Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I was invited to a wedding for a cousin I am not close to. Nobody in my immediate family is close to him, but we have all chosen to attend the wedding because it seems to mean a lot to his mother. The wedding is in another state, and it will take me at least 61/2 hours to drive there. I've notified everyone that, while I'd love to make the ceremony, expecting me to be there, ready and raring to go at 3 p.m. is too much. I said I'll simply see them at the reception. Now, suddenly, the mother of the groom (my aunt) wants everyone to be at the ceremony by 1:30 p.m. to take a family picture! Once again, I stated that I could not make that time. She is very upset, and these family members have been complaining to one another about how terrible I am. I believe that if you are asking people to travel far for a wedding and stay in a hotel, you should not put any demands on that person. My sister thinks I'm being terrible for not at least trying to get there early (or paying for a hotel room for two nights). She thinks I should be apologizing, but I think they can kick rocks and be mad all they want. Am I being unreasonable?Reluctant Wedding-Goer
DEAR RELUCTANT: Perhaps you work the overnight shift at a nuclear missile silo. If so, you are forgiven. Otherwise, I can't understand what is so difficult about making a 61/2-hour drive in order to attend a wedding ceremony that starts at 3 p.m.
The way I calculate it, if you shower and leave the house at 7 a.m., you could arrive in plenty of time to change clothes and be your delightful self at the ceremony.
It is rude to state you will attend a reception but not the wedding ceremony itself, unless there are extraordinary mitigating circumstances (your work at the missile silo, for instance).
A wedding is not about you and your needs. "They can kick rocks" is not exactly the spirit in which to approach an important family event. You have my permission to stay home.