Some brides and grooms choose their wedding flowers, ceremony site and menu with the utmost care, only to end up with more than they bargained for in terms of guest attendance. That's right; people actually do crash weddings, and it's not just due to the popularity of "Wedding Crashers," the 2005 movie starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. In fact, uninvited guests have been showing up to ceremonies and receptions long before the flick ever hit the silver screen, and they'll still be doing it after the movie has faded into a barely-remembered piece of Hollywood history.
If you're like most of us and only attend a wedding after you've sent back your R.S.V.P. card, you might be wondering why people feel the urge to show up uninvited to a complete stranger's nuptials. The answers are as varied as they are ridiculous. Some people just really enjoy a good party, others are looking for free food, booze and romance, and the less-than-savory crashers have nefarious plans for the gift table. Most crashers are harmless, but if you're concerned that your reception site is less than secure, you might consider designating a trusted friend, family member or site staff member to keep an eye out for suspicious characters. The last thing you want is your new china gracing the kitchen table of a thief.
Read the next page to find out what happened when the hottest teen superstar on the planet crashed a stranger's wedding.
Better Than Your Average D.J.
Often, the happy couple has no inkling that a crasher was in their midst until the online photo gallery reveals perfect strangers dancing, toasting and otherwise making merry. Everyone wanted pics of the uninvited guests, however, when teen heartthrob Justin Bieber and his equally famous girlfriend, pop star Selena Gomez, crashed a 2011 reception in Malibu.
All the guests were shocked when the pair showed up while one Bieber's songs was being performed via karaoke. According to those in attendance, the duo heard the tune while they were driving by the party, so they decided to make a pit stop and surprise the celebration. Unfortunately, the guests weren't treated to an impromptu Bieber concert, but the world-famous singing sensation did pose for pictures with the happy couple before departing.
What's that noise you just heard? It was the collective sound of pre-teen girls around the globe sighing in hopes that the Biebs will show up at their respective Sweet Sixteen parties.
From the Country Club to the Clink
Plenty of crashers are simply out to have a good time. Others, unfortunately, are looking for more than a little free fun, food and drink. A pair of nicely-dressed Massachusetts women learned the hard way that crashing can be criminal, even if no one at the event knows who you are.
Jenna Dasaro and Summer Igoe were arrested after they attended a wedding reception in May 2011 where they made off with more than the requisite party favor. The two were identified via video surveillance, and a police search turned up several of the gifts and gift cards stolen from the reception. Overall, the theft was valued at $2,800. We wonder if the crashers plan to send the newlyweds an apology card from the clink.
Almost every couple winds up hosting at least a few people that didn't make the guest list. This unfortunate taboo happens for several reasons. One of the most common is the uninvited "plus one," which occurs when a guest assumes that he can bring a date, even though the critical "and guest" is missing from the envelope. In a similar vein, plenty of parents have been known to show up with kids in tow that weren't invited. This isn't such a big deal if the children are well behaved, but many a bride and groom have shunned a friend that allowed their uninvited toddler to wail his way through the ceremony.
Heather in Atlanta looked the other way when an unwitting crasher and his date showed up at her 2007 nuptials. Her best guess is that the offender innocently assumed that his invitation got lost in the mail. "We didn't mind because they barely made the cut list in the first place, so we were glad in the end for them to come," said Heather, who remains friends with the guest today.
Renee in Memphis is one of few brides that not only knew her 1996 nuptials were being crashed, but encouraged the behavior! Renee's family noticed several men dressed in jeans and cowboy hats enjoying appetizers and drinks at her Wisconsin reception. Her father approached the group and learned that they were professional truck drivers that heard the party from the hotel bar upstairs and decided to check out the festivities.
"About an hour after they came in, we did the Dollar Dance. As the DJ was announcing it, one of the men walked up to my maid of honor and offered his cowboy hat to collect the money, then tossed in $50," Renee remembers. "I danced with him and he thanked me for letting him and his buddies crash our reception. They had been on the road for a week and were enjoying talking to new people!"
Crashing True Love
Most people spend their second date taking in dinner and a movie, or something equally mundane. Tashana Landray and Angus MacLane decided to throw caution to the wind and crash a random wedding and reception. The pair chose their event based on details they found on public wedding Web sites, going so far as to concoct false stories about how they knew the happy couple. They brought a silly gift, took photos, mingled with guests and even spent time with the bride's family before calling it a night.
Acting as co-conspirators must have irreversibly bonded them, because the couple married in 2005 following a four-year courtship. Of course, their guest list wouldn't have been complete unless they included the couple whose wedding they crashed during their relationship's infancy. The crashees declined their invitation, which is unfortunate, since it probably would have made for some interesting pictures and stories.
Wedding guest lists are getting smaller. But it's not just because weddings are getting more expensive. HowStuffWorks looks at the microwedding trend.
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- Why are wedding invitations so expensive?
More Great Links
- Adib, Desiree. "Pop Star Justin Beiber is on the Brink of Superstardom." ABC News. Nov. 14, 2009. (Aug. 28, 2011) http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Weekend/teen-pop-star-justin-bieber-discovered-youtube/story?id=9068403
- Associated Press. "Real life wedding crashers arrested in Mass." CBS Channel 6, WRGB. June 2, 2011. (Aug. 16, 2011) http://www.cbs6albany.com/articles/crashers-1285556-life-mass.html
- Good Morning America. "Real-life Wedding Crashers Return the Favor." Good Morning America. Dec. 30, 2005. (Aug. 16, 2011) http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=1455304
- Heather in Atlanta. Personal interview conducted by Alia Hoyt. Aug. 15, 2011.
- Knot, the. "Wedding Guests: How to Deal With Wedding Crashers." The Knot. 2011. (Aug. 16, 2011) http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-guests/articles/how-to-deal-with-wedding-crashers.aspx
- Murphy, Ryan. "How to: Crash a Wedding." Ask Men. 2011. (Aug. 17, 2011) http://www.askmen.com/money/how_to_200/241b_how_to.html
- Polish American Cultural Center. "Polish Wedding Traditions." (Aug. 19, 2011) http://www.polishamericancenter.org/PolishWeddingTraditionsInstructionBooklet.pdf
- Renee in Memphis. Personal interview conducted by Alia Hoyt. Aug. 15, 2011.
- Schwartz, Alison. "Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are Wedding Crashers." July 18, 2011. (Aug. 16, 2011) http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20511025,00.html