Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 49: Wedding Crasher

A couple of weeks after starting the blog, I received an email from a girl from my hometown named Carrie.

"Love your blog," it read, "you should start a food fight as something you've never done before."

Love. It.

I hope she won't be offended by this, but I'm not really sure what Carrie is to me. I wouldn't be so bold as to call us friends, because we really don't keep in touch or ever see each other. To call her an acquaintance seems cold and not quite right. She's more than that. To say she's just some girl from my hometown implies that we once knew each other but have since had a falling out and that's not the case either.

Her first email kicked off an exhange between us, and she revealed she also had a blog that she hasn't yet had the guts to promote. Well, I love promotion, so her blog is: You know what, now that I'm thinking about it, I consider anyone that reads my blog a friend, so Carrie and I are friends. There. I said it.

One of the last emails that I got from Carrie came in when I was on my trip to California and Boston. It read, "Ever crashed a wedding? I know one on November 14th that's pretty low risk!"
I had to read it twice to completely understand. Did this girl just tell me to crash her wedding?

Hmmmm...My mind went to (where else?) the movie Wedding Crashers. Two dudes, making up aliases and going to weddings they aren't invited to to meet girls and hook-up. Ok, so this wouldn't be exactly like that. I'd have to go as myself, I would know other people there and the bride has thrown it out there, so it's not a full-on crash, but I liked the blog potential.

I shared this email with my friends who were invited to the wedding and were staying with me for the weekend. "Should I really crash her wedding?"

"Heck ya!" they both said, "Awesome."

With full support from those with an actual invite, I made Day 49's thing I've never done before crash a wedding.

I told my friend Katy what I was doing. She looked confused and said, "You go to weddings all the time. Why would you go to one that you weren't invited to?"

It's true. Like a lot of people in their twenties, I have made a second career out of weddings. I have become a professional wedding guest and bridesmaid, attending more than 60 weddings since college (at the request of a co-worker, I actually counted them) and have been a bridesmaid 12 times.

So Katy's inquiry was valid. Why, after finally having a weekend off, would you want to go to another wedding? This was going to be different, though. Dangerous. Well, not really, the bride told me to come. But still, having been to so many weddings that I was invited to, I'll know exactly what to do and how to act.

Carrie's wedding day arrived and it was beautiful. "A perfect day to crash a wedding!" I said to Mark and Jen.

In the days and weeks leading up to the wedding, I really wasn't nervous about pulling this off. But when we were getting ready, I started to get nervous. What if Carrie was just kidding about me crashing her wedding? What if she freaks when she sees me show up?

Mark and Jen assured me it was fine and it was going to be fun and a great opportunity for the blog. Plus, we all decided that a wedding ceremony is just like a church service. That's all it is. I'm just going to church, on a Saturday night. So what if there is a girl in a white dress standing up in front? No biggie. This was a big wedding/church service. There is a good chance Carrie and her husband won't even know I'm there.

The ceremony was lovely and I surveyed the crowd and saw several familiar faces from my hometown. I even saw a couple that was at my brother's wedding back in September. I was feeling good about just laying low, blending in and not revealing to anyone that I wasn't actually invited. A great plan, until the pastor invited everyone forward for communion, a practice that would require walking in front of the entire congregation and the bride and groom.

Sorry if it is sacrilege to say this about communion, but shit.

We filed out of our pew and began our approach to the altar and I felt like everyone's eyes were boring into the back of my head. "Who is this girl?!" I could hear them whispering. "She does NOT belong here!"

We made it to the altar and it wasn't long before I made eye contact with Carrie. Her eyes widened and a huge smile appeared on her face. I think she was genuinely surprised (or shocked or horrified) that I actually came. She nudged her fiance and whispered something into his ear. Not sure what, exactly, but in my head, I imagined it was something like, "Whit, please tell security that there is a wedding crasher who will be making her way to our reception soon. Have them ready to take her down."

But Whit smiled too, so maybe this was going to be ok. So much for laying low, though.

The wedding was a success and it was on to the second half of the evening, the reception at the beautiful Piedmont Driving Club on Piedmont Park. Shockingly, in the 60+ weddings I've been to, I hadn't ever been to a reception there.

I thought that after making eye contact with the bride and groom and receiving approving smiles that I would feel like I was home free, but as we're pulling up to the valet, I had another sick feeling. I shared it with the group.

"What if this reception is a sit-down dinner?"

I pictured us all walking in and Mark and Jen finding their place cards and ditching me with nowhere to sit. I told them that if that happened, I would walk to a friend's apartment, which was right down the street. But they were as much a part of this experience as I was, so they said if that was the case, we could share the two seats between the three of us. One person would just have to be up walking around at all times. That would likely garner strange reactions from the other people seated at their table, but it was a risk we were all willing to take.

We walked into reception, which was gorgeous, and I was relieved that there were no signs of seating cards or numbered tables. Safe again!

The reception was fantastic and I was ready to take advantage of all that it had to offer. Mark, Jen, our other friend Myles and I found a table and set up camp. From there we had access to the delicious food and the photo book (that's right, this reception had a photo booth).
We eventually moved closer to the dance floor to enjoy the band. We even got a bonus performance by the groom and his band. I felt safe on the dance floor and tried to stay huddled to my friends. I only left twice: one time to get wedding cake, and another time to talk someone.
She was the girl that was at my brother's wedding. She said, "So how do you know Carrie?"

This made me nervous, so I just started rambling, "Well, Carrie and I actually knew each other in high school. She went to Chapin, I went to Irmo. . ." and then I just decided to tell her, "but I actually wasn't invited," I went on. "She told me to come with Mark and Jen. They're staying at my house."

She smiled reluctantly and then I watched her quickly scan the room, presumably to figure out a way she could make her getaway. We'd already been talking for a while and she must've been worried that people might associate her with the wedding crasher.

Before we parted ways, she said, "Yeah, Matt and I were wondering what you were doing here."


I guess that's the tricky part about crashing a wedding where you actually know some of the guests. If there is any question as to your relationship to the bride or groom, chances are it's going to be brought up in conversation. I think I might've been better off just going to a complete stranger's wedding and not conversed with anyone.

I returned to Mark, Jen and Myles, who not only didn't mind being with the wedding crasher, I think they enjoyed it. And we rarely left the dance floor all night. In fact, it was the dance floor where I came face to face with the bride.

Carrie, like all brides, had been like a pinball bouncing from one group to the next, and while there were several invited guests who were waiting to talk to her, I couldn't miss my chance to tell her, "You look beautiful! Thanks for not calling security!"

She said she couldn't believe that I actually came, but she loved it. Or at least she said she did. She was so cool, I looked at the leftover crab claws and considered starting that food fight she had suggested. Knock out two of her ideas in one night. I figured it best to not push my luck, though.

Congratulations Carrie and Whit! You throw a great party. It couldn't have been more fun if I was actually invited.