There have been some recent news articles about disgruntled wedding couples charging their no-show guests. That’s right. If someone RSVPs and fails to show up for the reception, they receive a hefty bill.
At first blush, this seems a bit tacky. Yet having been the father of the bride a couple times, I guess I can have some sympathy for these couples (at least in principle).
Weddings (if you include the receptions) can cost many thousands of dollars. Where I live, the average cost of a wedding could buy you a small home (if you bought it in a different county). At the very least, it would be a nice down payment.
“IT AIN’T CHEAP!”
If someone tells you they’ll be there, you pay someone handsomely to prepare for their time with you. You want them to enjoy it, be well fed, and have great entertainment in a beautiful setting. These things aren’t cheap.
So if they don’t show up, it could be highly annoying (not to mention expensive). You’ve just laid out a few hundred bucks so someone you love (or at least someone you thought enough of to invite) could share in your celebration. Your big day arrives, but your guest does not.
It’s the old “I threw a party and no one showed up” routine. That gets old in a hurry. It’s one thing to be late. But to dis the entire day…?! Not good (or polite).
Taking all that into consideration, deep down inside I can’t say as I blame the angry couple for sending a bill. I certainly would advise the no-shows to take a different course of action. At least let someone know your plans have changed.
As I mentioned earlier, however, sending a bill seems a tad tasteless (even if we understand the emotion behind the gesture). You may be hurt. You may have lost some money in the process. You may even have lost a friend or two. But sending a bill? I don’t know about that.
Jesus told a story or two like this. Remember the parable about the guy who threw a wedding banquet and no one came? No bills were sent out that day. Instead, new invitations were handed out. Strangers were invited. The waiters went out and beat the bushes looking for people who wanted to party hearty.
Apparently, God sees things a bit differently than we do. When folks turn him down, he doesn’t fret over it. He moves on and gets new folks. Imagine that.
It’s not our party!
Maybe we of the church could take a lesson from him. Instead of getting torqued, insulted, hurt, or indignant, we could move on to more fertile ground. Put in the place of the guy who threw the party, we often become discouraged and give up.
There’s one big difference though. It’s not our party. We’re the waiters. Buck up, folks! It may be time to send out a few new invitations.