Hello wise ones! I have a situation, and I am completely stymied and need advice
BG: The Hawk I live in NorthernTown, 1400km North of HomeCity where all of our family and 90% of our friends remain. I am a bridesmaid in Rien's wedding, coming up in October. Wedding is in SmallTown, an hour South of HomeCity. Additional info re: travel - to get to HomeCity from NorthernTown, I have two options. Drive for 14 hours (one way), or pay $1100 for a plane ticket (round trip). There are NO other ways to travel between the two places.
I have been a bridesmaid before, and am aware that there are many levels of planning, lots of meetings, dress fittings, etc. The distance between myself and Rien was discussed, and it was agreed that I would be included in all meetings via Skype, and that Rien would work with my schedule and holidays when I am in HomeCity for the dress fittings etc. This all sounded great, as I was glad to be "working" for a bride who plans ahead. However, a few issues have come up, and I'm not sure how to address them.
1. So far all 3 meetings we have scheduled have started late; I am asked to be ready and online for 7pm, so I am. I then sit there and wait while I get texts like "sorry, OtherBridesmaid is late", or "ok we're just getting food together". Then at 8:15 we FINALLY all get online... and most items have been discussed over supper, and I get a list of information, and then the call is done at 8:25.
2. I haven't been able to attend any fittings so far; due to major surgery last year, I used up all of my holiday and sick time. Rien has been very understanding (she is a very close friend), but other bridal party members are complaining that I don't just come down for the weekend. Both Rien and myself have explained the distance/cost factor several times.
3. Where we are from, there is traditionally a Wedding Social.(For those who don't have them, a Social is a big party where you pay to get in the door, there are LOTS of silent auction prizes, and there are drinks & dancing. All proceeds of the Social go to the Happy Couple. The bridal party generally helps plan the social, helps solicit prizes, assists with set-up & tear-down, etc. It is a group effort.) Socials are accepted in our area, and there are no etiquette issues with regards to the social itself. However, due to the distance factor, and the fact that I live in a tiny town, I cannot really assist with any of the planning, aside from sending emails and doing online research. Unfortunately... I also cannot make it to HomeCity to attend the social. With my surgery and ongoing recovery, and other vacations that were planned and paid for before the wedding was announced, neither myself nor The Hawk have the holidays to make an extra trip. There is logistically NO WAY to make this happen. I can either attend the wedding or the Social, but not both.
What I'm looking for is a polite and firm way to address these issues, without coming across like I am using distance as an excuse. It isn't an excuse, it is a reason - to me there is a definite difference, and I want to make sure that I'm not coming across like I don't care. I absolutely do care, and I need her to see that.