Dear Penny: My Niece Uninvited Me From Her Wedding. Does She Owe Me for Airfare?

A bride and groom look at each other underwater.
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Dear Penny,

My niece uninvited me to her wedding. Should I ask her to reimburse me for the cost of my plane ticket? The wedding is two weeks away, and my ticket is nonrefundable.

— L.

Dear L.,

Sure, you can ask her to pay you back. I’d also say that reimbursing you for the plane ticket is the right thing for your niece to do. But if you’re expecting your niece to Venmo you for the cost of your airfare, you need to be realistic.

You don’t say why your niece uninvited you to her wedding. If she needed to downsize because the venue is over capacity, she clearly didn’t do a great job of planning. So the odds of her having extra money sitting around that she can use to reimburse uninvited guests are slim. If she trimmed the guest list due to costs, then I’d say your odds are zilch. Ditto if she cut you because you had a falling-out.

Dear Penny

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While everyone knows how crushingly expensive it is to throw a wedding, guests shell out a pretty penny, too. According to The Knot, a wedding guest who flies in to attend a couple’s nuptials can expect to spend $1,270. (Note: That includes $160 for a wedding gift. If you haven’t already sent one, consider yourself off the hook there.)

Even though you won’t be attending the wedding, are the festivities in a destination that might be worthy of a getaway on its own? Or do you have friends and family in the location who won’t be in attendance? If so, it might be worth making a vacation out of it since you’ve already paid for the ticket and presumably budgeted for a hotel stay.

Otherwise, read the fine print on the flight confirmation. “Nonrefundable” typically doesn’t mean “non-changeable.” Most airlines allow you to change the flight for a fee, even if the ticket is nonrefundable.

If the idea of traveling to the area where your niece’s wedding is being held doesn’t appeal to you, consider changing the flight to a different destination. You may also be able to get a voucher from the airline for future use.

Though it’s a long shot, you might try calling the airline and politely explaining the situation. Travel blogs are filled with stories of passengers who successfully got refunds on nonrefundable plane tickets. Be honest, though, and don’t make any claims you can’t back up.

The odds of you getting your niece to foot the bill for cutting you from her guest list aren’t good. But hopefully, you can still salvage this plane ticket without spending too much extra money.

Does your balance sheet need a reset? Try these smart ways to organize your finances.

Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].