Maybe it's a Vancouver Island thing, or maybe it's just something unique about my group of girlfriends, but all I know is that at age 30, the majority of my close friends (and myself) are getting married or just getting pregnant now.
Up here in northern B.C., that likely seems old, especially since I've noticed people tend to get married and start families much younger up here - but it's not about age to us. For us, it was a matter of getting our university educations and careers first before getting married and settling down, hence the later age we're all getting married at. We've got our educations and our careers established, and are now ready to start families.
There's a problem with this, however, since we're all the same age.
This means five close friends are getting married this summer in addition to my own wedding, and making this more difficult is the fact they're all getting married in Vancouver or on the Island, and I'm in northern B.C.
How on earth am I going to afford the time and money to go to all five weddings?
I don't want to be a bad friend, but the plain and simple truth of it is that there's no way I can afford to fly to all five weddings (with flights running from $600 to $1,000 each, plus days of food, booze, wedding gifts, etc., and multiply that by five), all while trying to pay for my own wedding in July.
I feel like absolute garbage having to miss the weddings of some of my closest, longest friends, but it's simply not feasible; there's no wiggle room financially this year, not when we're paying down debt and paying for our own wedding. Maybe if I win the lottery it could happen, but even then I can't take that much time off of work or basically give up our honeymoon (vacation time) to attend everyone's weddings.
Now, if I lived back in Vancouver, this wouldn't be an issue, but the fact is I'm not. I live in a place where flights can cost an arm and a leg and driving to Vancouver takes about 14 hours, so that's two days of travel time you have to add to your trip if you're driving. Not exactly a hop, skip and a jump.
Because of this I run the risk of some friends being disappointed or even angry at me, but there's no way around it, and all I can do is hope that they understand how hard it is on me to have to decline and miss out on something I really want to attend.
It's never easy having to say no, but one thing this whole experience has done for me is be a more understanding bride when it comes to my own long-distance guests.
I know that it's going to cost a lot of money for some of my friends and family to travel to Campbell River for my wedding, and now that I know what it's like (and how expensive it is) living far away from my friends' weddings, I understand when guests can't make it to mine. I'm not mad or disappointed at all now, because I've been there - I'm living it as I write this.
At times, I've even been encouraging some friends not to spend so much money just to come to my wedding, because at the end of the day, it's just a day, and what's a day compared to many years of friendship?
Friendships, the good kind, can withstand anything, and while weddings are very important days, we all know, as brides, that when it comes down to the Big Day, we'll be running around like chickens with our heads cut off anyway, and will barely have time to chat for a few minutes with each guest as it is.
And while there'll be a few faces missing from the crowd that we'd like to see sharing that day with us, is it really going to ruin our wedding day if they couldn't make it? No, of course not.
And so, in all of this, all I can do is hope that my Vancouver and Island friends getting married this summer (and summers beyond) can accept my reasons if I have to say no, as I'll accept the fact that some of my own guests won't be able to attend my own wedding this year.
Knowing my friends, however, they'll likely be sad but they'll understand, which is why they're my good friends to begin with.
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