Wedding planning 101: There's a good chance that some guests who didn't RSVP will show up anyway. Conversely, some guests who RSVPed "yes" might not show up at all, for any number of reasons -- as annoying (and costly) as that may be.
Clearly, not everyone understands that. On Tuesday, a controversial story of a woman who was billed $75 for not showing up to a wedding went viral.
According to KARE 11, Jessica Baker's mom, who was supposed to babysit her kids on the night of the wedding, had to cancel at the last minute. Children were not welcome at the wedding so she and her husband were unable to attend.
She later received a bill for $75.90 from the newlyweds to cover the cost of the meals they missed, as well as tax and a service fee.
It reads: "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."
Wedding etiquette expert and author Anna Post -- the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post -- told The Huffington Post that billing an absentee wedding guest is "never okay" and "super rude."
"Rather than being disappointed about not seeing these guests at the wedding, the couple chose to focus on the money involved, and that always gets ugly," she said. "It doesn’t matter how frustrated you are, it’s no excuse for behaving badly in return."
And while she said that guests who RSVP "yes" should always make every reasonable effort to attend, sometimes unexpected and unavoidable emergencies do pop up.
"Guests should never bring children who aren’t expected to a wedding, so these guests really had no option on short notice," Post said. "It’s a disappointment for everyone, and the guests should call the couple as soon as possible to let them know. But after that, the couple needs to smile and say, 'We’re so sorry to miss you, but we understand,' and move on."
That said, Post said that sharing the bill publicly "is not something I’d recommend."
"The couple never should have sent the bill, but if there had been any chance of recovering that relationship, publicly shaming them only muddies the waters further," she said.
We also asked HuffPost readers to weigh in on the heated debate. Many thought it was exceedingly tacky of the newlyweds to charge a guest for being a no-show.
"Isn't it sort of cruel and narcissistic to think you are the center of someone else's world?" Jenn Vasicek Sterling wrote on Facebook. "Things do come up! It's not like your wedding is a business. That is different than say a dentist's office or doctor's office."
Others said that while they thought the bill was in poor taste, they could see where the bride and groom were coming from.
"While I don't think it's appropriate to bill your friends or family (in fact, every wedding planner/book/magazine warns couples to expect a couple no-shows) I completely understand the desire," Rose Moore wrote. "After stretching our savings to pay for a lovely wedding, seeing friends show zero regard for our time, effort or money was incredibly hurtful. We didn't lash out by billing them, but it definitely affected our friendship."
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