The Receptionist

The movie Wedding Crashers became number one at the box office after playing in theaters for several weeks. The word-of-mouth on this movie has made it a hit. Vince Vaughn is hysterical. (Swingers, a 1996 movie starring Vaughn, is one of my favorite comedies.) My friends ask me how Wedding Crashers compares to the weddings I've crashed. It doesn't compare. Unlike the crashers in the movie, I can't make balloon animals, and I've never used a fake Purple Heart for free drinks and sympathy. (I'm not saying I'm above such things; just never thought of them.) I figured I'd crash a few weddings in July to tie in with the film.

The first one I crashed was in Oceanside. A Samoan family that lives near my parents have a daughter named Sarona who was getting married at a place called Natural Reflections. Natural Reflections looks like Hawaii, with tropical trees and bushes and a pond filled with lily pads. It rained the night before Sarona's wedding, and I wondered if the outdoor wedding would be ruined. At the wedding I overheard one person say, "I bet they were shitting last night with that thunderstorm."

The day was clear and sunny (and too hot to be wearing a suit at 11:00 a.m.). Several wedding guests wore Hawaiian shirts. The wedding party had more people in it than I've ever seen. (I didn't count, but I'm guessing eight groomsmen and eight bridesmaids.) One of the groomsmen had a mohawk. I wondered if anyone had asked him to cut it off for the wedding. When I was in my early 20s and in many weddings, I had friends ask me to cut my hair (which was long), and one couple asked me to shave off the beard I had at the time. (I had to wear a kilt in that wedding, so the beard stayed.)

I got a cell-phone call before the ceremony started. I wondered how many weddings get interrupted by folks who forget to turn off their cell phones. I told my friend that I was crashing a wedding, and he said, "You're not supposed to go to the wedding ceremony. Those are boring. Just show up at the reception." In Wedding Crashers, Vince Vaughn's and Owen Wilson's characters went to the ceremony to scope out the women they would try to seduce at the reception.

When one of the bridesmaids was walking down the aisle, I noticed a tattoo on her shoulder. One of her male friends yelled out, "What's on your shoulder?" He laughed. She didn't.

I sat behind an older couple from Hawaii. They were talking about the humidity and bugs on the islands.

The ceremony was interesting and didn't last too long. The person who performed it (I don't think he was a priest) told jokes. I overheard one guest ask, "Was that guy drunk? He mispronounced Sarona's name four times before finally calling her 'honey.'"

The reception was at Camp Pendleton. The hall wasn't ready when we got there, but it opened soon after.

The food was excellent. There was prime rib, chicken, and salmon, with sides of potatoes and salads. They did charge for alcohol, so a Purple Heart might've come in handy.

The dances were entertaining. I heard one guy say, "I don't usually see women in bikinis at wedding receptions. This is cool." Two women came out to hula, one thin and the other heavy. I said to a guy at my table, "You get the gal on the left; I get the one on the right." He didn't laugh. "I don't think my wife would care for that," he said.

One of the flower girls, who was about four years old, did a Tahitian dance.

On each table was a box of coffee beans. My parents told me later that Sarona's family had been working on those boxes in their garage for weeks, sawing and sanding. It gave me horrible flashbacks to the seventh-grade wood shop class I almost failed.

As I was leaving I overheard one lady say, "The invitation said it was an adult reception and no children, but I see kids here."

Because I left Sarona's reception so late, I didn't make it in time for the next wedding, just their reception.

This wedding party was at the newly married couple's house in Scripps Ranch. It was also a Hawaiian-themed party, so I went home for an appropriate shirt. I could've worn a Hawaiian shirt to both affairs.

Their house was huge. I noticed several game balls from the San Francisco 49ers in their living room. I found out later that the groom played for the 49ers for five years.

I grabbed a glass of wine and found the friend who had given me the heads-up on this reception. My friend wanted to look around the house, so we went upstairs. There were more bathrooms in this house than any house I'd ever been in. I thought that I shouldn't have quit Pop Warner Football after two seasons. One bedroom had a balcony, and I shouted to the kid playing basketball below, "I challenge you to a game of horse." He told me to come down.

I like playing horse -- you can shoot from behind parked cars, or one-handed from the middle of the street. (For the record, I kicked his ass.) When we were washing our hands, before heading out back to the BBQ, the kid told me that his girlfriend was the groom's sister. After I got food, I saw the kid and his girlfriend dancing in front of the band (a guitarist and a guy on steel drums).

There was a person making margaritas, and I grabbed one. As I arrived at my table, a person walked by with freshly baked cookies. I said to him, "You're my new best friend," and took one.

I was talking to a guy who worked for the Orlando Sentinel years ago. He told me he wrote a story about a woman who helped the mentally challenged on weekends. He couldn't think of a headline so he just wrote "Woman Helps Retards" until he thought of a better one. After he wrote the story, he forgot about his working title and had to stop the printing presses.

One woman at this party brought her 17-month-old baby. Everyone was saying that the baby looked just like her. I couldn't tell. Babies all look the same to me. Everyone else thinks they look just like their parents. I'd love to see a study done with adopted babies. I guarantee the same number of people would say things like, "The baby has your nose."

I left the second reception stuffed from eating so much, which was the only thing I had in common with Vince Vaughn's character from Wedding Crashers.

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.

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