It's irritating as hell when somebody RSVPs "YES" to your wedding invitation, and then fails to attend when your big day arrives. It's doubly irritating when that person accepted on behalf of a date, as well. Nope, the random date didn't come to your wedding, either. So that's somewhere in the neighborhood of $200-$600, per missing couple, needlessly spent on food, booze, cake, favors, etc. for nobody. There are no take-home containers from higher-end wedding receptions.
I blogged about how to handle wedding no shows after one couple made themselves famous in international news for billing AWOL wedding guests for the meals they didn't eat. The whole thing made me laugh, but I was quick to remind all those brides and grooms out there who might be considering such a move that sending no show wedding guests a bill is DEFINITELY in poor taste. Playing tit-for-tat to see who can be ruder isn't a happy memory the bride and groom want to have. It's always better to take the high road in this situation, and do nothing at all.
Trust me, if you decide to breach etiquette and go after the offending parties (people who are theoretically close to you, or they never should have been invited in the first place), those who hear about your actions won't condemn the no show couple (except perhaps to your face). They'll be gossiping as fast as they can text about how the classless bride and groom billed the hapless guests who couldn't come due to illness, a missing babysitter, a last minute work emergency, or whatever. The bride and groom will end up the bad guys in the inevitable meme.
Most wedding and event professionals agree with me - you won't accomplish anything by out-tackying the person who was tasteless in the first place. But that hasn't stopped more people from jumping on board the "pay if you don't play" train. There have been various news stories about parents billing the parents of other children who failed to attend birthday parties they'd accepted an invite to without calling to regret. And sadly, even more brides and grooms are going after the errant guests.
Since I've made my opinion on this point of wedding etiquette rather clear, I was shocked to receive a request to review a new wedding app created solely for this purpose. There are already hundreds of apps to help with the online wedding invitation process, including those that send reminders to guests about RSVP deadlines, and even collect dinner order preferences. But none of the existing apps does what this one does. Thank God for small favors. This app should never have been created and I sincerely hope, for the little bit of wedding civility that remains in this world, that it never becomes something acceptable to use.
The app they're pitching me is called "RAYN" and it is marketed as "the app that back-charges Wedding Reception Guests who don't show." No, I'm not kidding.
This is their home page, which is still under development. In fact, they're offering tacky brides and grooms who might want to use it a free chance to try out the beta-version now. Have at it! Wait... please don't.
Here's how it works (pay attention - this is totally disturbing):
1 - RAYN app sends your wedding invitation to your wedding guests.
2 - Guests RSVP "Yes" or "No."
3 - If the guests accept your invitation, they are then asked to provide their credit card information for "accountability" purposes.
4 - Guests who attend your wedding will never see anything on their credit card (and hopefully they'll forget that you ever asked for their info).
5 - Guests who no show at your wedding will be "back-charged" the cost of their empty seat at your wedding reception.
Shortly after that, I predict the shit will hit the fan as they tell all your mutual friends (and people who don't even know you) about the rude way you billed their credit card for your missed wedding reception when poor so-and-so's mother was in an accident and they had to skip the wedding at the last minute. Ouch!
I am completely horrified. If you're not, you need to go back and read all of that again. I mean, it is one thing to decide to throw tradition to the wind and do your wedding invitation process entirely online. It's another thing entirely to ask for a credit card to hold their reservation. Even rental car companies don't do that!
The creators of this new app sent it to me asking for feedback - I'm still wondering why they even thought I would spend one second thinking this was a good idea. I've blogged to the contrary. Certainly, I think it's rude to no show at a wedding. But as I've said before, charging your guests for their empty seats is actually worse.
I fear the mere existence of this app would make some brides and grooms think it's an acceptable approach to confirming your wedding guests - it's not. The app's slogan should be "Invitation Management for the Rudest Couples Out There."
If you're THAT concerned you're going to have a bunch of people blow off your big day, perhaps you'd better re-evaluate that guest list before you begin sending invitations. Are you worried about a lot of no shows? Why? Are you inviting more people to get more gifts? Did you invite everybody from your office because you were afraid to hurt feelings? I assure you, you'll do far more damage requesting a credit card number to hold your boss's reservation at your wedding than you would have by not inviting your employer at all.
People with manners don't skip weddings - after they've accepted the invitation - without a really good reason. Brides and grooms with manners don't charge their AWOL guests for the dinner they missed. It's as simple as that. If the thought of somebody pulling a no show at your wedding makes you THAT angry, perhaps you should consider a simple elopement. That way you only have to worry about the wedding couple showing up.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Sandy Malone Weddings & Events!