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Wedding Wednesday – Third Time Is Not The Charm When It Comes To Money For Mom

My SIL, A is getting married next month; this will be her 3rd marriage. At the beginning of June, they set up an event on Facebook where you could RSVP for the wedding, which will be held in another state. DH and I immediately realized due to his work schedule as well as the kids’ school and extra activities that we would be unable to attend (plus plane fare would still be expensive even if it was just the 2 of us); we sent our regrets and didn’t give it a second thought.

A few days ago, DH got a call from his other sister, B. She told him that she spoke with their other sisters, C and D, and they had all agreed to pool their money together and buy a plane ticket for their mother so she could go (FIL is adamant that they can’t afford it and refuses to budge), and that DH needed to give $200 to help out.

DH refused. He pointed out that we weren’t going due to the cost and we didn’t have the money to spare. He also didn’t appreciate being told instead of asked. He then told B that if A really wanted their mother there, she would buy the plane ticket herself, as it’s her own wedding. B promptly called DH selfish, to which he said good-bye and hung up.

My question is what’s the proper etiquette? Should A pay for MIL’s ticket? Or is the shared cost of fare more of a nice gesture that isn’t mandatory but expected?

No one is talking to DH, MIL is upset with FIL, and A is blaming everything on DH. Please help! 0829-16

No one, even siblings, has a right to presume upon another person’s generosity and nor should anyone have an expectation that their orders will be obeyed in regards to demands for money.   What people do with their money is no one’s business and the sisters made a crucial error in presuming that their brother 1) has money to spare, and 2) that he’s willing to donate it, and 3) that they can strong arm him into giving it away to the recipient of their choice, i.e. their mother.

It’s not as if this is SIL A’s first wedding.   Or second.   By the time a person is getting married for the 3rd time,  any expectation that family must attend should be strangled and stomped into oblivion.   If A wanted Mom at her wedding, A needed to make arrangements that did not involve the coercion of siblings to make that happen.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • essie October 5, 2016, 5:46 am

    Frankly, I don’t see this as an etiquette issue. Common sense, not etiquette, says you don’t have the right to spend other people’s money.

  • Adereterial October 5, 2016, 7:18 am

    What an interesting assumption, Admin, that the SIL has been divorced twice rather than widowed twice.

    Not that it would ultimately change the advice, but I find the holier than thou attitude rather offensive.

    • admin October 5, 2016, 7:42 am

      You should read for comprehension since at no point in my reply did I mention divorce, infer divorce or insinuate divorce. Regardless of whether the previous two marriages ended in divorce or widowhood, the fact remains that this is a third wedding and no one among the bride’s family or friends should feel any obligation whatsoever to cater to expectations the bride may have that she deserves a third wedding hoopla.

      • Calli Arcale October 5, 2016, 11:19 am

        And not just that — it’s her third wedding, so SIL can’t exactly presume ignorance of all the expense that goes into attending an out-of-state wedding.

    • Rebooting October 5, 2016, 8:10 am

      Admin assumed no such thing; all she said was the facts, that this is SIL’s third wedding and that by then, surely the expectation that every single family member must attend could be relaxed a bit, especially if there’s a financial difficulty involved.

    • Lenore October 5, 2016, 10:15 am

      Regardless of whether SIL was widowed twice or divorced twice, expecting that family be expected to shell out money over and over again (travel, accommodation, outfits, gifts etc) in order to attend is silly. Furthermore there was nothing in EDame’s response about the circumstances leading to the third wedding, and your interesting assumption has made you look even sillier.

    • Lakey October 5, 2016, 12:40 pm

      I agree with Administrator. Traditionally second or third weddings were low key. A wedding in your family sometimes involves a great deal of time and money. The third wedding being low key is not judgemental, it is a matter of being considerate of guests and family members, who may have already spent a great deal of time and money on your weddings. I believe that it has become more common for people to expect others to make a big deal of their third wedding because we as a society have become more self indulgent.

      There are still a lot of people who keep it low key, but it is becoming more common for couples to go all out. Years ago, I had an aunt who was widowed twice, and was therefore married three times. The tradition in cases like that was to have the ceremony with those close to the couple, then have a party at home. There was no expectation of gifts or traveling long distances.

  • Aleko October 5, 2016, 7:20 am

    Totally agree with admin: the most the siblings should have done is suggest ‘wouldn’t it be nice if we all…’ and, if any of them could not or would not co-fund, be prepared either to drop the idea; or stump up the whole cost between themselves; or offer their parents what they had raised between them in the hope they could afford the remainder. (Though OP’s choice of words makes it sound rather as though FIL does not want to pay, rather than not being able to. Maybe he doesn’t want to go.)
    A shouldn’t even have been involved in any discussions of this possibility, and certainly has no right to berate anyone who won’t stump up. If she wanted her parents present she should have been prepared to pay their fare or hold the wedding nearer to them.

  • LEMon October 5, 2016, 8:23 am

    The only part of the DH’s response that I don’t feel should have been said was the suggestion that A should spend her own money to get Mom there. B’s demand suggested C and D were involved, but doesn’t mention A so why mention A at all in his response. There isn’t any suggestion that A is pressuring the family to make it so Mom can come. So I can kind of see why A might be upset with DH.
    One of the points we are objecting to was the attempt to spend someone else’s money so DH shouldn’t have done it either.

    • Kariachi October 5, 2016, 1:01 pm

      I’m with you here. It sounds plausible that A’s been reasonable and was simply told by her sisters that her brother felt she should foot the bill so mom could come to the wedding. Out of the context (which people like the SiLs are unlikely to give) it would sound like *he* thinks *she’s* being greedy or unreasonable for not paying mom’s airfare when she might have been fine with mom not coming if she couldn’t.

      It’s not as likely, given the tendency with these stories, but it’s still plausible.

    • Tracy W October 5, 2016, 11:22 pm

      As I understood it, the wedding is A’s, and A and her fiance presumably picked the location an expensive distance away, and if they’d really wanted A’s mother there then A and her fiance could have paid the mother’s flight.

      And the suggestion that A is pressuring the family comes from the OP saying “A is blaming everything on DH.”

      • Ulla October 7, 2016, 4:13 am

        Tecnically, OP stated it was in other state. Which could mean that A lives there and did not pick expensive location but location that was near where they live. Or it is possible it’s destination wedding.

  • DGS October 5, 2016, 8:27 am

    Can she ask her brother? Absolutely, she can ask. There is nothing wrong with asking. Can she presume that her brother would contribute? Absolutely not. She can ask, nicely and politely, and her brother can refuse, nicely and politely. A no is complete sentence, not requiring an explanation. And none of us can presume how to spend other people’s money. The sisters are just trying to foment drama.

  • abby October 5, 2016, 8:28 am

    Where is Sis getting married? If $200 is husband’s 1/4 share, that’s a really expensive ticket.

    I think it’s a nice idea for the siblings to buy the ticket for mom, but agree sisters should have asked him if he could (and would be willing to) contribute, not told him he *had* to do so.

  • clairedelune October 5, 2016, 8:39 am

    Definitely etiquette doesn’t require any of what’s being discussed. It sounds like this is really more of a nice thing to do for Mom–maybe she would be very sad to miss her daughter’s wedding, even if it is the third. But the bride really should chip in too. And of course, if OPs family doesn’t have the money, they just don’t have the money, and that’s that.
    But seriously–where in the world is this wedding that a domestic round-trip ticket split four ways is $200 a share? The most expensive domestic flights I’ve taken are from the coastal city where I live to smaller cities in the middle of the country (coast-to-coast always seems to be cheaper) at the last minute (like for funerals) and even at that I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $550-600. Maybe OP’s DH’s contribution to the effort, if he’s so inclined, could be in the form of legwork instead of money. I feel like with a solid 30 minutes of research they could surely find a fare for under $800, and his efforts will then lower everyone’s share of the expense.

    • Lakey October 5, 2016, 12:47 pm

      I wonder if they are including other travel costs, such as hotel and meals, because flights from MIchigan to Oregon can be under$500.

    • ally October 5, 2016, 1:49 pm

      It could vary in cost depending on season, too. My DH wants to visit family in FL in December, and we are in NJ. Each ticket costs between $500-$1000. We typically fly red-eye to save money, but not everyone can do that. And I assumed the siblings wanted to bring the parents down, not just their mom, but I see there’s nothing concrete in the story about that.

      And as much as the siblings want their mom there, it’s not as simple as just getting a plane ticket. There’s time off work, transportation to the airport or parking fees, baggage fees, possibly rental car and hotel fees. SO while it was a nice thought, the logistics are just really really hard.

    • Raymee October 12, 2016, 6:18 pm

      Why are you assuming that the submitter is from the USA? Here in Australia, flights between states can easily be over $1000- particularly if they need to go via Melbourne or Sydney.

  • Willynilly October 5, 2016, 8:42 am

    $1000 for 1 person’s roundtrip airfare? Honestly if the wedding is that far from the mother or any other relative it should have been expected there would be regrets sent.

    One of the things I hate most about “going in” on a group purchase is other people’s spending styles. I am not afraid of spending money, but I am careful to shop around for deals. I would be happy to contribute to airfare for my mother to fly somewhere, but I would not be happy to just hand over a huge chunk of cash. The sisters might have done better to research flights and then present said research and ask OP’s husband how much if any he would like to contribute, rather than just telling him they decided without his input he should give an arbitrary amount.

    • Ernie October 5, 2016, 12:17 pm

      Yeah I can’t think of anyone I would get on a plane to witness the third wedding of.

      Also, to your second point, even if, hypothetically, the brother did want to contribute money to the ticket, I think he would be well within his right to find a more reasonably priced ticket through a reputable online source and pay his part on that amount.

    • rindlrad October 5, 2016, 12:54 pm

      Depending on the time of the year (Thanksgiving & Christmas in the US is more expensive to fly) and the airport(s) they are flying out of or to it can get pricey. Also, maybe MIL requires 1st class for the extra room, has mobility issues, etc. As you mention, some people are willing to pay to depart and arrive at convenient times while others will shop for bargains, which usually involves traveling at off hours. It’s also possible that the $1,000 includes other travel-related expenses, such as hotel or a rental car.

    • jeneria October 6, 2016, 12:25 pm

      My parents live in Montana and if I want to fly into the airport closest to them (the next closest is a three hour drive, the one after that is five hours, etc) it can easily run almost $1000 a ticket during holidays. Even in a cheaper time, the ticket can be almost $700. I can fly to other parts of the world for the cost of getting to Montana.

  • Huh October 5, 2016, 8:48 am

    I thought it was considered rude to TELL someone how much they will contribute. Like there’s nothing wrong with telling someone what you are collecting contributions for, but you can’t dictate how much they will contribute.

  • NostalgicGal October 5, 2016, 8:50 am

    My paternal family side has two (one is a blood aunt one is ‘aunt-in-law’) that love to spend everyone else’s money. I have posted here before about some of their antics, where they would overdo on some family event and expect my father to pay for it all. No matter how many times he said no, no matter how many times he sent invoices back made into confetti with return receipt via registered mail (“We’re going to have a big party. You bring the chips and plates and stop by MickyD’s for the orange drink cooler, I’ll bring the cups and napkins and stop by the day old bakery for some buns, and Dear Brother can bring 150# of ground angus beef and stand and grill them over the grill he can pay to rent…”). The one decade-event ‘all family’ and grandma and grandpa’s 5oth are the two icings on the cake. Plus when my dad passed one of them tried a few times to schedule up a big fat funeral (he wanted no funeral) so they could be the BIG BEREAVED MOURNER in the middle of it. I had to go several states away just to shut that one down. Some do not buy the clue about they can’t spend someone else’s money.

    You have every right to exercise NO and if B, C, and D want mom there, or more to the point, if A wants mom there, they should be the ones then to pay for her to go. Period.

    • Ernie October 5, 2016, 12:26 pm

      Your post made me think about that $200 amount. There are a lot of comments here assuming that the ticket is either $800 or $1000 (not sure if A is included in the amount). But that assumption is based on the ticket price being split evenly. There are absolutely some families, it sounds like yours is one of them NostalgicGal, where the person who is perceived to have the most is expected to foot the lions share of the bill. This plane ticket may well be $350, but the other siblings just assume that OP’s family can spring for the rest. It would be pretty entitled, but wouldn’t surprise me coming from someone who had the gall to tell someone what their share of a un-agreed to “gift” was.

      • NostalgicGal October 5, 2016, 4:17 pm

        The ones involved were the Wife of an Engineer, the Wife of a Farmer, the Widow (who was never asked as she had 8 kids to deal with and she did and told the rest to FOAD when they tried to swoop her kids and never participated in any of the grand messes) and my dad, the Working Class Man. The two W’s were the ones that liked to spend other’s money freely, WoaE is the one that tried to orchestrate a big funeral twice, including impersonating myself and my mother (the two next of kin). WoaF is the one that had to take the loss on all the tchlotskys and the non refundable band and caterer deposits when out of over a thousand attendees they got 13 that ‘bought the package'(it was demanded we pay for having the teeshirts, mugs, hats, Frisbees, keychains, etc done up, the front money). Both were responsible for the 50th anniversary fiasco where we were supposed to show up and do all the work plus provide the meat and cook…which only got grandmother sick and five days in the hospital (she wanted NONE of it). Those were the big ones of the many years. Last was WoaF expecting her brother the Engineer to sign for her to get a new car (she was over 80) and didn’t tell him that until they got there. He lied to the side to the salesman and said it was his MOTHER (she is looking really old and he doesn’t) and some sort of deal was cooked between the salesman and her, and she got the car without her brother signing anything.

        I do agree with what you said about the OP. Unless it is full fare walkup weekend price and first class, most airfare round trips run under $600. Not all, a good majority. If you are at or near a hub and going to another hub it’s hard to go over $400. Could be B, C, and D are kicking in say $100 each and want Bro to pay the rest of the ticket, just because.

  • Shalamar October 5, 2016, 9:16 am

    “He also didn’t appreciate being told instead of asked.”

    AMEN. This sums up my experiences with my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law in a nutshell. They’re very fond of saying “We’re doing (blah), and your role in it is going to be (yadda yadda).” They’re then puzzled and outraged if I say “Sorry, but that won’t be possible.”

  • PJ October 5, 2016, 9:23 am

    “It’s not as if this is SIL A’s first wedding. Or second. By the time a person is getting married for the 3rd time, any expectation that family must attend should be strangled and stomped into oblivion. ”

    I’m so glad Admin made this comment! I see a lot of the attitude that it is coldhearted to not drop everything and come running for a friend’s or relative’s 3rd (or more!) wedding. True, there are reasons to celebrate and be happy for your loved ones, especially if earlier marriages had tragic endings, but expecting people to give up vacation time and travel expenses over and over again is not even close to reasonable.

  • Dippy October 5, 2016, 9:28 am

    DH should just tell them he’ll chip in next time! 🙂

    • clairedelune October 5, 2016, 10:31 am

      Ha!! Indeed.

    • Lerah99 October 5, 2016, 10:33 am

      I snorted when I read this.
      I like the cut of your jib, Dippy. Thank you for the laugh.

    • Huh October 5, 2016, 11:01 am

      I’m on my second marriage and I LOL’d at this!

    • Meegs October 5, 2016, 12:02 pm


    • Dippy October 6, 2016, 8:50 am

      thank you! I’m here all week..please tip your waitress. 😉

      • SebbyGrrl October 6, 2016, 11:37 pm


        In 10 words you solved EVERYTHING! Kudos!

    • TakohamoOlsen2 October 7, 2016, 4:58 am


  • Miss Jagger October 5, 2016, 9:40 am

    OP your husband did nothing wrong! There is no etiquette blunder in managing one’s own money in a responsible way. Regardless of what marriage number this is for A, a wedding is the responsibility of the host, end of story. This is A’s issue with her parents/budget/fiance, not your DH.

  • Dessa October 5, 2016, 9:43 am

    It wasn’t a wedding in my case, but Christmas. My three kids were young, my husband and I both worked hard, but it was the very early 90s, minimum wage was $3something, and we only made $700 a month between us. We had food stamps for food, as all of our money went to paying bills. My sister came over and told us that we needed to give her $70 for our share of my mother’s Christmas present. 70 times 4 adult kids is $280, just for one gift. We didn’t even spend 70 on all three of our kids combined. I told Sis no, that we could not afford it. Sis went straight to Mom, and my husband and I were thoroughly vilified for being so greedy, selfish, and stingy.

    If A wants Mom at the wedding, A can pay for it herself. She’ll find it much easier to get her way when she pays for it herself.

    • clairedelune October 5, 2016, 10:33 am

      This breaks my heart! If anything, I feel like your family should have been banding together to give YOU $280 for your kids’ Christmas!

      • Mafdet October 5, 2016, 1:41 pm

        @ clairedelune: This.
        It wasn’t Dessa who was “greedy, selfish, and stingy”, but her siblings and her Mom.

    • BellyJean October 5, 2016, 11:45 am

      I’m so sorry about your family. Your sister seems awful, and your mother seems greedy beyond belief. My gosh – I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much money for 1 gift on anyone in my life. (and it’s 2016!)

    • NostalgicGal October 5, 2016, 4:21 pm

      Dessa you did nothing wrong. If mom didn’t like the plate of homemade cookies that her grandkids helped make and decorate (which is what I would’ve gifted under those circumstances) then she’s the unreformed Scrooge with a heart two sizes too small.

  • Mojo October 5, 2016, 10:22 am

    No breach of etiquette, your DH did the right thing.

  • Mags October 5, 2016, 10:32 am

    Someone told me that their SIL would ALWAYS offer to be in charge any time the family was all going in on a gift because she would collect the money and then take a fee for her troubles before spending the remainder on the gift.

    • NostalgicGal October 5, 2016, 4:22 pm

      Taking a fee. Oh my. That rates open the ehell oven door and shove.

    • ant October 6, 2016, 5:34 am

      I have a BIL who similarly is never left in charge of organising anything. He doesn’t extort a fee in advance but he will always search for a better deal, cheap out and never refund any change. If asked he would say ” I was smart with the money so I’m keeping the change”. We stopped his planning when the gift for MIL &FIL (a weekend away trip) went from a boutique hotel in a top location to a decrepit cottage a taxi ride from anywhere. His excuse was that it looked nicer on the pictures (it really didn’t)

  • JD October 5, 2016, 10:40 am

    I agree with Admin wholeheartedly! I’m sorry that OP’s in-laws now are angry, but her husband and OP are not to blame. I wonder how the siblings would have felt if OP’s husband had called them and demanded money for a ticket for mom? And I agree that expecting family to go a long distance for a third wedding is expecting a lot. My parents didn’t drive 700 miles each way to attend my second wedding, and I absolutely didn’t expect them to.
    My boss’ brother has been married four times (and all ended in divorce, mainly because the brother is an arrogant you-know-what who is all about himself. I know my boss’ whole family fairly well). The fourth wedding was scheduled on the very day of an intense instate rivalry college football game that my boss never misses. My boss refused to travel for two hours each way to yet another wedding which, since it was also the bride’s second wedding, was a very casual, laid-back affair in a backyard, making him miss the biggest game of the year. He was absolutely hounded by his mother and brother until he finally gave in and attended. He told his brother to his face that he would not attend a fifth wedding. The brother is divorced and single again, and this time, looks like he may stay that way, so maybe the situation won’t arise.

    • stacey October 5, 2016, 4:23 pm

      His mistake was in reversing his decision (9r even explaining his decision).

  • Lerah99 October 5, 2016, 11:07 am

    It’s a 3rd wedding.

    I’m so tired of big elaborate weddings for 2nd, 3rd, 4th marriages.
    Just like I’m so tired of big elaborate baby showers for 2nd, 3rd, 4th kids.

    By your 3rd wedding, you are no longer a young couple starting off on your own and setting up house as an adult for the first time.

    I shouldn’t have to shell out for an engagement gift, bachelorette party, wedding shower gift, bridesmaid dress, and a wedding gift AGAIN.

    By your 3rd wedding, I assume you have a blender, toaster, plates, silverware, wine glasses, tea towels, etc… And I assume you can pay for your own vacation / honeymoon. And that if you can’t afford these things, you’re enough of an adult not to stomp your feet and demand your friends and family provide them for you.

    I feel the same way about couples who have lived together for a decade, have several children together, and then decide they just HAVE to have a giant white wedding with all the bells and whistles and the entire community should jump in financially to make that happen for them.

    Now if you want to and can afford to throw yourself a big party without any expectation of expensive gifts from me – Great, more power to you. Have the biggest wedding shindig of all time.

    The problem is, people seem to feel they are OWED the biggest wedding shindig of all time for every marriage regardless of their financial circumstances. And when people refuse to cater to this desire by volunteering massive amounts of time and money, those people are vilified as being “mean” and “selfish”.

    • NostalgicGal October 5, 2016, 4:24 pm

      Averaging the year, on any one day, Seven Thousand couples get married. It may be YOUR ‘big day’ but you’re not unique. The world won’t stop revolving just because you’re getting married…

    • stacey October 5, 2016, 4:28 pm

      I don’t care if the event is a first or fiftieth (wedding, shower, anniversary). To me, the parents or HC can have events that are as big and as elaborate as they would like. Guests can opt to participate or not, purely at their own discretion. Honestly, I don’t think anyone is “owed” an event. It’s all about what you wish to pay for and how much enthusiasm your prospective guests have to participate.

    • Ernie October 5, 2016, 5:17 pm

      I’m so with you on this. I’m getting married this upcoming spring. It is both of our first marriages, but we are in our late 30’s, and we own a house together. We both lived separately in our own places for over a decade before that. We’re doing the whole thing at a local park, and we’re paying for it ourselves. I think at some point people need to realize that they aren’t a couple of kids getting married and preparing to make a go of it in the world.

      • LonelyHound October 7, 2016, 1:11 pm

        My DH and I did something similar to what you are going to do. We already had a house. We already had lived on our own and therefore needed nothing. We planned for a time of year that was “off” on a day that is considered “off” so got great deals on the venue and cake. We sprang for one extra which was a wedding coordinator. We felt when your guest feel like they can contribute at will how they want they have a better time. A friend, who traveled from Maryland, told me she did not get me a gift, and I told her that when the rain and snow turned my outdoor wedding to an indoor wedding she helped decorate. That was a HUGE gift!!

    • mark October 5, 2016, 5:26 pm

      Honestly I think the same thing about 1st weddings as well. Way too expensive, way too much drama.

      • Huh October 6, 2016, 7:45 am

        And with the rate of divorce, a lot of time and expense to celebrate something that doesn’t last long.

      • Kim October 6, 2016, 2:12 pm

        Agreed. WAY too much fanfare.

      • NostalgicGal October 7, 2016, 6:37 pm

        I can legally perform marriages. In this county, there is no residency and no waiting. If the clerk will issue the license, the deed may be done. To perform a legal marriage it takes an officiant, the HC, and two witnesses of legal age. The ceremony at the most minimal, is I must ask each person, and saying “You?” is sufficient. They must reply “Yes.” Net four words. I must then say “Done.” Five net words. Five signatures on the license and I turn that in at the courthouse and within a week or so they get their notarized certificate in the mail. Anything else, is extra. Most people don’t realize that is how simply basic getting married is. Some places you do not even need a JP or member of clergy, all you need is someone willing to officiate, that the rest of the group agrees on.
        If you stand before me with what I listed and what is said that I outlined is said, and the certificate turned in; you are just as married as if you had 15 attendants on each side and two thousand attendees, and Beyoncé for the entertainment at the catered dinner and reception in Maui. If I do marriage counseling I will point this out to the HC, so that when they plan hopefully they keep it within reality. Marriage is special, it should be forever, but it doesn’t always go that way.

    • LadyV October 6, 2016, 8:07 am

      My major complaint with weddings recently has been the attitude shown by so many brides that the value of any gifts should be at least equal to the “cost of the plate” at the reception. Tacky, tacky, tacky. The bride and groom (or their families) are HOSTING the event – which means THEY are responsible for the costs. Would you have an elaborate dinner party and tell your guests, “It cost me $20 for each meal, so I expect a hostess gift that’s at least that much”?

      • NostalgicGal October 6, 2016, 3:14 pm

        Few years back for DH’s birthday I set up a cater supper from the bbq place that did also smoke meat. And invited some of our friends. I ordered an entire prime rib (took the leftovers home) piece, so everyone got prime rib, baked potato, broccoli, and stuffed mushroom caps with bacon, and chocolate cream pie (all DH’s favorites). A few gifts and cards, and a nice time was had. At the end one couple’s fellow, tried to palm hand me a $50 for their share. I looked at what was in his hand and shook my head no slightly. He gave me the best intimidation look he had, and I leveled my best one back. He flinched. I had meant for everyone to come eat and instead of cooking had someone else do it. In his turn Friend had to make the offer and his wife later said that was the FIRST time someone had made him back away that she’d seen…. heh. Short of it: if you hold the party you should NEVER expect to ‘recoup the cost’ Ever. Wedding and reception included.

    • Jessie October 7, 2016, 11:24 am

      I had a really really cheap wedding the first time. My mum did a lot of the work for which I am ever grateful, the wedding lasted 8 years and was mostly bliss but ended so bitterly and traumatically I doubt I will ever be able to find the courage to get married again, I am only 30 so I may do. If I do it will be the last time I ever get married (if the next one ends I am out for good) so I will go all out this time even though it is my second marriage, it will be my first real ‘wedding’ I dont care about gifts or a fancy reception, I just want the nice church and the elaborate dress lol

      • NostalgicGal October 7, 2016, 6:40 pm

        You may certainly have the wedding you want and can afford. Whether it is your first or your sixth. Just that after the first, it usually isn’t so elaborate. However, hold what you want. And I wish you much luck, however your life turns out.

  • Becca October 5, 2016, 11:26 am

    I honestly don’t care if this was her first wedding or twentieth. Nobody gets to demand money from you.

    They never learned how to ask nicely and take no as an answer, that’s a real shame…I’m glad that your husband isn’t one to cave to that kind of rude obnoxious behavior.

  • NoviceGardener October 5, 2016, 11:51 am

    I applaud your DH, who seems to have handled the situation perfectly. If I were you I’d just leave all the complainers and drama llamas to argue among themselves, while you and your immediate family get on with your lives. They’ll get over it…or not. Either way you and your husband have done nothing wrong.

  • Eliza October 5, 2016, 11:55 am

    Several of my nieces flew out recently for my nephew’s wedding in Kansas. They all made the effort to find cheap tickets, and all ended up paying around $300 round trip. In some cases this involved taking extremely early or late flights or driving to a city that was a bigger airline hub. Maybe mom’s health won’t allow her to drive or get up early or stay up late. But for gosh sake at least make the effort!

  • helen-louise October 5, 2016, 12:27 pm

    We didn’t even get invited to my sister-in-law’s third wedding. She called her brother/my husband and asked if he/we really wanted to take a day off work to go, given that it would be 5 minutes in a registry office. He said “Not really, but we’ll send you a card”, she said “That’s what I thought, we’ll send you a photo”, and that was it. They invited the two sets of parents and some local friends, and kept it small.

    I’m wondering whether the plane ticket for your mother-in-law is $800 (B+C+D+DH) or $1000 (all 5 siblings). Regardless, that’s a huge amount of money given that my best friend is flying from the US to London to be with my family for Christmas. He booked the tickets two days ago and they’re costing US $469! Of course, that’s a 3 hour drive from where he lives to the nearest hub airport, followed by an antisocial time flight on a budget airline, but that’s what you do when money is tight. I just can’t fathom calling a sibling and demanding that they produce $200, but moreover I can’t get my head around the price of the tickets, given that transatlantic isn’t even that much. Are the siblings also planning to pay for Mom’s hotel, or giving her spending money? Or is the flight so expensive because they’ve delayed booking it for so long and all the cheap seats have been sold?

    Nonetheless, you and your husband don’t have to give anything. You weren’t consulted in advance, or even asked if you would donate – it was demanded of you. That makes the request itself rude, and therefore something that could be ignored.

    You could, if you wish, donate as much as you can comfortably afford, which might include time spent searching for a cheaper option. But that would be a gift freely given rather than a response to a demand.

  • helen-louise October 5, 2016, 12:40 pm

    After I hit send it occurred to me that the $800 or $1000 flight cost could be because the siblings are trying to get both parents to the wedding. Don’t bother. FIL is making it clear that HE, for whatever reason, doesn’t want to go. It could be genuinely about money. Or it could be a value judgement about it being A’s third wedding. None of us can guess from here, but your husband should know his dad’s mind.

    It’s MIL who wants to go, so any solution should be about getting her to the wedding to support her daughter. Unless she is disabled and requires her husband there as carer, don’t worry about him.

  • rindlrad October 5, 2016, 12:42 pm

    Admin is spot on. OP, there is no way you can engage your SILs on this and come out with any dignity. As mentioned in more than one comment, the correct word order is, “That will not be possible.” Repeat as often as necessary.

    I have SILs who also have been big dreams that they fund with other peoples’ money. From Christmas to birthdays, there they were with their hands in our pockets. We finally firmly and politely opted out. There was a little drama at first, but we’ve set the boundary that we prefer to take care of our own gift giving and they seem to be dealing with it.

  • Ashley October 5, 2016, 12:43 pm

    My thoughts on any situation like this, are that the only person who gets to decide how I spend my money is me.

    You don’t get to tell me “You’re contributing $200 to this”. You can ASK me if I’m willing to contribute an amount of my choosing and I will say yes or no depending on my finances. But if you TELL me I’m contributing $XX, then it’s an automatic no.

  • Markko October 5, 2016, 2:53 pm

    As for DH, “I” may be most wonderful word in the world, but “NO” is the word that has proved the most useful to me! On the cost of tickets, it is quite possible she is as big as I am and needs to pay for two seats.

  • technobabble October 5, 2016, 2:54 pm

    When I got married, I had a very good friend who was living in the UK (we are Canadian). It was important to me that he be able to attend my wedding, so I spoke with him and my (future) husband, and we offered to help pay for his flight in for the wedding because he was not going to be able to afford the flights all by himself. We gave him enough notice that he was able to save enough for the international flight into Canada and back, and we paid for the domestic leg of the journey (our bit was about $600). We worked it in to our wedding budget, and I would not even have thought to demand money from any of the other members of our friend group to help supplement this. I wanted him there, so we made it work.

    So my very good friend was able to fly in for our wedding from London (approximately 12 hours of travel time one way). For the weekend. I got married on a Saturday, and he was back in his flat by Tuesday morning.

  • Green123 October 5, 2016, 3:09 pm

    Where on Earth is this wedding if the plane ticket is $1000? That’s, what, £800???? Ouch!

    • Rebecca October 6, 2016, 6:30 pm

      I don’t know, I’m not the OP, but it can cost $1000 to go from one end of Canada to the other and back, so I’m not too shocked. It’s not like the UK where you can whip off to a foreign country for the weekend.

  • Karen L October 5, 2016, 3:16 pm

    Sounds like the men in this family have their polite spines well-polished: FIL refused to spend money they didn’t have; DH refused to spend money he didn’t have. I wonder why none of the sisters learned this?

  • stacey October 5, 2016, 4:08 pm

    Well, it takes all kinds… Some families have a lot of drams and take longer to resolve it. And you’re better off if they aren’t speaking to you, all things considered.

  • David October 5, 2016, 4:24 pm

    My brother once informed me that ‘we all (meaning my siblings) had all decided to buy my mother real expensive item’ for Mother’s Day and that my share was $175. I’d already bought my mother a Mother’s Day gift and none of them had bothered to call me even though they all had my phone number. I wasn’t included in the decision.

    It was nice to be included in the price but not in the family. I declined.

  • Cat October 5, 2016, 7:41 pm

    I hold to the belief that I get to spend my money. No one else gets to spend it.
    Anyone who calls me and demands that I fork over two-hundred dollars because someone else has decided that they should spend my money may get a very unladylike reply and a very firm no.

  • OP HERE October 5, 2016, 8:41 pm

    This is the OP; thank you, everyone for responding. The SsIL are really making a big stink about the whole situation and it’s starting to irritate DH (which really takes a lot to do, so you can imagine how his sisters are responding to this), so I wanted to make sure we were okay etiquette-wise.

    Also, here’s more backstory: SIL A wanted her parents there, wanted FIL to walk her down the aisle. FIL has no retirement fund and has to work 2 jobs just to pay the bills; he told SIL A there was no way he and MIL could attend an out-of-state wedding, and basically said, “Besides, it’s your 3rd wedding.” He’s always been blunt like that, and naturally, SIL A was hurt. But FIL was adamant that they couldn’t afford to attend and SIL never offered to pay for them.

    Knowing that MIL wanted to go, the rest of my SsIL came up with the plan for the siblings to pool their money; SIL A was onboard with it, but made sure to tell them that she couldn’t afford to chip in because of wedding costs. The $200 they demanded from DH would help cover the plane fare, hotel and transportation. DH would have loved to help out if they had asked first, and if we had the money of course, but that didn’t happen, so here we are.

    The wedding is in a few weeks and they won’t let it go; they’ll badmouth DH and FIL to anyone who will listen, and they’ve been calling me and leaving me messages, trying to get me to convince DH to give the money; I’ve not answered any of their calls or messages on FB. At this point, MIL is still not going because apparently they really need DH’s $200 to make it happen. *insert eye rolling* MIL has also taken to calling DH to cry about how she doesn’t want to miss the wedding and she’ll pay him back, but DH just tells her, “Sorry, it’s not possible at this time.” He feels bad to hang up on his mom and/or ignore her calls, but what else can he do?

    • Miriam October 6, 2016, 6:52 am

      Regarding your last line/question: what else he can do is give in, and teach them all they need to do is keep making a fuss until your husband is willing to drive *your* family into debt to gratify their desires….

      Please tell him not to do that!

      {{Hugs}} until the drama passes.

    • kgg October 6, 2016, 8:25 am

      Yikes, OP!

      I’m glad your husband is standing firm. I think that, for your sisters-in-law, they’re so stuck on him giving $200 that they’re not willing to try to scrounge up the money elsewhere, or maybe downgrade from a hotel to a motel, etc. If it matters that much to the bride that her mother be there, then she will forgo something in her wedding to come up with that extra $200. I feel bad for your MIL, but she has no right to cry to your husband for money. If her husband is working two jobs just to pay the bills, one would think she would realize that traveling to the wedding is not a vital necessity!

      • Ernie October 6, 2016, 12:07 pm

        Here’s why I always suspect that people are lying when they say “I’ll pay you back” over amounts like $200 when they ask more than once… Visa, Mastercard, and Amex are more than happy to loan almost anyone $200, they make it really easy in fact, but they won’t take “but we’re family” as a reason when you don’t pay them back. There’s always a reason the person asking for the “loan” isn’t going that route.

        To Kgg’s point, the fact that $200 is such a make or break amount in this makes it fishy to me that your Husband is actually being asked to pay an even share. When you (general) need to do something, you make it happen, even if that involves splitting a room, or flying standby, or whatever. And yes, from your last comment here, your MIL sounds like she’s being very dismissive of her own husband.

        • Anon October 6, 2016, 9:40 pm

          Have to agree. The $200 he would pay is definitely going towards something else other than what they are saying.

          Make sure your husband doesn’t give up OP! We’re all standing firm with him here! You, your husband, and your FIL aren’t the only ones who are disgusted by this! I mean seriously, they know you guys don’t have the money. Where are you supposed to get it exactly? A printer.

          You know what, you should photocopy 2 $100 bills and send it to them.

    • stacey October 6, 2016, 10:46 am

      I don’t think that the situation merits any more attention, do you? How immature and manipulative do you have to be in order to try to force someone’s hand? This goes well beyond the bsic boundarea of etiquette and straight into dysfunction. Stop feeding the drama. The whining will continue, as will the other behaviors. But you should not be in the habit of making financial decisions based on avoiding unpleasant reactions.

      • stacey October 6, 2016, 10:47 am

        Basic… boundaries…

    • doodlemor October 6, 2016, 1:37 pm

      If MIL wanted to go to the wedding so badly, she should have found a job and earned the money herself. They have known about this wedding since the beginning of June, if not earlier.

      It sounds like your DH’s family is full of entitled people, OP. How rude and nervy for them to keep pestering you and DH.

    • NostalgicGal October 6, 2016, 3:19 pm

      You’re in the right. Hold firm. They have no right to spend your money. Period. It’s too real about do it once (give in) and the floodgates will open. Not nice twist that MIL is now crying as well to the DH. A few more weeks, just hold firm. If nobody wants to speak to you after, it’s their problem not yours. Notice that the FIL is not going, and despite A wanting him there to walk her down the aisle, nobody is trying to send him, including A…

      Just hold firm, OP.

    • David October 6, 2016, 5:25 pm

      Good for your husband and you, OP.

      A phrase I have learned from EH reading is “When you make plans without me, you make plans without me”. I take it to mean if you don’t include me in the plan making so I can tell you what I am available to do, then you don’t get to expect me to show up when you schedule something while I am working or pony up money you didn’t let me offer or decide on the amount.”

      It’s actually helped me in a few situations now since I started reading.

  • Starstruck October 5, 2016, 10:13 pm

    I personally hate when people do big things for third and fourth weddings. If it’s your second, you can kinda understand . Especially if it happens to be the first for your partner . But the third? Come on . Elope and enjoy ur self without asking Ur family to attend a destination wedding, or furnish ur house via wedding presents, for the third time.

  • Esmerita October 5, 2016, 10:58 pm

    While I agree that the sisters’ demands were totally unreasonable, and that a third wedding probably shouldn’t command the same degree of hype as a the first, just remember it may be the groom’s first wedding.

    I am wholeheartedly on the OP’s side, but…

    I’m sure I would have many concerns if my (hypothetical) son or daughter was to marry a person who was on their third trip to the alter, but I would be annoyed if that took away from their special day!

  • chipmunky October 6, 2016, 7:45 am

    I am seriously questioning the $200 for a 1/4 of a ticket here…unless by “in a different state” OP means one across the country or in a different country entirely. For a bit of perspective on ticket pricing…

    DH has a cousin (on the paternal side) getting married next summer in State where DH was born and has a lot of extended family on both sides. We do not yet have the invitation in hand, but we were planning on going up at that time anyways to introduce our LO to her great grandparents and visit other relatives in the area. If we’re invited, great. If not, no big deal, we’ve got a ton of other relatives on the maternal side to see.

    I’m starting to look at flight prices and what will work best for us while wrangling a 1 year old on her first plane trip (ie, length of flights, departure times, layover length, etc). For ALL 3 OF US, with her having her own seat, we’re looking at between $775 and $1200, roundtrip for an event next June.

    Aside from the possibility that OP’s DH would be footing most if not all of the bill for the ticket, and the possibility of the location being across an ocean, the only other ways I can see the $200 being a reasonable amount: 1) They want MIL in First Class with concierge service from airport to airport, without mentioning this upgrade to OP’s DH, 2) this price is also to include any of the following- hotel/accommodations for MIL, outfit for MIL to wear to wedding, rental car for MIL, special treatment for MIL (ie, hair and nail appointment), 3) SILs intend to just pocket the money as “owed” to them by DH because he and OP are not attending this shindig.

    • Anon October 6, 2016, 9:41 pm

      I think option #3 is the winner.

  • Just4Kicks October 6, 2016, 9:15 am

    Yes….been there, done that….it stinks.
    My only sibling, whom I no longer speak with, tried to pull that on me about ten years ago for a Christmas present for our parents.
    My sister had started her own clothing line, and was having a fashion show the following spring.
    She calls me in the beginning of December and DEMANDS half the cost of round trip tickets to her show for “our present” to our folks.
    “Why the hell not?!?”
    Because my husband’s business is very slow and we are both losing sleep over buying presents for our children THAT’S why the hell not!
    “Well….you HAVE to get mom and dad SOMETHING”!!!
    Mom and dad and I have already had this discussion, thank you very much.
    They know we are struggling at the moment, and already know that when my husband gets his commission check in January, we are buying them something.
    “A Christmas present in January?!? Jesus….you two are so selfish!!!”
    Turns out she sent the tickets and my folks were appreciative, but privately told me while they were happy to go and visit, they REALLY did not want to go to her fashion show.
    I may have let that one slip the next time she called to bitch me out for not sending an expensive enough birthday gift to her son. “What the HELL am I going to get him with $25.00?!?”
    An etiquette book perhaps…..

    • NostalgicGal October 6, 2016, 3:25 pm

      I would have sent a nonreturnable gift, not cash, not a gift card.

      We are used to ‘whenever holidays’ between scheduling, illness, someone in the service, etc. We try but sometimes it happens sooner or later. (one year spouse showed up home on the 21st of December after half a day, his work was on break until after New Year’s (so many would be out it just didn’t pay to even try to run the place) and it was up to him when ‘Christmas’ was. He decided to open his gifts then, and thus could use and enjoy them for the entire time he was off. It worked for me…. )

      • Just4Kicks October 7, 2016, 12:33 am

        I had sent a gift card to a video game store, the same one my kids go to.
        There are plenty of things he could’ve bought for $25.00.
        Of course, no thank you note or even “get on the phone and thank your Aunt and Uncle.”

        • NostalgicGal October 7, 2016, 2:40 pm

          Figs. Next time send a ‘donation made to XXXXX in your name’

          There’s one here in the archives where uncle was hounded to give like 250 pounds (when pound was worth over 1.5 USD) to each of his three (one nephew and two nieces) sister’s kids. He couldn’t afford that but went to a toy store and got them a redeemable token for 100 each and three stuffed animals. He put the token in the box with the stuffie. Sis had told the kids he was giving cash!!!!! so when the boxes contained the toys, the two younger (boy and girl) grabbed them and went off happy and didn’t see their tokens. The oldest girl threw the toy across the room and left. He called them back, retrieved the tokens and gave the younger two theirs, the older stood in the doorway and watched this, then. He said to the older one since you didn’t want your toy, you don’t want the token, and pocketed it. I guess the meltdown fit was epic. He took it back to store, got it broke into two 50’s and later gave the younger two the additional tokens. Oldest girl learned a lesson….

    • Becca October 6, 2016, 5:12 pm

      If I ever wake up one day and $25 is suddenly “not enough” for anything, someone can go ahead and smother me with a pillow. I’m going to go ahead and text this to my BF right now so he’s on the same page >_<

      I feel bad for her kid, I hope he got far far away from that woman that calls herself a mother 🙁

    • mark October 6, 2016, 6:03 pm

      After reading this, I definitely understand why you are no longer on speaking terms.

  • Auntbee81 October 6, 2016, 2:48 pm

    Just4kicks, I think that would be the last “unacceptable” gift I would send to anyone in this family. If she can’t figure out what to do with $25, save her the trouble. I feel better about my own family after reading these replies.

    My parent lives in a large (4,000 sq. ft. home) in a resort community. When we visit, we stay in a motel, and usually take him and his SO out to dinner, and of course, pay for it, because SO “doesn’t want a lot of people” in the house. Does anyone ever offer to reciprocate?

    So, over the years, we have gradually scaled back the number of visits (and the time each visit lasts). This is how we cope. But someone else ordering me come up with even $5 during a phone call would be sorely disappointed. They might consider me cheap, but they are practicing “extortion” on their nearest and dearest.

    • Just4Kicks October 7, 2016, 12:38 am

      Just one of the MANY reasons we no longer speak.
      Once I had forgotten my sister’s b’day, she has lived in another state away from my folks and us for almost thirty years.
      When we went on vacation later that month, I stopped into the fudge shop and sent a fairly expensive box of assorted fudge and other candies.
      When she got the package she called the fudge shop to see what date I sent it, to make sure “it was still safe to eat”.
      No….you wanted proof I forgot your bday…..I did.

  • Rebecca October 6, 2016, 6:37 pm

    I’ve never been married and I’m 50. If by some strange turn of events I got married now, it would be a low-key affair to which would include a gathering of close friends and family, but I’d be skipping the whole “everyone has to buy my a place setting, and throw a shower, and deck a bunch of bridesmaids out in expensive dresses that they have to pay for” and nobody would expected to travel for the occasion. That is how it is when you’re a bit older. I already have all the household items I need, and a vacation is something I am responsible for paying for myself. Past a certain age I would think most people are over the “must have a big gala because this is the biggest event ever to happen to anybody” notion. By the third marriage, I would think people have reached that stage too, and just quietly marry with a handful of close friends present, and all go out for a nice dinner afterwards.

    • LadyV October 7, 2016, 8:13 am

      When my dad got married for the third time (it was also his wife’s third), that’s exactly what they did. Their (grown) children and grandchildren, and a few friends, attended, and we went to the couple’s favorite restaurant afterwards. And a great time was had by all!

  • TakohamoOlsen2 October 7, 2016, 4:59 am

    Considering OP and DH aren’t going to this wedding, why should they fork out for mother.
    THEN AGAIN……maybe OP and DH should, and tell SIL that $200 is their wedding present.

  • Lola October 7, 2016, 8:50 am

    This story reminds me of a time when my siblings had a similar idea. I am the oldest of six. Our parents’ 35th wedding anniversary was coming up. I got a phone call from one of them stating they had decided they wanted to give a gift of a trip to Quebec to them. They had figured out the cost would be about $600. So here is how they determined the split. Since I had the best job, I should contribute $300, half the cost and they would pick up the rest. They were surprised when I said, NO. The biggest reason for saying “no”, is that I was not part of the decision making process. Plus the fact they were all working and why should I bear 1/2 the cost. Needless to say, the gift did not happen.

    As many comment here, no one has the right to determine how another spends their own money.

    • NostalgicGal October 7, 2016, 2:44 pm

      Exactly this. They each kick in $60 and you should kick in $300? Mreeep. PLUS the fact you weren’t in on the planning.

  • GeenaG October 8, 2016, 8:58 am

    Very few things raise my hackles and makes me angry as do people telling me how I *must* spend my money and then trying to argue with me about it. Unless you put the food on my table, never tell me what I *have* to do!