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Printing Company Owner Refuses To Do Cousin’s Wedding For Free Because They’re Not Invited


Family is family.

Family is said to be sacred.

People are often told… “you DO for family.”

But sometimes family can really take advantage.

And then things get awkward.

Case in point…

Redditor Ball*ackJuicer wanted to discuss their experience and get some feedback. So naturally, they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for sending an invoice to my wife’s cousin after she ‘didn’t have space for us’ at her wedding?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I own a printing company that I run with my wife.”

“Her cousin came to us and wanted us to do all the signage, banners, guest books, life-sized cutouts, etc for her wedding.”

“We do this all the time for friend’s weddings and events, and we never charge.”

“We’re happy to help out and it’s usually a lot of fun working together to make some cool stuff.”

“A few weeks before the wedding, her wedding planner tells us they need all the items by X date so they can set it up for the wedding.”

“At this point, we hadn’t received our wedding invitations and didn’t even know when the actual wedding was.”

“My wife texts her and tries to clarify when the wedding is and if we missed the invitation somehow.”

“Her cousin replies and says ‘Oh we downsized the wedding and we decided to have like a close friends and family thing’ and that they didn’t have space for us in the small venue.”

“My wife and I are pretty hurt and insulted.”

“And on top of it, we’ve spent close to $2000 on all the materials.”

“Her cousin and the wedding planner kept making tiny revisions to the artwork, had us print samples to see how it would look in person, resized several of the items a few times, etc.”

“All that cost a ton of time and money.”

“And we’re a functioning business, so we either had to delay other orders or stay late and print her stuff on our own time.”

“So I went ahead and billed her for our cost and said we needed payment before delivery because I’m not going to chase her for payment for months/years after the wedding.”

“We’re not making money on it, just charged her for the cost of materials.”

“So far we’ve gotten threatening calls from the cousin, her fiancée, some random members of my wife’s family that I don’t know, some of the groomsmen, etc essentially calling us a**holes.”

“After the harassment, I’m considering charging full price or else we won’t deliver the items.”

“Sorry but I’m not going to waste my hard earned time and money on someone who doesn’t even consider us ‘close friends and family.'”

“Are we the a**holes here?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“‘Sorry, we had to downsize the discount to cover close friends and family only.'”

NTA.”  ~ Braign

“Yeah I say go ahead and charge full price.”

“Their behavior is straight up tacky. NTA.” ~ stop_spam_calls

“Good and supportive friends and family offer to pay full price.”

“I’ve got a tiny business.”

“And even though I try to hook my mom up she often stashes the money, or one time literally threw it at me and took off (we were at a market) lol.”

“I have finally convinced her it’s okay to not pay because of how much she helps with my kids but before that? Nope.”

“She often overpaid!”

“Friends and family that expect you to work for them for free are the worst, in my opinion.”

“Obviously nothing wrong with CHOOSING to discount their services at your discretion but expecting it is a jerk move.” ~ slynnc

“I’m a freelance artist, I get a lot of ‘Will you draw my kid for their birthday? What do you mean you charge $X. Aren’t we friends/family?'”

“But I ain’t heard from you in ages, and you gonna try and have me paint you something for free… NAH.”

“Also, totally NTA OP!” ~ OkamiKhameleon

“This is an adult response with kindness and reality thrown in.”

“You are giving them a gift – you have lost profit, slowed completion of projects for paying customers, and have used your personal time to work on her various projects.”

“In fact, I would bill the full amount (including every revision) then show the ‘discount’ as a wedding gift.”

“Take the high road but list the cost of the toll and bill for the materials.”

“If anyone asks, you have given them quite a lovely and generous gift but are making your worth clear. NTA.”  ~ uDontInterestMe

“I suspect that the cousin never intended to send an invitation.” ~ Wombat_in_boots

“This! I bet she just thought you were going to do them a favor and then feel too uncomfortable to charge them when you realized you weren’t invited.”

“And considering they’re threatening you now they’re probably still holding out hope you’ll back down DON’T DO IT! NTA.” ~ doodle-bop-

“NTA… they can’t expect a wedding gift from people who didn’t make the cut.”

“Once you and your wife were cut, it became a business transaction and you have every right to bill them & receive payment before delivery.” ~ Few-Entrepreneur383

“NTA. They used you. Look at how much money they saved.”

“$2000 is not a normal wedding gift.”

“I suggest from now on you ask to be paid but give a discount.”

“You shouldn’t end up in the red because of a gift unless you can write it off.”

“Ask yourself if they never intended to invite you and just wanted free services.” ~ tatersprout

OP responded…

“It usually ends up being a couple hundred dollars max.”

“The constant revisions and re-prints jacked the price up considerably, we were still at that awkward stage where we couldn’t exactly tell them ‘heyyy so this is getting kinda expensive.'”

Reddit continued…

“As a graphic designer of 25 or so years, the only time I ever seem to have this problem is when I’m doing a free/favor project for someone.”

“People don’t value something that costs them nothing.”

“Also NTA, if you don’t qualify for a ‘close friends and family’ wedding, then they obviously don’t qualify for a ‘close friends and family’ discounted rate.” ~ efxmatt

“I recently engaged a company for some custom printing, and their quote included two revisions, plus a fixed fee for each revision after that.”

“Totally fair and reasonable.”

“OP is NTA and should charge full price.”

“And give the bride and groom the number of their competitor if they don’t want to pay.” ~ LunchboxDiablo

“I get so mad at people like your cousin, because they ruin it for everyone.”

“Now you’re going to have to write up contracts and invoices in case the next person screws you over too.”

“Instead of just getting to do a nice thing for someone who is super appreciative of your hard work and kindness.”

“I just had to start charging cancellation fees again because someone who knew better screwed me over for a scheduled Friday photoshoot.”

“Fridays in the fall are super precious where I am.”

“So now she’s fired as a client and I have to start putting cancellation clauses in the pre-shoot paperwork again. Blech.”

“I don’t like doing cancellation fees because I prefer when people cancel if they are sick, rather than exposing me and also being unhappy with their photos because they look sick in them.”

“But this client just was tired and didn’t want to, even though her assistant was supposed to be my point person and we were just photographing products, not people.”

“So now I can’t trust anyone anymore.”

“Sorry about the venting, but just… I know how you feel!” ~ ninaa1

“NTA They deliberately didn’t tell you that you weren’t invited so that you would do all that work for free.”

“Not to mention, even if you were invited, they would be super rude to keep demand so much of you!” ~ Fantastic-Focus-7056

“NTA, and I hope this doesn’t completely ruin your faith in people for all similar future events.”

“What you’ve been doing is a beautiful thing.”

“So I hope you’re still willing to try it continue doing it going forward.”

“Though with a conversation ahead of time, maybe along the lines of ‘Just FYI, we won’t be charging you for this, as this will be our gift.'”

“‘So when we show up on the day of, our present will be hanging over the gift pile, not sitting in it!’ or something to that effect.”

“Or you could charge half, or for materials, or whatever.”

“But either way, I’m sure your prior recipients were as grateful and appreciative as these people were not.”

“So I’d hate to see your lovely and generous practice discontinued over this (although you’d be totally in your rights to do that, of course).”

“Either way, extreme NTA.”

“This sort of stuff really needs to be hashed out before money is spent and materials are used.”

“Friends and family are the WORST for this kind of thing – people find all kinds of ways to justify taking advantage of relatives and loved ones because ‘family’ is an excellent guilt tool.”

“That said, NTA. Never work for free.”

“Absolutely charge them full price.” ~ GremlinAtWork

OP came back once again…

“It usually ends up being $200-300 hundred dollars max because people understand we’re doing a favor and have the decency not to request dozens of tiny changes that nobody will ever notice.”

“We definitely learned our lesson.”

Well OP, Reddit understands your frustration.

And is clearly ok with you charging.

There is a lot to unpack here.

Maybe have a shot and meeting with a therapist about your feelings.

Charge first. Good luck.