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Should I buy a wedding gift?

My niece is having a destination wedding and she’s not paying for my side of the family to come. I don’t want to go, but do I need to buy a gift?

Our elder says it’s a resounding yes.

Dear EWC

My niece is getting married next year in St Lucia. She’s a successful girl with her own architecture business. My twin brother (her father) and her mother split up over 20 years ago when she was a child. She has decided to pay for all of her mother’s side of the family to attend the wedding. She’s also paying for her dad and step-mom to go as well. I’ve been asked to attend, as well as my two brothers. However, we have to pay for ourselves as she says that we can afford to pay our own way. I can afford it, but my middle brother doesn’t have that kind of cash (£4,000 per couple). I’ve declined to attend as I feel that a) I don’t want to spend 4K on attending a wedding as I have no great desire to spend a week with her mother’s side of the family, and b) I feel insulted that only one side of the family has been offered a free trip. My question is: Should I feel obliged to buy her a wedding gift? I don’t really want to fall out with my twin brother, but I feel his daughter is being naïve if she thinks that only paying for one side of the family won’t create issues.

Alexandra replies

Glad you wrote to us. It does seem that destination weddings come with their own set of problems and I understand your feelings regarding your niece paying for only one side of the family.

Of course, I have no way of knowing the actual financial situation of the bride and groom, although it seems pretty good at least on her part, but maybe even having her own architecture business doesn’t stretch to more thousands of pounds. It does seem to me as if the bride may have grown up more with her mother than her birth father — that’s the usual way things turn out — so perhaps she knows her mom’s family much better and is much closer to them than she is to you and your other brothers. It does not excuse the way things have been done — it was certainly not at all diplomatic — but it may have been her rationale.

I believe you’re well within your rights to decline to attend — it does seem a lot of money to pay to go to a wedding, whether you can afford it or not, and especially considering the way you feel about the bride’s family. However, the answer to your question is a resounding yes. In my opinion, you should most definitely give her a wedding present. This is your twin brother’s child regardless of how you feel about her behavior. I don’t know if you have children, but put yourself in his shoes and think how you would feel if it was your child, and not only was he not attending the wedding, he didn’t even acknowledge the marriage with a gift. It would be a shame to allow this to cause a rift between you.

It’s up to you, of course, but you’ll save a lot by not attending the wedding, so if I were you, I’d take the high road and give the couple a handsome wedding gift.

Hope this helps, and please feel free to call on us again, any time.

Letter #: 446159
Category: Family

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