It was supposed to be a joke. In 2015, Mendl Weinstock, of Cleveland, Ohio, jokingly promised his sister, Riva Weinstock, that he would attend her future wedding with a llama. At the time, Riva thought it was just a joke. He couldn’t have been serious.
Fast forward five years later, and Mendl kept his promise. He brought a llama to her nuptials on March 1, 2020. Was his sister pleased with the surprise? Or was she angry? This was definitely a wedding no one would forget anytime soon.
Making The Promise
This odd promise all began during a 2015 road trip from Ohio to Indiana with some friends. Riva, then 17, was talking to her teenage friends about their future weddings. Of course, none of them were engaged at the time, but they were acting like they were ready to get married the next day. Eventually, Mendl became annoyed with the conversation.
“She was talking about her wedding, planning it, making plans almost as if it was going to happen the next day, even though she wasn’t dating anybody at the time,” Mendl explained. Finally, he had enough.
“Sitting in a car for five hours listening to this was driving me crazy. So, I wanted to see if I could get a reaction out of her,” he remarked. Well, he didn’t have to worry about not surprising his sister. “I said, ‘If you make me come to this wedding, I’m going to bring a llama with me. It was the first thing that popped into my head.”
Of course, Riva wasn’t too pleased and said this would ruin her special day. But she finally accepted it as a joke and said, “I give up. The llama is invited to the wedding.”
If she only knew what seeds she had planted.
Keeping His Promise
Riva got engaged in October 2019, nearly five years after Mendl made his promise. At the time of her engagement, Riva couldn’t have possibly imagined her brother would have remembered his silly promise from their road trip.
But when she called her brother and told him the happy news, she later received a text message that said his llama rental was confirmed. Riva remarked, “When my brother puts his mind to something, he gets it done. So, at some point, I had to accept it and decide that it was easier to get in on the joke than to fight it.”
Mendl began researching llama farms in Ohio. He eventually settled on Shocky, a male llama used in county fairs and shows. He rented the llama for $400 and even had a custom tuxedo made for the animal. If the llama was going to attend a wedding, he at least should follow the black-tie-optional rule.
Mendl and Shocky showed up to the wedding on March 1, 2020, and they greeted wedding guests outside the banquet halls. When Riva finally made her entrance, she wasn’t too amused at first. Her reaction was captured in a now-viral photograph, where she appears to be giving her brother a side-eye snarl. The photograph garnered more than 155,000 upvotes on Reddit and caught the attention of CNN, BuzzFeed, and various Twitter users.
One user (@newrob1999) shared her own experience with humorous brothers: “I have three brothers. The more far-fetched a threat sounds from any of them, the more I believe the threat will be carried out. I learned the hard way, too.”
Having Fun With It
Wedding guests loved the joke and even made two inflatable llamas placed at the sweetheart table. Riva knows her brother made her wedding memorable, but he should be careful. She’s ready for payback time!
“I’ve definitely started planning my revenge,” she said. “He should sleep with one eye open.”
As for Mendl and what he thinks, he had fun with it, and he knew he had to keep his promise. He stated, “When you promise something, you stick to that promise. It’s not about the llama. It’s about the fact that I made a promise to my sister five years ago, and I kept that promise. Your word means something.”
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