Aren’t wedding parties the best thing ever? There’s lots of food and lots of drink. There’s music, dancing and dressing up. Everyone’s in a good mood and all the single people feel, you know, a bit frisky. Trouble is, how often do your friends and family get hitched? Not enough is what we say! There were 234, 464 weddings last year in the UK alone. That’s nearly a quarter of a million parties you could have been to in 2013 – that you missed. What’s that you say? You weren’t invited? Don’t let a little thing like that put you off. Who needs to wait for an invitation to a wedding when, with a little bit ingenuity, you can go to any wedding you like.
Without giving too much away, we have form in this department. We have a very particular set of skills. Skills that enable us to crash any wedding, any time. And now you can too. Folks, put a carnation in your buttonhole. Here’s everything you need to know to successfully crash a wedding party.
The best weddings to crash
You can’t just crash any old wedding reception. Some are far too small and you’ll soon be noticed. Others are just too risky. Wedding reception on a yacht? You may want to slip a life jacket on under that smart waistcoat, sailor. While it may be easy to slip into the back room of a Working Men’s Club – there’s little fun to be had from sticky floors and buying your own beer. So, we use the Robin Hood rule. Only crash big, rich weddings in public places. The more people in the crowd, the easier it is to disappear into it. The more money in the room, the less they’ll miss a few canapes and a glass or two of Cava. As for location, hotel wedding receptions are by far the best and easiest weddings to crash. There will already be more people coming and going than anyone can keep track of. Bonus points if it’s a hotel that you’re staying in (see also: crashing conference parties).
Get suited and booted
You’ll need to dress the part. A pair of Converse and Bermuda shorts will get you ejected before you get close to the complementary Bucks Fizz. For blokes, we recommend a minimum outfit of:
- White shirt
- Dark jacket
- Dark tie
- Clean shoes
Ideally you should be wearing a suit but in these times of horribly lax etiquette you’ll probably get away with a pair of chinos and a suit jacket. Everything should be clean and pressed. Pro tip: that’s another reason why hotel weddings are best to crash – on-site laundry facilities. A morning suit may sound like a smashing idea, but it isn’t. Only the groom, the ushers, best man and bride and groom’s father will be dressed that smartly and you’ll soon be caught if you try to match them. Ladies, you don’t need us to tell you how to scrub up. Just don’t forget your hat.
The best time to crash
Wedding celebrations are usually divided into four parts; the ceremony, the meal, the speeches and the party. There are pros and cons to crashing each stage:
- If you’re there from the beginning, you won’t stand out as much later on.
- There’s a good chance an usher may want to see your invite. Observe carefully from a distance and, if that’s the case, retreat and double back after the vows.
- Free food and booze!
- The meal’s where everyone gets to know each other, which gives you a chance to build your cover.
- If it’s a sit-down meal, be prepared to have your cover blown very soon. Tables are likely to have place-names planned, there will have been head-counts and special menus prepared for veggie and gluten free folk. Rookies should stick to buffets.
- Brilliant for gathering intel. Sneak in during the speeches and hover at the back to listen in. Wear a white shirt and black tie to camouflage yourself as a waiter.
- Boring! Even people who know the bride and groom will be nodding off during this bit.
- Free booze! Drunken fun! This is by far the easiest and the best part of the day to crash.
- Some people are only invited to the “night do” so your sudden appearance won’t be too suspect.
- At some point, there will be a fight. Make sure you don’t start it.
Camouflage as a couple
No one goes to a wedding on their own, so it’s always better to take a friend. If you can persuade a date to crash with you, even better. Couples melt into the background at weddings. We’ll stop short of suggesting you take a child too. But if you’ve got one to hand… If you have to go on your own, don’t worry – mingle. Weddings are parties; that’s what they’re for! But as you settle in, do try to find a group you can get lost in. Look for a bunch of people closer to your age and hang out near them. The other guests will assume you came with them
Bride or groom?
The one question strangers are guaranteed to ask is “are you with the bride or groom?” You’re going to need to pick a side pretty early on to make your infiltration convincing. Don’t let this catch you out, like the German secret service agent wishing you good luck as you attempt to escape from Stalag Luft III. Get in their first. Whoever they’re with, bride or groom – say you’re with the other lot.
We’re just friends
Distance yourself from the bride and groom as much as possible. Every wedding has a couple of friends of friends in attendance – that’s perfectly normal. The key is plausible deniability. Once you’ve picked a side you can say, with some confidence, that your partner works with the groom – or she was at Uni with the bride. Shrug and say “I don’t really know anyone!” It has the virtue of being absolutely true. Unless you really thrive on the thrill of getting caught, never pretend to be family. You’ll always encounter someone who’ll want to know your entire history and draw it as an impromptu family tree on the back of a napkin.
You might think the best way not to get noticed would be to keep quiet, stay in one place and not draw a great deal of attention to yourself. But who behaves like that at a party? Just relax, have fun and blend in. If you’re going to the bar, bring back drinks for the table. When everyone toasts the bride and groom, join in. If Auntie Madge beckons you to the dance floor for The Birdie Song, strut your stuff. Don’t be a sitting duck, you’ll get noticed and you may get shot. Just relax, have fun and blend in.
Steer clear of the top table
Every wedding party has one. During the meals and speeches, the bride and groom, the best man and chief bridesmaid and all the parents have a table to themselves facing everyone else. Treat this area like a minefield. Pretend this is a lookout post, bristling with CCTV and searchlights. If anyone’s going to rumble you, it’ll be this lot. All it takes is for one of them to spot you, turn to the person next to them and ask who you are. Before you can say “the party’s over” the party will be over. As the speeches segue into the night do, you can relax a bit. Everyone will be too squiffy to care by the time the disco starts. Your work here is done. Apart from…
Take lots of pictures
Whenever someone leaves their camera unattended, grab it and snap a few selfies. This won’t help you crash the party more effectively, but it will confuse the hell out of people when they pop down to Boots t0 collect their prints the week after.