Guest fails to show up to wedding: so bride sends a bill

What should you do when someone’s a no-show at your wedding?

Bill for wedding no show

Jessica Baker, a mum from Minnesota in the US, had accepted an invitation to her friend's wedding, but had to cancel at the last minute when her childcare arrangements fell through. The bride was so angry that she sent her a bill for $75 (£61) - to cover the cost of the food that went to waste. So who was in the right?

Jessica was getting ready to go to the wedding when she had a call from her mum. She explained she couldn't babysit for her grandchildren any more, and because children were banned from the wedding, Jessica had to pull out.

She didn't think any more about it until a few weeks later, when she received the bill. It was accompanied by a note that 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."

Jessica shared her story on Facebook, where she broadly divided commentators between those who felt she had been rude not to inform the happy couple, or send a card afterwards explaining her actions; those who thought the bride was out of order; and those who thought none of this ought to have been shared on social media in the first place.

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What to do about wedding no-shows
Weddings are a notoriously expensive business. Last January we reported on the parents of a five-year-old who had been issued with a no-show fee, after skipping a birthday party and at the time our writer, Felicity Hannah, wholehearted supported the parents who had sent the bill. She pointed out that she wished she had the guts to send bills to those who had failed to show up for her wedding.

It's not just the wasted money, she said, but the missed opportunity to invite other people because of the need to keep a lid on the numbers. There's also the fact that there will be empty seats at a table - making it difficult for the other guests - and the risk that gossip about the missing guests will sour the joy of the occasion.

The proper etiquette is always to say no if there's any doubt as to whether you can make a wedding. There are a couple of exceptions to the rule - such as if you are heavily pregnant or in the military - but babysitters, affordability and logistics are not exceptions. If you think you'll struggle to make it, just say no.... nicely.

If things change at the last minute, then the right thing to do is to tell someone you are going to be a no-show. If you are going to have to let them down on the day, then they will appreciate a call. If you're worried about stressing them out on the morning of their wedding, then perhaps send flowers to soften the blow.

If there's simply no way of getting in touch before the wedding, at least make sure you send a gift and card - with a heartfelt apology. Bear in mind that Jessica received her invoice a few weeks after the wedding - so she was given every chance to apologise before then.

But what do you think? Is the bride's approach understandable - or is she showing signs of becoming a Bridezilla? Let us know in the comments.

£20,983 wedding: where the money goes

£20,983 wedding: where the money goes