Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Would You Send A Bill To Wedding No Shows?

There's a story that has gone viral recently about a woman who received a bill for a wedding she did not attend. The short version of the story is that her mother said she couldn't babysit last minute and the couple, who had already RSVP'd yes, was a no show for the wedding.

I've had three people send it to me and ask my opinion. Running a wedding blog doesn't make me the authority on wedding etiquette, but I'm a pretty decent and logical person, which is what you need to be in a situation like this.

bill to wedding no shows

Let's start out with a bit of reality. Your wedding is a ceremony to bind together you and your fiance. It's not a fund raiser. Your guests give you gifts to help you start a new life together. They are not obligated to give you money.

Where I grew up, it's customary for your guests to "pay for their plate." You sort of figure out how much the couple paid for your dinner, and you write them a check to cover that and stick it in a card. But just because that's customary doesn't mean it's required.

When we got married, almost all of our guests traveled from New York to North Carolina to celebrate with us. It was so important to me to make our wedding an "event" not just a five hour thing. I really wanted to thank our guests for traveling all the way here to celebrate our big day with us, so we invited every guest to our rehearsal dinner at a local park, catered with an amazing southern BBQ meal. I wanted to give our guests a taste of what we have down here (since North Carolina BBQ is so different than other BBQ). We picked a reception venue on the beach because we basically live at the beach now so I wanted our guests to experience that.

Our oceanfront venue was way more per head than I had originally wanted to pay. But that was my choice. I didn't expect our guests to give us a bigger gift because I decided I wanted to pay a premium for a beach venue and shrimp and grits.

Honestly, I didn't even expect gifts at all. Almost everyone had to travel; almost everyone had to pay to spend a few nights in a hotel; almost everyone was way more generous than Pete and I could have ever dreamed of.

Did we have wedding no shows? Yes. We had one couple (from New York) that texted Pete at 11pm the night before our wedding to say they weren't coming. We had another couple (one of our few local couples) just not show up at all. No call, no show. The type of thing that gets you written up at your job.

We didn't send those couples a bill for not coming. Yes, we had to pay for them, but we were always planning on paying for them. We were never expecting them to pay for themselves. We invited people based on what we could afford, not based on what we thought we would get in return.

If you invite someone and they don't show up when they said they would, you can get mad. You can rant and rave to your husband, your best friend, or your cat. But you absolutely can't send a bill to the couple that doesn't show, just like you can't send a bill to a couple that gives you a gift that's less than you expected. Instead, invite people expecting their presence to be their present and be very happy that they gave you their time. It's worth more than an extra zero on a check.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Do you think it's okay to send a bill to wedding no shows?

Heading to a wedding soon?

Check out our post on How To Be A Good Wedding Guest.


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