That's the sticky situation that recently unfolded for Jessica Baker of Andover, Minnesota.
The stay-at-home mother and her husband had planned to attend a cousin's wedding but had to skip when their child care fell through at the last minute, according to CNN affiliate WCCO
The invitation specifically said "no children," so the couple stayed home.
A few weeks later, an invoice from the newlyweds arrived for the wedding meal they missed.
"I was pretty shocked to see that I was being charged $75 for herb-crusted walleye and a service and tax charge," Baker told WCCO.
The invoice suggests that Baker did not let the bride and groom know that she and her husband couldn't make it at the last minute.
A typed note on the bill reads, "Reimbursement and explanation for no show, card, call or text would be appreciated."
Baker posted her frustration with the bill on Facebook, and an avalanche of comments and media requests soon followed.
Sending a bill to no-shows is a definite faux pas, according to Daniel Post Senning, co-host of the "Awesome Etiquette" podcast and great-great-grandson of manners expert Emily Post.
But making your grievances public through "social scolding" only makes things worse.
"Airing grievances and responding to one wrong with another with another is really how problems get amplified," Senning said.
Handling disagreements by communicating directly usually yields the best results.
"With a genuine and sincere apology, you probably could have nipped this in the bud after the first mistake," he said.
Guests have a responsibility to let their hosts know when their plans change, Senning said, and hosts have responsibilities, too.
"In some ways, your role as a host is to be understanding that mistakes will be made."
Baker doesn't plan to pay the bride and groom, but she's considering alternatives to resolve the matter.
"One of the best Facebook answers that I got was from a gentleman who suggested that we write a check in that amount to a charity and then send the bride and groom the receipt."