Failing to notify a couple that you're bailing on their big day is basically the cardinal sin of wedding etiquette.
Still, plenty of married couples have horror stories about "no-shows" that put a damper on their wedding day (and their budget). One such couple created a fake wedding invoice to send a message to friends who backed out of their wedding, and it's quickly gone viral on social media.
Doug and Dedra Simmons got married on Aug. 18, and they were expecting 109 people at their destination wedding in Negril, Jamaica. But when the big day rolled around, eight guests simply didn't show — even though they had plenty of time to change their RSVPs.
"We asked four times from November to August if they would be in attendance, and every time they said yes. If at any time they were unable to attend, we would have truly understood, but to no call no show was a bit disappointing," Doug Simmons told TMRW.
Since it was a destination wedding, the couple had to pay for each guest 30 days in advance, so they had already forked over the cash for those eight meals. While they could manage the loss financially, the couple was peeved that their guests didn't give them a heads up.
"We were all on WhatsApp and neither one of us got a text or call from any of them letting us know they wouldn’t be able to make it. When we got home from Jamaica, there was still no call or text," Simmons said.
At that point, the groom channeled his creative side and whipped up a fake invoice that "charged" the no-show guests for the meals they didn't consume.
The words "No Call, No Show Guest" are featured prominently on the $240 ($120 for two meals) invoice that includes the following note: "This invoice is being sent to you because you confirmed seat(s) at the wedding reception during the Final Headcount. The amount above is the cost of your individual seats. Because you didn't call or give us proper notice that you wouldn't be in attendance, this amount is what you owe us for paying for your seat(s) in advance. You can pay via Zelle or PayPal."
Simmons told TMRW that the invoice was "meant as a joke" when he posted it on social media.
"I had no intention of sending it to anyone and didn’t send it to anyone. I knew just posting it alone would get them in their feelings, which it did," he said.
Plenty of social media users have shared the invoice on their own pages, including Twitter user @Phil_Lewis_, who told TMRW that he thinks it sparked a good conversation about wedding etiquette.
"I understand that weddings are expensive, but I wouldn’t RSVP to something without knowing for sure I could come. If it was an emergency, then I would expect my friends to know that I simply couldn’t come," he told us.
The Twitter user's followers seemed divided in their response to the invoice, but many agreed that it's extremely rude to not show up for a wedding you said you would attend.
Even though the couple didn't actually send the invoice to their friends, a few Twitter users thought it was insensitive to create it at all and suggested that some guests may not have felt comfortable traveling during the pandemic.
Still, even though a few folks found it tacky, many of them agreed that it's worse to ditch your friends on their wedding day.
Esther Lee, a senior editor at The Knot, told TMRW said she's never come across a wedding invoice before but can understand why it's sparked a discussion.
"Any discussion on monetary value and budget raises questions around etiquette, especially when that conversation involves an invited guest," she explained.
But if Simmons actually sent the invoice, Lee said it would've gone against traditional wedding etiquette, even if the guests were at fault.
"A wedding is an opportunity to graciously host rather than to be served, and this year has reinforced this notion more than anything. Sending an invoice to any guest (regardless of attendance) is frowned upon," she said.
As for the no-show guests, Lee said the should still give the happy couple a gift since they RSVP'ed that they were joining the celebration.
"If you must back out of a wedding at the last minute, it’s very much encouraged for guests to give as much notice as possible and still send a gift," she said.
Janessa White, co-founder of Simply Eloped told TMRW that couples should budget for no-shows or guests that cancel at the last minute, but agreed that this invoice is one example of how the wedding industry is "hugely out of control" when it comes to costs.
"From big businesses charging more for a wedding than for, say, a retirement party — for the same service or rental — to couples losing tons of money on deposits from cancellations and postponements, we're seeing many instances of exploitation in the wedding industry," she said.
Simmons told us he's gotten plenty of messages from other couples who have similar wedding horror stories. The newlywed said he hopes his fake invoice makes wedding guests realize that they should consider a couple's feelings before bailing on their big day.
"Putting together a wedding isn’t cheap, and it doesn’t matter if you’re poor or rich, no one wants their money wasted. It’s about integrity and having morals," he said.