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"When he sets his mind to something, he makes it happen," she said. "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."

Indeed, when Riva got married in Cleveland on Sunday, Shocky the llama joined the festivities. Mendl even commissioned a custom llama-sized tuxedo for the big day.

wedding photo with llama

Riva and Mendl Weinstock with the llama. 
New Image Photography courtesy of Riva Weinstock

Since Riva knew to expect the gag, she bargained with her brother to make it as unobtrusive as possible.

"I promised him that I would take one picture," she said. "I said, 'I will not stand next to the llama, I will not touch the llama, but I will take one picture.' My friends can attest that I went outside, I took exactly one picture, and then I went right back inside and was not having any more of it."

One photo was all it took. Mendl posted the picture on Reddit, where it has received over 154,000 upvotes.

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

Riva said she had no idea that an inside joke with her brother would go this viral — especially since there's precedent for bringing llamas in formalwear to weddings. There's even a whole Instagram account, @weddingllamas, devoted to the subject. But she said she thought their playful sibling rivalry and her unamused glare made enough people laugh to kick-start the photo's internet fame.

"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," she said. "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."

The joke continued inside the wedding hall, where friends placed inflatable llamas on their chairs at the sweetheart table.

llamas wedding

The llama theme continued in the banquet hall. 
Courtesy of Riva Weinstock

The llama stayed at the wedding for about half an hour, posing for pictures with guests before returning to its farm about an hour outside Cleveland.

Riva said she's already planning to make Mendl pay for his prank.

"He better sleep with one eye open, because I will definitely be exacting some revenge," she said.

 

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