A picture of the bill, which had the title “no call, no show guest”, was shared widely on social media this week. Along with the description that said “wedding reception dinner (no show)”, the invoice charged the two MIA guests a total of $240 and gave them a month to pay the bill.
The invoice also read: “This invoice is being sent to you because you confirmed seat(s) at the wedding reception during the Final Headcount.
“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. Please reach out to us and let us know which method of payment works for you. Thank you!”
After it was shared on Twitter by HuffPost’s senior front page editor, Phillip Lewis, with the caption: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wedding reception invoice before lol” – as well as on Reddit – many thought the invoice was fake.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wedding reception invoice before lol https://t.co/ZAYfGITkxP
But it was infact completely genuine – and the couple have now spoken out about the controversy.
Doug Simmons, 44, who married Dedra McGee (now Simmons), 43, said he decided to take action because having no-shows “made me feel some kind of way.”
He initially posted the invoice on his Facebook page, with the message: “DON’T BE OFFENDED WHEN I SEND THIS #INVOICE TO YOU. IT’S GONNA LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS. I’LL BE SENDING IT VIA EMAIL AND CERTIFIED MAIL... JUST IN CASE YOU SAY YOU AIN’T GET THE EMAIL.”
He told the New York Post that the move was not about money but that he and his new wife, who are from Chicago, felt disrespected by those who didn’t turn up at their dream wedding at Royalton Negril Resort & Spa wedding in Jamaica.
“Four times we asked, ‘Are you available to come, can you make it?,’ and they kept saying ‘Yes’. We had to pay in advance for Jamaica — this was a destination wedding,” he told The Post.
“No one told me or texted me, ‘Hey, we can’t make it... that’s all I was asking. If you tell me you can’t make it, I would be understanding — but to tell me nothing, but then let me pay for you and your plus ones? Four people became eight people. I took that personally.”
Simmons clarified that he never actually sent the invoice. But the move obviously worked because he received apologies from some of the missing guests who saw the post.
Naturally, the move divided opinion, with some branding it as “petty”, but others saying that critics had clearly never planned or paid for a wedding.
One wrote on Twitter: “I don’t imagine they expect to actually collect. I think they’re making a point, and it’s a valid one. It’s beyond rude to confirm your attendance at a wedding and not show up with no explanation.”
Another even said she wished she’d done the same. “I wish I’d thought of this. A third of the people who RSVP’d for our wedding didn’t show up. We paid for a LOT of food that went to waste (though it was a LOT LESS than than $120 a plate),” they wrote.
A third said: “Awfully tacky, but worse to RSVP and then not show up.”
And another said: “Mannnnnn! I’d be even more petty…I’d made this for birthday parties, Anniversary dinners, prepaid reservations for AirB&Bs…all that!”
But others weren’t impressed.
One said: “I understand being upset about no show guests for a small wedding but sending an invoice is too much.”
A second said: “Imagine, having a wedding in a pandemic. Then sending invoices to those who didn’t show. I swear this letter would be the last time I ever contacted them as a friend.”
“Nah, this is petty,” another wrote. “You create a budget for any event in advance. Either you can afford it if everyone shows up or not. No shows at a wedding might be personally hurtful but guests don’t owe you s***.”
And one suggested guests should send back the invoice with “LOL” written across it.
Either way, it’s clear that Mr and Mrs Simmons don’t take any prisoners. And we’re pretty sure their friends will be turning up to all their birthday parties in the future.