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‘Let This be a Lesson to You’: Newlyweds Defend Creating $240 Invoice for Guests Who Didn’t Show for Their Destination Wedding

After eight guests failed to show up to their wedding in Jamaica earlier this month without changing the RSVP, a newlywed couple from Chicago created invoices calling out those who bailed in order to send a message about wedding etiquette.

The invoice, created by Doug and Dedra Simmons after they got married on Aug. 18, has sparked debate on social media after an image circulated online.

Doug and Dedra Simmons posted a mock invoice after they got married on Aug. 18 and some guests didn’t show up. Photo: Septimbur Petty/Facebook.

“This invoice is being sent to you because you confirmed seat(s) at the wedding reception during the Final Headcount,” the invoice says. “The amount above is the cost of your individual seats. 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!”

The invoice was posted on social media on Aug. 23 “as a joke” to send a message about wedding etiquette, but wasn’t sent to any guests, after the couple returned to the U.S. and still didn’t hear from the guests who didn’t show up.

“Don’t be offended when I sent this #invoice to you,” Simmons wrote on Facebook. “It’s gonna look something like this. I’ll be sending it via email and certified mail…just in case you ain’t get the email #PettyPost.”

Septimbur Petty/Facebook

The post has been shared on Facebook thousands of times and has also circulated on other platforms.

The couple told TMRW that they checked in multiple times with all 109 expected guests leading up to their big day to make sure everyone was still planning to show up.

“We asked four times from November to August if they would be in attendance, and every time they said yes. If at any time they were unable to attend, we would have truly understood, but to no call no show was a bit disappointing,” Doug Simmons said.

The couple had to pay for the meals of the eight people who did not show up 30 days in advance of their Negril, Jamaica wedding. “We were all on WhatsApp and neither one of us got a text or call from any of them letting us know they wouldn’t be able to make it. When we got home from Jamaica, there was still no call or text,” Simmons continued. The invoice requests a $240 payment for two $120 meals.

On social media, people’s responses to the invoice were mixed. “I officially despise wedding culture. Everything about it,” wrote The New York Times writer Tressie McMillan Cottom.

Another user criticized the couple’s decision, writing, “sending an invoice is straight up rude especially during a pandemic.”

But others seemed to agree with the couple’s move. One social media user wrote: “if you RSVP and don’t show, I’ll be pissed.”

Doug Simmons said he only wanted to post the invoice to get guests who didn’t show up “in their feelings.”

Simmons told Business Insider he’d received some apologies from guests who didn’t show up since posting the invoice.

“It was me just being a bit petty and just having a teachable moment at the same time. I’ve never had to send it out because just them seeing it alone on Facebook brought about guilt,” he said. “You don’t have to always do stuff for people, but the fact that you put it out there and they saw it, that’s when they came running and say, ‘Hey, you know, I apologize.’ “

When guests offered to cover the costs, he declined, saying, “Hey, it’s OK. Let this be a lesson to you. Please don’t do this to anybody else because we understand that things happen, but it’s just not OK at the end of the day to do someone like that, especially someone that you call a friend or you call family.”

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