DEAR ABBY: I have read your column since I was in high school but never dreamed that one day I would be writing to you.
My 21-year-old son and his 23-year-old girlfriend have been living together for nearly a year. They recently became engaged. My husband and I were delighted, because we were never happy about their living arrangement.
They have decided to be married on the beach in Hawaii. Her family owns a condo there. This presents a problem. My husband was recently laid off from his job, and money is tight. I explained to my son that my husband and I will be unable to attend the wedding. I asked them to please reconsider the ceremony in Hawaii, and to take their vows here. The trip to Hawaii could be their honeymoon.
He is my only son, and I have always dreamed of the day I would attend his wedding. However, after many lengthy discussions with him -- some not so nice -- it appears that I will not fulfill my dream. They told us that they have no intention of changing their plans. Of course, her parents will be at the wedding. They have much more money than we will ever have, and they planned on going anyway.
I feel betrayed and hurt by my son and his fiancee. I thought we had a good relationship. Am I right to feel this way? I have told my husband that if you say I should get over it, I will try. My daughter, who is 17, also feels that her brother is abandoning us for the new, wealthier family. Abby, perhaps I should mention that the future in-laws are planning on buying a house for the newlyweds.
I am heartbroken because of my son's disregard for my feelings. Every day that goes by drives a bigger wedge in my relationship with him. Please hurry your answer. -- MOTHER OF THE GROOM
DEAR MOTHER: I understand how hurt and saddened you are by the wedding plans. However, since the bride's family traditionally plans and pays for the wedding, it is up to them to decide where the ceremony will take place. The bride may have always dreamed of being married on the beach, and her dream must come before yours.
Your son is caught in the middle. He is trying to make his bride happy, form a good relationship with his new in-laws, and take your feelings and financial circumstances into account.
Perhaps your budget could be stretched to allow one of you to travel to Hawaii for the wedding, or you can host a small reception for the honeymooners when they return to the mainland. But please, do not make your son feel guilty.