Is there a legal obligation to pay up for failed wedding promise?

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2015 | Family Law

A Minneapolis woman has found her 15-minutes of fame on social media after she sent a bill to her relative for money owed. The bill was a request for $75.90, the cost of two meals at the reception for her wedding.

Why the bill? The “debtor” had sent an RSVP confirming her attendance to the “no children allowed” event per the bride’s wishes. When the guest’s babysitter told her at the last minute that she couldn’t be there, it forced the woman to stay home and let two paid-for meals go to waste.

When KARE 11 posted a story about the wedding RSVP fiasco to Facebook, readers let loose and had their say. KARE 11’s single post drew hundreds of responses. Did she have a right? Should the no-show guest have to pay? Those are personal questions, and uninvolved individuals clearly have their own opinions.

What does the law say about broken wedding promises? The honest answer is “not much,” unless you are talking about the engagement ring. Especially today, rings are worth enough money to fight over them. What happens when a partner says “I do” and changes it to an “I don’t” before the wedding takes place? Does it matter if one partner cheated on the other?

In Minnesota, courts have ruled that a bride must return the ring. In M. Benassi v. Back & Neck Pain Clinic, Inc., the court decided that engagement rings are not outright gifts but conditional gifts and the recipient must return it if either party breaks off the marriage, regardless of fault. If the recipient refuses, the other simply files an action for replevin.