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View Full Version : Destination Weddings - Please help.



alittlegray
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:40 AM
So the youngest of my 5 brothers is getting married on Valentine's Day of 2014. They announced this a few months ago. YAY!! I love my little brother who has battled drug addiction and a bunch of other crap and came out the other side stronger and successful. I like his fiance, she is a sweet girl and will be a nice sister.

However.

They announced they are getting married in Jamaica. They are staying at and having the wedding at a Couples resort.

ARgh.

So, now if we want to go to the wedding we have to go to Jamaica. His bride comes from a very well-off family. Jetting off all the time wherever is something they do, and a destination wedding is not a big deal. WE are not well off, and none of the other brothers or my mom are well off in any way/shape/form. One of my other 4 brothers is single and has a great job, this won't kill his wallet. The rest of us are financially not able to afford to just head for Jamaica with no worries, mon.

To be fair, the bride knows this and her family is paying for my mom's plane and room and resort package. She still has to figure out how to pay for the passport she needs to go to Jamaica, and get it done. She doesn't even have the $$ to get a passport. She lives on disability, HUD and foodstamps with augmentation from the food bank and church charities. She's disabled due to a panic disorder. She is trying to decide which piece of furniture to sell (no kidding) to pay for the passport. And even though it is almost a year away, she's already having panic attacks about flying there.

The other 3 brothers and myself have no way of affording this. We've been saving a tiny pittance for over a year already just to afford a small trip somewhere or a party when DS graduates in June. I can't afford the money for passports for the four of us, let alone the whole thing with flights and hotel.

Plus, having been to jamaica once a couple years ago when times were better and having seen the island I have no desire to go back at all. When we were there, the beggars were very aggressive and we had to hire a guide to drive us around just to keep us out of the bad areas of the island. You really need to be on a resort for Jamaica to be worry-free.

The Couples resort charges a fee for us to come on the property and attend the wedding, and the under-21's cannot stay for the reception or even attend the rehearsal/dinner the night before. They can come on the resort for the length of time of the ceremony. Even if we can eek out plane fare, there is NO way we can afford to stay at that resort ourselves.

If it was just US, I'd not have such a problem with this whole thing. I'd just apologize to brother for missing his big day and send a nice gift. But I know that to go to this wedding is putting a financial hurt on the majority of my siblings. Two of the brothers are married with young kids who also would only be allowed to attend the ceremony but not reception, and of course those brothers could not stay at this couples resort either. Having very young kids, they also don't have folks to just leave their little ones with for a week either.

My littlest brother is a sweet guy. It's nice he landed a girl who comes from a nicer family, and in every way they are really nice people who have been friendly and kind to our family. It's great they are picking up the cost for my mom for the majority of the trip. I know when fiance said "hey, I want to get married in Jamaica," my brother never said a word about the fact that it really is OUT of reach for several of his siblings to make it to a wedding in Jamaica.

To be fair, some of the other siblings "encouraged" them to consider other places that don't require everyone to have a passport, or to NOT have a destination wedding at all. Of course no one has flat out said hey, you suck and we aren't coming. None of us want to hurt feelings like that and of course it is THEIR wedding so they have the right to get married wherever and whenever they want. I just think that she is a little clueless having never had money be an issue in her lifetime, and he is not thinking about how many of us may not be able to come. The reality is I will be telling them we can't come, but I know that my brothers are tight and they will take out loans or whatever other financial position they have to get in to go to this wedding. I think the bride probably just thinks that the guys will figure out how to make it, and my brother the groom isn't thinking beyond the wedding night and keeping wife-to-be happy.

As a group, how would you approach this with your family? I am already seeing strain eek out in conversations about attending this wedding from all sides of our family. Am I a bad person if I am the one who *tactfully* reminds my brother that his other brothers and I are basically poor, and that this is straining budgets and relationships? Or just keep my big mouth shut?
Please give me advice. If you have no advice, your own stories of pickles like this in your family would make me feel better. :)

SaturdayNightLive
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:44 AM
They have the right to have the wedding they want, and you have the right to politely decline if it is beyond your means to attend.

That's the trade off of destination weddings - not everyone can afford to attend. Surely your brother will understand if you explain it to him. He can't really expect you (or the rest of your family) to beggar themselves for his wedding.

Maybe offer to host a potluck get together celebration thingy when they get back instead?

alittlegray
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:55 AM
They have the right to have the wedding they want, and you have the right to politely decline if it is beyond your means to attend.

That's the trade off of destination weddings - not everyone can afford to attend. Surely your brother will understand if you explain it to him. He can't really expect you (or the rest of your family) to beggar themselves for his wedding.

Maybe offer to host a potluck get together celebration thingy when they get back instead?

Yes, you are 100% correct.

We are comfortable personally saying we cannot go. But what I guess is the problem is that the rest of the guys will feel like they have to be there, and will put themselves in bad financial positions in order to be there. The resentment is already being felt a little as the kids aren't welcome but the parents don't want to fly away without them, and if they do leave their kids behind do they fly back ASAP and essentially "waste" the airfare from Seattle to Jamaica? And my littlest brother really does expect at least the other brothers to be there and will be hurt if they don't go. I'm sure he's probably aware with my situation that I might not come, but he's probably planning on the other sibs figuring out how to show up.

Long Spot
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:16 AM
Your other siblings are adults? If so, they need to tell your bother why they wont be attending. I like the idea of asking if it's possible to create a second reception of sorts when they return for the family to gather and celebrate in a location they can afford and is niece/nephew friendly.

Chief2
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:28 AM
I agree with SNL. Two of my relatives did this. One got married in California, the other in Hawaii. The parents of the California couple flew out for the ceremony. A reception was held back east a few months later. The Hawaiian wedding only involved the bride and the groom. No one else was invited. No reception was held once they returned, either, despite an offer from the bride's parents to hold one.

Let them get married in Jamaica, and offer have a reception for them after they have returned home. It makes no sense for anyone to put themselves in the position of going financially overboard over someone else's plans. JMO.

lilitiger2
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:36 AM
We were married in AZ where a lot of my family was, then came back up to Montana and had a "northern" Native celebration! Actually it was a lot of fun. i would not beggar myself to get there and seattle to jamaica is a long way. but maybe the sibs who couldn't get there could get to be in another celebration!

soloudinhere
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:46 AM
We're having a destination wedding solely so that our families WON'T come and we won't have to deal with the drama.

I don't think it's a good way to spend your time worrying about what other people will do. It's up to them whether they choose to put themselves in a bad position, either with this, or with buying a new car, or with eating out 6 nights a week.

Kelly in NJ
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:40 AM
Can just the brothers and you go, and leave spouses and kids behind for 2-3 days? You might be able to get cheap airfare and split one hotel room four ways for 2-3 nights? That would greatly reduce costs, all immediate family members could be there, and it would also eliminate the no kids at the reception problem.

canadianbacon
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:07 AM
I would respectfully decline and then suggest a local reception for the family members that can't travel to Jamaica. We did something like that although kind of in reverse, we did the city hall thing to make it legal for immigration and then had a vow-renewal with the fancy dress and parents a few weeks later. You could even pitch it as a whole second wedding if they wanted to get dressed up again and do pictures with your side of the family.

ReSomething
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:21 AM
Your brothers can take care of themselves, I understand they might be feeling a little put upon at this time but they can say "no" on their own or not.

It's up to your brothers to make the decision to go or stay and abide by it. Without complaining behind the bride and grooms backs. You all as a group might consider chipping in for mom's passport if you all stay home.

I don't like that your brother is letting his new bride be so blind as to the finances of his side of the family - I don't see this going well over time.

SPF10
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:23 AM
Haven't read all posts so this may have already been mentioned. While it is up to them to have the kind of wedding they prefer it is unrealistic of any couple to expect a large turnout at their wedding. Those kind of things can be a great financial burden as you have indicated. Good on the new inlaws for footing the bill for Mom, and your single brother that can afford it can make arrangments to go with mom so she isn't so afraid, maybe all of you can pitch in a little to get the passport for mom if I recall they are around $100ish? As for you and your other siblings, why can't they set up a live feed or use skype, you obviously have a computer and you can virtually be there, and then have a party when they come home for those of you that couldn't afford to attend. You just need to be very upfront with brother and fiance that this is something that you can't afford to do at this time.

Riverotter
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:44 PM
Now, my point of view comes from a loud, bold, outspoken family - we love each other and we TALK to each other. We like each other, so that makes it easy.

So in my family, something like this would happen;
Little Bro and Sis-to-be, would be invited over for something (my family just hangs with each other any time we get the chance, in your family, you may do dinner invites) And when the wedding got brought up, I'd say;
"Hey Bro, Jamaican weddings are cool and all, but I'm pretty sure I won't be able to go, because <kids, expenses, non-family friendly venue, blah>. Big Bro and Other Bro might have problems with it too, for the same reasons. Now, yeah, it's YOUR wedding and I want you to be happy, but I'm your family and I'd like to be involved. So do you want me to throw you guys a backyard reception when you get back, or what do you want to do?"
"Oh, and she's not going to say anything, but Mom's getting antsy about it, so maybe you can talk to her. Since I can't come, I'm going to chip in some money for her passport so it doesn't stress her out so much."

And then I'd see what he wanted to do, now that he KNEW that this was a problem and why and that I loved him. Because he is probably just floating around on a big fluffy cloud of dream-come-true, blissfully oblivious to all this, while you guys are starting to stew in resentment.

Funnily enough, I just had something similar happen. My baby sister - and we are pretty tight - got married last week. 1100 miles away. And, she's having twins in Oct (yay!!) And I had to say "Sis, I love you and I'm SOOO happy for you!! But I can only leave the farm for one or the other, I can't afford both."
And she said "Then I want you here when the babies come!"
And so it shall be! :D We talked more, and instead of wedding presents - they already have a house and all - they're getting all baby gifts from me.

It was no big deal, no building resentment - just TALK to each other! You're family!

Mukluk
Apr. 1, 2013, 02:29 AM
Folks I have known who have had destination weddings usually have some sort of local reception so those who couldn't make it to the wedding can have a formal opportunity to celebrate. Hope it all works out for everyone.

Kestrel
Apr. 1, 2013, 03:04 AM
Having been in sort of similar situations (not a wedding, but other occasions) I felt that it was important to keep celebrations accessible to the whole family - meaning both sides. While it is their wedding, it really is tacky to plan something that is likely to exclude most of one family. If they were to get married with neither family there, that would be one thing, but the way they have it planned it just points out the economic differences between the sides and either consciously or not, is likely to cause resentment in the future. The whole point should be about the joining of two into one, not setting one family above the other.

headsupheelsdown
Apr. 1, 2013, 08:56 AM
I love Kelly's suggestion in post #8, if finances allow.

I just think it is really thoughtless for the young couple to do this (given the family circumstances which they must know of), but it is really their choice. I sincerely hope that they have not one word to say in regards to the folks that cannot/ choose not to attend. I also am amazed that they expect people to come all that way and then not allow the children to attend the reception.

I totally also agree with the idea of holding them a nice pot luck when they get back, and the idea of sending your Mom and your single brother to attend.

My best friend from high school entered the military and got married and had her first child in Germany. I was a wicked poor college kid and I always felt really bad I couldn't attend, IIRC only her Mom went. One of my husband's cousins got married in Texas and as a just starting out young couple in the early 90's, even though we both had great jobs, we had just bought our first house and the $1300 total it costed to fly there, rent tux, have a hotel, feed ourselves, rent car, buy gift, pet sitter at home..... etc, etc was really really a strain (note it was an issue as I apparently still remember the cost?!). That situation was a bit different as the bride was from Texas, though. They did hold a grudge for years against the family members that did not attend, which I thought was wrong, JMHO.

oliverreed
Apr. 1, 2013, 09:14 AM
I just hate this. The brothers who can't afford to go are "expected" to go?!?!? I agree, it does not bode well for the future that Miss Bride is taking this stance. Sounds fairly clueless. I'd speak up.

PeteyPie
Apr. 2, 2013, 07:36 AM
A good friend of mine just suffered through a destination wedding when her son married. My friend was so upset about the whole thing because so many of her family were excluded. She herself was, is, on a small fixed income and it was a tremendous hardship for her to pay for that trip. Only she and her mother, the groom's grandmother, attended from that side of the family. The bride's family were all hosted by the bride's father, so money wasn't an issue for them.

The thing is, my friend pointed out that it wasn't just about money. Some of her son's cousins, who were close to him, had families and just couldn't spare the time away with two people working and limited vacation time each year. I mean, if you had two weeks a year would you and your spouse spend half of that on a cousin's wedding? How about the wedding of a friend? And leave the kids home, because the resort really caters to adults more than families?

Maybe that's the point. The bride and groom know full well if they have half a brain between them that many friends and family will not be able to attend. I had never given this topic much thought, but I can see her point: Destination weddings are about exclusion.

PeteyPie
Apr. 2, 2013, 07:50 AM
Forgot to add: as other posters have suggested, my friend hosted a reception for her son and daughter-in-law after the wedding, so that friends of the bride and groom and the groom's family could attend.

Also, my friend did tell her son what she thought, and how his family would be unable to attend but it didn't make any difference. Oh, and it also impacted her family more, because the bride's family lived on the East Coast and the destination wedding was some island accessible by air through Florida. The bride, the groom, and the groom's family all lived on the West Coast, so it was farther, took more time, and was more expensive for them.

Who was it who said something like, "A wedding is an opportunity to make enemies for the rest of your life," or some such thing?

GucciJumper
Apr. 2, 2013, 09:35 AM
I personally friend destination weddings selfish. Yes the wedding is THEIR wedding, but it doesn't mean you can't think about your guests. Did I have my absolute dream wedding? No, but more family and friends could come because of the venue I chose. You should think about family. Maybe your brother will realize how selfish this is when several of his key family isn't there to enjoy this day with him. I enjoyed spending time and celebrating with my family. If I didn't want that as part of my day than you should just elope and have no one there.

SillyHorse
Apr. 2, 2013, 09:52 AM
I agree with ^ . IMHO unless your family and friends are all wealthy with lots of time on their hands, a destination wedding is just pretending you want people at your wedding when you know full well most won't be able to come.

carolprudm
Apr. 2, 2013, 10:38 AM
My daughter had a destination wedding in self defense. She now regrets it.

While she and her soon to be husband were paying for it MIL had many demands, what was to be served who ALL to invite etc. Even with our help they simply couldn't afford it. So they had 3 ceremonies, one that MIL hosted and paid for, (we were not invited)one at the town hall to make it legal and one in St Lucia which we ended up paying for which they did not attend. We offered to pay their way and they declined. We have never met them, it's been about 7 years.

ETA:I think weddings are meant to join two families. It didn't work in this case

NBChoice
Apr. 2, 2013, 10:45 AM
OP, I think that your siblings are old enough to make their own decision and to tell the bride and groom what they decide. It is not really your problem if they decide to go and cannot really afford it. Yes, it sucks... but they should be able to decide for themselves.

Like someone else said, it is okay for the bride/groom to have their wedding the way they want it, and it is okay for you(and your siblings) to politely decline due to funds. That is the risk that bride/groom take when they plan a destination wedding.

PiaffePlease
Apr. 2, 2013, 10:58 AM
Your brother knew you and your family could not afford to attend the wedding when they planned it. It might not have been his choice to have a destination wedding but surely he knew the whole family couldnt attend. Thats what happens when you have a destination wedding. Lots of people wont be able to attend.

I was a bridesmaid in a destination wedding in Hawaii a few years ago and it cost my husband and I a huge chunk of money. I wont attend another one. It wasnt worth it. The brides family was well off and everyone in her family made the trip. The grooms family was from Hawaii, so they all made it. It worked or them but a lot of the guests had a tough time paying for it.

Dont feel bad for not going. Its not worth eating ramen or months especially since you wont even enjoy the trip. Have a "reception" in town (assuming you all live kinda close) for them when they get back. Ive been to gatherings like that when the wedding was really far away. It was really nice.

rustbreeches
Apr. 2, 2013, 11:05 AM
We have never met them, it's been about 7 years.

Dh and I have been married for 4 1/2 years, I've been in CO for 6. His parents have never met my dad. They couldn't/wouldn't come to VA for the wedding. We offered to pay for clothes, airfare, hotel etc. I had arranged a dinner here when Dad was visiting, but when they called at 7:15 to cancel for a 7:00 dinner, I realized there was no point.

I wanted to do the wedding in Banff, so everyone would have to travel, but DH pointed out that while all my family had passports, none of his did. So we did it in VA, where I am from.

Hopefully the groom in this case will agree to a stateside reception so that his family gets to participate in wedding festivities. I think one of the theories behind destination weddings is you can generally keep them small, and avoid the drama of second cousins not getting invited and what to do if you REALLY don't want kids there. I'm sorry the OP finds her family in this tough position, but I don't think that the family that can't go should stress about it. If you don't have the money/time then you don't. If the siblings were "expected" to attend, then the groom should have made a stand about where the wedding was going to be

JanM
Apr. 2, 2013, 12:17 PM
I wouldn't even try to go. They knew (or at least he did) that you couldn't afford it, and with your mother's anxiety issues I wonder if it will be miserable for her also. If nothing else, little bro can pay for the passport for his mother. I wouldn't go into debt for this, but that is the choice of the other brothers. I personally think that many people plan a destination wedding to avoid a lot of the hoopla, and if they wanted everyone to come would have planned somewhere more accessible. Can your mother actually stand the air flight? I would hate to have her get on the plane, and then be miserable the entire way, especially with the return flight to worry about.

I think they need to have a reception somewhere that the family can all get to, and that way no one will need a passport, airfare, or have to leave their kids alone while they go to the wedding and reception.

alittlegray
Apr. 2, 2013, 02:34 PM
Having been in sort of similar situations (not a wedding, but other occasions) I felt that it was important to keep celebrations accessible to the whole family - meaning both sides. While it is their wedding, it really is tacky to plan something that is likely to exclude most of one family. If they were to get married with neither family there, that would be one thing, but the way they have it planned it just points out the economic differences between the sides and either consciously or not, is likely to cause resentment in the future. The whole point should be about the joining of two into one, not setting one family above the other.

This is an excellent post, thank you. I think this really covers how I feel.


I just hate this. The brothers who can't afford to go are "expected" to go?!?!? I agree, it does not bode well for the future that Miss Bride is taking this stance. Sounds fairly clueless. I'd speak up.

She is coming off as clueless. I have already begun making my feelings known about our inability to attend, but the others haven't said a word yet.



The thing is, my friend pointed out that it wasn't just about money. Some of her son's cousins, who were close to him, had families and just couldn't spare the time away with two people working and limited vacation time each year. I mean, if you had two weeks a year would you and your spouse spend half of that on a cousin's wedding? How about the wedding of a friend? And leave the kids home, because the resort really caters to adults more than families?

Maybe that's the point. The bride and groom know full well if they have half a brain between them that many friends and family will not be able to attend. I had never given this topic much thought, but I can see her point: Destination weddings are about exclusion.

Yep. The tiny kids won't mind being left home cause they won't know the difference. The others will mind, and my teens are going to be really upset as they love my brother. The vacation time is an issue for everyone, the kids are an issue for all but one brother/spouse who don't have offspring yet.


I personally friend destination weddings selfish. Yes the wedding is THEIR wedding, but it doesn't mean you can't think about your guests. Did I have my absolute dream wedding? No, but more family and friends could come because of the venue I chose. You should think about family. Maybe your brother will realize how selfish this is when several of his key family isn't there to enjoy this day with him. I enjoyed spending time and celebrating with my family. If I didn't want that as part of my day than you should just elope and have no one there.


I agree with ^ . IMHO unless your family and friends are all wealthy with lots of time on their hands, a destination wedding is just pretending you want people at your wedding when you know full well most won't be able to come.


I also am amazed that they expect people to come all that way and then not allow the children to attend the reception.


It is the resort they are staying at that will only allow the under-21's on the property for the ceremony, period. No rehearsal/dinner, no reception.

The sad thing is, this brother lived out here in VA for 18 months and got close to my kids. They worship "Uncle Kam." I haven't even talked to them about the wedding, because finding out that they are not welcome to be a part of his wedding celebration is really going to hurt them.

Mostly I think that it comes down to what some of you have said - that the bride and her family are being thoughtless/selfish in planning this wedding where the *expectation* is attendance but the reality is that it will likely not happen for a few of us and force the ones who do go into making choices that they'd rather not have to make. February 14th isn't spring break, it impacts school if you take kids, it impacts work for everyone. We all have limited time off/limited budgets. Those who choose to go will be using their whole vacation for the year, to go to a wedding because they love the groom dearly and don't want to disappoint him.

katarine
Apr. 2, 2013, 03:38 PM
I would privately tell the groom that you cannot make it, but look forward to throwing a get together/reception when they return and things calm down. Maybe go ahead with asking if the weekend of March 1 will work for them?

Just do it. Your siblings that see you taking action will likely be relieved.

Wishing it different breeds resentment. Going into debt to do something you don't want to do? That's a cesspool of resentment breeding.

Love him dearly and throw him a party. Stateside. Done.

PeteyPie
Apr. 2, 2013, 09:36 PM
Mostly I think that it comes down to what some of you have said - that the bride and her family are being thoughtless/selfish in planning this wedding where the *expectation* is attendance but the reality is that it will likely not happen for a few of us and force the ones who do go into making choices that they'd rather not have to make. February 14th isn't spring break, it impacts school if you take kids, it impacts work for everyone. We all have limited time off/limited budgets. Those who choose to go will be using their whole vacation for the year, to go to a wedding because they love the groom dearly and don't want to disappoint him.

I think you are being generous in your assessment of the bride and her family. I think the expectation is that the groom's family will NOT attend. There may be little point in sussing this out, because you may never know the reason. It could be money, it could be some resistance to sharing or associating with the groom's family, it could be cluelessness (which I doubt), it could be some resentment on the part of the bride or groom, or just selfishness.

One thing that my friend pointed out, because believe me, I was getting an earful before this event, is that the bride's family can project (at least to themselves) the image of largess and generosity because in her case, the bride's father was paying for his own family's airfare and resort, and having a beautiful ceremony. But in reality, that wedding was at an all-inclusive resort so in effect, all the guests were paying for the wedding. The ceremony and food were included in the resort fee so the bride's family didn't have to hire a hall, cater the food, buy the booze, get flowers or do any of the normal hosting that the bride's family would do. It was paid for by each bridesmaid, each groomsman, each guest who attended and yes, partly by the father of the bride. So really, it's a way for the bride's family to sort of cheap out on the event and preen themselves for giving their daughter a beautiful wedding.

katarine
Apr. 2, 2013, 09:43 PM
Who really cares WHY they are doing it? It's being done. Guessing and supposing= ulcers, not answers.

Just don't go. It's a pretty simple, though hard, decision.

MHM
Apr. 2, 2013, 09:57 PM
OP, sorry this has the potential to cause a rift in your family. I agree that it's up to each family member to decide whether or not s/he will attend.

My only suggestion is that if just one sibling attends, ask that person to take a camera and take lots of pictures. Candids, the location, the reception. Not the formal shots so much, which the wedding photographer will probably take, but more behind-the-scenes shots. Then distribute the same set of pictures to all the family members who did not attend. I did that for a family wedding that not everyone could attend, and everyone really seemed to appreciate getting the set of photos as a souvenir. And that was back in the day when I actually had to get the film developed, get multiple prints, etc. Now it would be much easier with a digital camera.

JanM
Apr. 3, 2013, 08:39 AM
A lot of professional wedding venues, especially in destination locations, have video feeds available, or Skype, so people can watch from home.

monday
Apr. 3, 2013, 10:08 AM
I am sorry to hear in this case the Destination Wedding is causing your family so much trouble.

I had one and it was perfect. In my case, my husband's family and old friends all live on one continent, mine on another. One side was going to have flights and hotels no matter which way we did it. His side was angling hard to do it in their country and showed the potential to take over and plan for us. Husband really preferred to do it here, since he had lived here for 9 years at that point. Rather than tick off his side by showing preference, combined with his desire not to have it in a church or get dressed in a tux, and my love of beaches, we split the difference and picked a tropical island in between.

In our case we did recognize the difficulty involved with expenses and chose to keep it to only parents, siblings, and his best friend and his family. We didn't want to put others in the difficult position of choosing or feeling bad, plus we paid for the wedding ourselves, plus hotel for my parents who are not as well off as his. We also paid for several dinners as a group, one fun pirate ship snorkel activity, and some arrival gifts (wacky noodles, sunscreen, booze etc.) for everyone. We also did parties later with friends who couldn't make it on both sides of the pond.

Fortunately in our case our families are small, we both only have one sibling, no cousins on my side, and only two on his side that he isn't super close to, so no one ended up feeling bad about it. I can see how your situation differs and understand there are bad feelings, but I echo others in just being honest, trying to stay happy for them, and not feeling resentful. No one should ever feel pressured to go, and shame on the couple getting married if they don't realize the financial hardship, but at least in our case it was such a wonderful way to start our marriage, even if it wasn't traditional. We were married at sunset, on the beach, with me in a fun wedding dress and him in nice white shorts and shirt. It was absolutely perfect. I hope it works out for all of your family.