We all had a chuckle while watching Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn sneak their way into stranger’s wedding celebrations in a bid to get lucky with a bridesmaid or another attractive guest in the comedy movie Wedding Crashers. But when it happens in real life, it is far from a funny situation.
People have varying views on what constitutes wedding crashing. Does taking a back seat in a local church while a wedding is underway count? Or what about stopping during a walk along the beach or through a local park to watch a couple exchange vows?
There are some cultures where weddings continue to be an all-of-community affair, where there is an open invitation for any and all to join in the celebration. But Australian weddings are becoming more intimate and couples are becoming more budget-conscious, often having to exclude acquaintances in order to afford the venue they desire, or to be able to physically fit all of their guests into said venue.
When this is happening on a regular basis, it is fair to say that while wedding ceremony crashers who stand by to witness a ceremony in a public place are a somewhat acceptable species of crasher.
What is unacceptable, and has raised the ire of couples around the world, is when people go out of their way to attend a private ceremony or reception and eat, drink and celebrate at the expense of the couple or their host, without an invitation to do so. THESE are the unacceptable species of wedding crashers.
The responses to the question, “Is it rude to attend a wedding you haven’t been invited to?” saw varying responses from Easy Weddings celebrants.
Marry Me Marilyn says culture is a large indicator of whether it is rude or to be expected.
“For example, in the Dutch culture, anyone who knows the couple from work or socially can attend the church wedding ceremony and can attend what they call the reception, which is drinks and nibbles. But only family and close friends attend the wedding dinner, or what we call the reception. Most commonly in Australia people should wait to be invited to a wedding due to the way we organise weddings and the associated restrictions and costs.”
On the other end of the scale, Robyn Paterson Celebrant says, “I don’t see the problem with attending a wedding that you have not been invited to. Weddings are expensive events and families cannot always afford to invite everyone, but are happy for everyone to attend the wedding service and selected guests to attend the celebration after.”
Cassidy Civil Celebrant says while what some consider wedding crashing is not “the norm,” it is not uncommon either.
“Etiquette would say wait for the invite. Many people have ceremony-only invites as they have limited space at the reception, however the same is also true of ceremony space, sometimes it too is limited.”
There are countless stories about celebrities or presidents (like former US President Barack Obama) crashing weddings, but it’s safe to say that unless you are a high profile person, it will generally be frowned upon and could result in you having a not-so-subtle request to leave… immediately.