No-show wedding guests sent bill for reception meals: fair or foul?

Money is a tricky on a normal day, but weddings turn it into an even touchier subject: how much should you spend on a wedding gift? Is it okay to bow out when you can't afford it? Should you pay for your dinner even if you have to cancel?

Okay, maybe that last one isn't a well-worn debate, but it's about to be.

Jessica Baker told Minnesota's KARE-TV that when she and her husband missed a wedding after their babysitter cancelled at the last minute, they received a bill for the meals they didn't eat.

“You've got to be kidding me,” Baker said of the bill, which totalled $75.90. “It listed, we would have had two herb crusted walleye and then there was also a service and tax charge.”

At the bottom, the bill reads: “This cost reflects the amount paid by the bride and groom for meals that were RSVPed for, reimbursement and explanation for no show, card, call or text would be appreciated.”

Baker told KARE-TV they don't intend to pay it.

Whether she and her husband called the newlyweds to let them know they couldn't make it isn't clear – the bill's wording makes it sound like they didn't – but does that make a difference? (It would to me.)

Aside from how understanding the bride and groom are, the reason or intent behind cancelling seems to play a big part in how no-shows are received. 

A friend of mine had a few last-minute cancellations at her wedding this summer, but only one stood out as bad behaviour to her: a friend's girlfriend cancelled the week before to prove she was serious about an advance-the-relationship ultimatum she had given him. They got back together, but the bride and groom still had to eat (figuratively) the $200 plate.

Another friend of a friend still begrudges a girl that RSVP'd to the reception, stayed for cocktails, but left before dinner to “make a girls' night.”

Here's what our etiquette expert, Lisa Orr, had to say about the wedding bill:

What do you think? Was it fair of this couple to send a bill? Would you consider something like this, or are a few no-shows to be expected? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook!
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