Brother of the Bride Goes Viral for Bringing Llama as His Wedding Date

alpaca wedding bowtiePortrait of three tame alpacas wearing bow ties. (Getty Images)

Never underestimate a younger brother’s determination to follow through on a practical joke. On Sunday, March 1, 21-year-old Mendl Weinstock fulfilled a promise five years in the making, by bringing a llama to his sister Riva’s wedding as his date. 

According to CNN, Mendl and Riva were on a road trip together with a few of her friends back in 2015 when the girls started talking about a hypothetical wedding. Riva, then 17, wasn’t dating at the time, and the group’s non-stop chatter about her hypothetical wedding started to get on Wendl’s nerves.At one point, he threatened he wouldn’t even attend the nuptials. 

“I said, ‘If you make me come to this wedding, I’m going to bring a llama with me,’” he said. “It was just the first thing that popped into my head.” 

Riva was understandably upset by Mendl’s proclamation, and eventually  told him, “I give up. The llama is invited to the wedding.”

Riva likely thought that the joke was just that—a joke—but as soon as she got engaged last October, it was all Mendl would talk about. “When he sets his mind to something, he makes it happen,” she told Insider. “Literally, I called him to tell him I was engaged, and his response was, ‘Great, I’m calling the llama farm now.’ Probably not even an hour later, I got a text that said his llama rental was confirmed.”

Mendl rented a llama from a farm near Cleveland for $400. The llama’s name? Shockey. To make matters even better/worse, Mendl enlisted the help of a coworker to custom-sew a tuxedo for Shockey, and the pals topped off the llama’s look with a yarmulke.

“He has been torturing me with this, in good fun, and has been reminding me of this probably twice a week for the last five years,” Riva told Insider of Mendl’s elaborate plan. “I have tried striking so many deals, I have tried doing literally everything possible to make sure it didn’t happen, and lo and behold, there was a llama at my wedding.”

At the wedding itself, Mendl requested that Riva at least take one photo with Shockey, and she obliged. The resulting photo, in which Riva, clad in her wedding gown, is shooting daggers at an excited Mendl, who is patting the llama’s back, has since gone viral. As of Wednesday afternoon, the photo, posted to Reddit, has more than 156,000 upvotes. And while Riva had to return to other wedding duties, Shockey was able to stick around the wedding hall for about 30 minutes, posing for pictures with guests.

5 years ago I promised my sister I would bring a llama to her wedding from r/pics

Asked by Insider about why she thought the photo went viral, she said, “I think it’s my facial expression, because I really don’t look particularly thrilled with the situation, but I think that’s what got people’s attention. That was my face from the moment I walked outside, and it was completely intentional. That’s pretty much my face constantly when I look at my brother.”

Later in the evening, the llama gags continued: two inflatable llamas wearing star-shaped sunglasses were placed at the sweetheart table by her friend. Clearly, the joke is one that will outlast the wedding itself. But that’s just fine, Riva told CNN, because she knows that she’ll get her little brother back sooner rather than later: possibly at his college graduation, which is just around the corner.

“I’ve definitely started planning my revenge,” she said. “He should sleep with one eye open.”