get closer to the day and have to make arrangements, we will take all possible variables into consideration and do what we have to do to have everyone there.  I would never marry Justin without his Mom there.  He is her everything and I could NEVER do that to her.  Check back through my posts.  I have never let her not being there be an option.

    I know that most of you are probably looking at these options and wondering why we value plan A over plan B.  It isn't just a matter of taste - that we want to get married in NYC no matter what and won't budge... It is about making our wedding something we can look forward to.  (This probably sounds stupid to any of you who don't know what it is like to get married in the south or to those of you who have no problem with the limelight) BUT, if we have a wedding close to home, in the south, we will be expected to invite our extended families or friends to the ceremony and host a reception.  My FI is not good with attention.  The idea of standing up infront of a crowd of people and doing anything is as fun for him as getting a colonoscopy.  When we had only been dating for a year he asked me if I wanted a big wedding and followed up with "We can't get married if you want a big wedding."  3 years later and he still feels the same way.  

    NY is special for us ... but the most important aspect of this idea for me is making our wedding comfortable enough for Justin that when he is standing up there saying those vows that he is actually looking at me and thinking about what we are saying and can let himself get caught up in the moment when we kiss.  If we go far enough away, everyone will understand not being invited.  My parents have even offered to host a low key reception at home (He could suffer through a reception - but him being uncomfortable at his own wedding is out of the question) 

    I would rather have a heart to heart with my FI and his Mom and figure out a way to make everyone comfortable with our plan to get out of town  than to 1) have a wedding where Justin is miserable or 2) Hurt all of our friends and extended families by not inviting them to a wedding down the street.  I know I cannot make everyone happy, but if I can make NY work for his parents, I think it will be the best possible option to enjoy the day, make it special for us and our families, and avoid any hurt feelings.  

    Thank you again for the advice you have given.  It is not lost on me - I am glad to hear other people's perspectives on the situation so that I can handle it in the best way possible.  I was originally just looking for a nice way to say "I'm paying!" in a way that makes her happy and relieved... I guess I will just have to figure that out on my own.  :) 


  • Just one thought on the health issues. As you are aware, NYC can require a LOT of walking. When you get to your final decision, it would be good to consider how his stepfather will get around while in the city. Would a wheelchair be required? Also, if you plan to use the subway, not all stops are wheelchair accessible.
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  • Kate61487Kate61487 member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited March 2012
    I'm with PPs on this one on all counts. Believe it or not, not every person feels entitled to be invited to your wedding. If your wedding guest list is literally JUST your parents and siblings your other friends and relatives will understand, whether you do it in NYC or your backyard. And anyone who doesn't get it probably would have been crabby about not being invited to NY also. Have the tiny intimate wedding you want where it's convenient for your family.
  • JennLaxJennLax member
    100 Comments Third Anniversary
    edited March 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_politely-helping-w-travel-expenses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:357Discussion:97395b74-24df-471e-93b5-1b956cc637b4Post:ba08d13a-8ddc-4c7a-9428-f62aefe917cd">Re: Politely helping w/ travel expenses</a>:
    [QUOTE]It's fine to have an ideal or perfect vision for your wedding, but it's naive to think that it will/should happen. Sometimes the 'vision' just doesn't or can't happen for one reason or another
    Posted by mbody[/QUOTE]

    Ditto this.  I always dreamed of getting married in Newfoundland next to the water with just our immediate family.   Once FI and I got engaged, I had to come down to reality.  It would have put financial pressure onto FI's mom and brothers; and his extended family would have been upset to miss our ceremony.   We are having a beautiful wedding at home, and in 10 years we plan to renew our vows just the two of us the way I always dreamed it.

    Sometimes you have to put family above yourself, even on your wedding day.  Remember that the most important part of the wedding is that you will be marrying the person you love -- the location is secondary. 
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  • SB1512SB1512 member
    500 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited March 2012
    I'm going to address the issue you mentioned of your FI's fear of large numbers of people, because I had a friend go through this. She and her FI planned a small wedding of 15 people, and in the end, it ended up being too much for him and he didnt show.  They later ended up eloping. Because you want a very small ceremony, it would not be rude to have the ceremony with 6 people and then proceed to a larger reception with friends and family. Yes, people may be disappointed, but from what you wrote it sounds like you FI has a legitiment condition of some sort and not just stage fright (if this is not correct I apologize) so I think the family not invited to the ceremony should understand that. It would also be perfectly fine to avoid spotlight moments at the reception. My FI and I are not doing first dances, announcements, parent/child dances,because the idea of being in the spotlight makes both of is cringe and feel very uncomfortable. Some people know about this plan but others who we feel would be all "omg you aren't doing xyz" we do not discuss our plans with. While the reception largely is for the guests rather than the newlywed bride and groom, that by no means requires that you have to force yourself to comply with traditional reception events if you are not comfortable with it. There are plenty of others on these boards who have also skipped first dances, announcement of bride and groom, bouquet toss, etc. Sorry this is long but I wanted to offer you a way to have the intimacy your situation appears to warrant but still make it less if a hassle for people to travel.  You can very well have your private ceremony in your hometown and then have a reception with more people, it's not a breach of etiquette if your ceremony is truly private, which with only have 6 people present it is definitely considered private.
  • I think you can make it work if you're happy with a tiny wedding (6 guests) and are willing to pay for airfare/hotels (And as PPs mentioned, if FILs will accept the gift and can phsyically make the trip).

    But if your FI doesn't like "standing up infront of a crowd of people and doing anything" NYC parks are EXTREMELY full of people, especially Memorial Day weekend. I mean, all of New York is a "crowd" on holiday weekends....And if you're in a wedding dress and suit tourists will be staring at you and taking your picture.
    If you have <20 guests you won't need a permit, but they are not going to "reserve" a space for you. Have you considered a smaller park, like Charles Shultz? Where are you thinking of staying/having reception?
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  • I skimmed all the posts...but just wanted to suggest just offering the money to them! Maybe try a heart filled letter so they can think it over. The worst they will say is no. Then you take it from there. Since it sounds like you still have plenty of time, I would then consider planning a wedding at home, so it is not a financial strain on anyone and they can all come together. Or, elope in NYC and have a reception in Mississippi.

    imageAnniversary
  • To each and every one it's own!!! If you want to plan a wedding on Pluto and pay for everyone. Then so fin be it! It is a day for you and Justin to share and remember. Honestly, in a couple years everyone you're concerned with being there may not be on earth to remember it all. Quite frankly, you should enjoy your wedding in a place where you and your future husband both will remember forever. My brother was the first to get married, he and my SIL got married in the Bahamas and our family "could" afford to go but wasn't invited. We were upset for the week they were gone but got over once they returned. Trust me, if they can go they'll love it, but if they can't because of health or finances they'll understand too. That's how real parents are, they love you unconditionally! I'm a parent, so I know! Enjoy yourselves! Anybody who has anything else to say on the matter send them my way! Get a grip you silly bridezillas! It's really NOT that freakin serious!!
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_politely-helping-w-travel-expenses?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:357Discussion:97395b74-24df-471e-93b5-1b956cc637b4Post:50d05570-f207-499d-96a8-3ded5eb5c2d8">Re: Politely helping w/ travel expenses</a>:
    [QUOTE]Just one thought on the health issues. As you are aware, NYC can require a LOT of walking. When you get to your final decision, it would be good to consider how his stepfather will get around while in the city. Would a wheelchair be required? Also, if you plan to use the subway, not all stops are wheelchair accessible.
    Posted by Fluffernut[/QUOTE]

    <div>
    </div><div>This is also something to think about. NYC is NOT going to be fun for someone with hip/back issues.</div>
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  • Bottom line...it's your wedding, you do whatever your heart desires! People who love you will find a way to be there.  You're not asking them to sell their house and move across the world.  You are asking for them to get onto a plane to NY and see there son/daughter-in-law get married.  I see nothing wrong with this ESPECIALLY since you are willing to pay for their airfare. I believe that your first step is communicating what your plans are to them and see what they say.  They might be excited to get away for a mini-vaca! Hope that some of these nasty posts don't make you change what you have your heart set on.  As a native New Yorker, I think it's a wonderful idea!.I hope you are able to find a balance and enjoy your wedding planning :)
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