It’s no secret that weddings now often cost more than a French chateau, so it’s understandable that some newlyweds would be annoyed by guests canceling at the last minute. No matter how upset a bride and groom are, however, there’s absolutely no excuse to send absent guests a bill for their dinner. But apparently no one mentioned to a newly married couple who invoiced a couple of guests.
Jessica Baker tells KARE 11 that she was planning on attending a wedding when an emergency occurred: her mom, who was supposed to watch the kids (as they were not invited to the wedding), was suddenly unavailable. Baker was left without a babysitter and says she had no way to communicate to the bride that if she was going to attend the wedding, her kids would need to come along. So Baker and her date just stayed home. She doesn’t say whether she contacted the bride and groom to let them know she wouldn’t make it, but considering she didn’t know she’d be missing the event until the last minute, it’s likely she didn’t say anything. Or she might have been too embarrassed to let them know. If Baker didn’t tell the couple about her last-minute absence, that is indeed uncool.
What’s more uncool, however, is that Baker received a surprise in the mail. It wasn’t a party favor or a guilt-inducing note inquiring as to whether she or her children had fallen ill. Instead, Baker got a bill for over $70, which covered the cost of the walleye dinners that went unconsumed by Baker and her date.
Here’s what the invoice read:
“This cost reflects the amount paid by the bride and groom for meals that were RSVP’d for, reimbursement and explanation for no show, card, call or text would be appreciated,” the note read.
That’s an “and,” not an “or.” It’s also incredibly tacky; guests don’t owe you anything for being invited to the wedding—not gifts, not a toast, not a check for their dinner. And, let’s add something else the newlyweds forgot when they brought this carnival of narcissism to town: 100% perfect attendance for the duration of a wedding celebration is kind of rare. People don’t show up, people leave without eating dinner, sometimes people even bring extra guests for some reason. Can you talk shit about those people? Absolutely! Can you send them a bill? Oh. Hell. No.
Here’s what wedding expert Sarah Baumann Rogers told KARE 11 about the situation after Baker posted the photo to Facebook and it went viral:
“Under no circumstances should you choose to follow up after the fact...kind of questioning why they couldn’t attend or much less sending a bill,” she said.
But she understood why couples would be upset after spending a lot of money on the wedding and then some guests skip out, which is why she tells people to notify the hosts as soon as possible if you can’t attend.
But what if the cancelation is a last-minute thing emergency? Sometimes things come up. C’est la vie. Catering companies aren’t new to this phenomenon: “General rule is prepare for about 10 percent of overage or underage when you’re planning a big event like that and catering companies are well aware of this,” Baumann Rogers said.
There are other ways to make sure that your wedding goes off without a hitch. Jezebel’s own Hillary Crosley Coker says she called up the RSVPs she didn’t think would actually show at her destination wedding and asked them point-blank if they were really coming. And Stacey Ritzen, who had several no-shows at her own wedding tells us that sending a card of apology immediately after the nuptials is the right move. “I wouldn’t be texting you while you were getting ready, but I would text, call, email, or send a note within two to three days.”
No word if every guest who missed the wedding received a bill or whether Baker and her date were singled out. Either way, this stunt is tackier than a a pair of matching newlywed tracksuits that say “BRIDE” and “GROOM” on the butt.