TL;DR – How do I tell a childhood friend (who has been spoiled her whole life) that both my parents and I most likely cannot afford to travel for her wedding (to which I am to be a bridesmaid) without making her angry/defensive?.
Anne and I have been close friends since we were children, as our families are close (her mother is my sister's godmother, my dad is basically the father she never had, etc.). Despite our families closeness, we live ~ 900km apart, thus limiting time spent together to a week every summer when they would visit us. Enter Jack. Anne met Jack four years ago. They got engaged in 2016, the wedding is ‘planned’ for 2019. She asked me to be a bridesmaid shortly after they got engaged last year. They've just recently decided to have a destination wedding.
I moved to their Town 3 years ago for college (using student loans for tuition and rent), and graduated in 2016. After grad I lived with them briefly, for very generously discounted rent.
As Anne’s parents divorced when she was young and her father wasn’t around after that, her grandmother moved in with them and became the second parent to Anne and her sister. Sadly, Grandmother passed away last year, and they are still figuring out how to live without her. Apparently, Grandmother used to spoil them a bit – Anne+sister and Mother. Currently, Anne and Jack are living in Anne’s mother’s basement apartment for discounted rent (they consider the basement apt to be moved out).
Jack was extremely spoiled all his life (to the point where he didn’t know how to pack his own suitcase for a 2-week vacation – he’s 24). Anne has never really lived away from home.
After a few stressful months of living there, I finally found a job in my field just before Christmas (Excitement! :D) and almost immediately moved into a cheap boarding house.
Anne’s mother insinuated that she wanted me to stay at her house (she likes having someone around to chat since her kids have 'moved out'). Her argument was cheaper rent to counter the higher gas bill of driving 30 minutes to work (driving away from Town center and thus against morning traffic). As I have anxiety and had depression issues in the past, I couldn’t handle living there anymore (different lifestyles making my anxierty spiral) - or confrontation. I told her I needed to keep the mileage on my old car as low as possible as to not wear it out faster as my ‘excuse’ for moving.
Anne and Jack have decided that they’re getting married “down south” (a tropical resort somewhere like Cuba – they haven’t gotten more specific than that yet). Anne had asked me to be a bridesmaid before they chose this location.
As I am working an entry level help desk job and have four years of student debt, I doubt highly that this time next year I will have $2000~ to go down south. I only get 5 vacation days next year, and none for this year, therefore I would take unpaid days off. However, the money is the only thing I'm worrying about right now. My employer is really lenient, I'm almost positive we could work something out for time off. I don’t yet have any savings, and am basically still living paycheck to paycheck (have only been working 2 months). As a bridesmaid I would also be paying for my own dress/hair/makeup as well, though I'm not involved in planning the bachelorette party and such.
I’ve talked to my parents about it, and they don’t think they are going to be able to swing it either. From experience, if my parents tell Anne’s mother they can’t make it, she’ll probably get defensive and/or miffed.
How do I tell my friend that both my parents and I probably won’t be able to afford traveling such a distance for her wedding, without her taking it personally and getting angry/defensive?