The Bride, The Groom, The Hostess

I have been getting requests to crash weddings. The calls have been frequent since the release of Wedding Crashers on DVD. One guy left a message that his boss was getting married at the Hotel Del Coronado. The caller didn't leave his name, but said that his boss's wedding cost $250,000 and that over $30,000 was spent on entertainment. I had plans that night and couldn't make it, but I'm curious to know who the entertainment was. If I'm spending that much on wedding entertainment, it'd better be Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes singing "Up Where We Belong."

I did attend a wedding on Shelter Island. The groom was a local guy who has done well as a touring musician, which enabled him to do something interesting. He recorded a CD of songs that he wrote and performed, all dedicated to his bride. There were CDs at each table for the guests.

The ceremony was outside by the bay and boats. I was glad to find a seat in the shade, though I almost lost my seat when I saw my friend Larry dropping off a gift. I went over to talk to him. He complained about the cost of the gift wrapping on his present. It didn't look extravagant to me, and I was shocked when he told me that the card shop Papyrus in Fashion Valley charged him $27. He said, "That's more than the gift! I told the groom not to open the present. I want the wrapping paper to last as long as possible."

One of the benefits of crashing weddings is you don't have to worry about presents. In Wedding Crashers , the crashers brought empty boxes they had wrapped. At $27 a pop, I'd rather show up empty-handed. Maybe next time I'll leave a big envelope. That should be an easy prop.

When the ceremony ended, we walked next door to the reception. At the line to get in, I approached Larry who was holding his gift. He was in the middle of a conversation, but I interrupted with, "Did you tell him about the wrapping paper?" and Larry went into his tirade.

I sat down at a table, and a big Italian guy said, "This is the Italian section. You don't look like one of us." I was trying to think of something to say when he burst into laughter.

There were seashells at each seat. Two little girls came around asking if they could have them. We gladly handed them over. The groom later told us that he and his wife had collected the shells on a beach in Florida the day after he proposed. After that explanation, the girls walked around putting the shells back in their places.

I talked to a guy who had been the groom's friend since fifth grade. I asked him if he was a musician. He said, "In eighth grade, I went into sports, and he got into music. When he was learning alto sax, he was horrible. He's an amazing musician now, and I really appreciate the stuff he plays."

A heavyset guy at our table was conversing with an attractive woman seated next to him. I couldn't hear what they were saying, aside from his occasional "We have so much in common!" She would periodically look toward the door, and about 30 minutes into the reception, her boyfriend arrived. They went outside to chat and enjoy the view.

Of the personal touches the couple put into their wedding, the one people said they didn't care for was the Ding Dong wedding cakes. It might have worked if they had thousands of Ding Dongs -- shiny, foil-wrapped cakes stacked to the ceiling. There were 180 of them. Someone at our table said, "The Ding Dongs mean something, but I'm not sure what." I replied, "It means that Hostess just made a few hundred bucks on this wedding."

The groom explained, "The first time I ever told a woman about my childhood, it was about a kid who wanted Ding Dongs for Christmas. His dad ended up buying him 365. One for each day of the year. He ran through the streets with one in each hand yelling 'Ding Dongs! Ding Dongs!' Since we have 90 guests here, we have two for each of you."

Nobody ran around the reception hall with excitement, but the kids converged on the pastries, and they were put to work. They were given baskets filled with Ding Dongs, and told to hand them out to the guests. One guy said, "I guess we won't see the bride shove cake in his face. Unless she unwraps it first. And at that point, he'll sort of see it coming."

When the little girl handed me my Ding Dongs, I noticed she was the shell thief from earlier. I said, "There are three shells on this table I've got my hands on. If there are any Ding Dongs left, and you bring me the extras, I'll gladly give up the shells." She nodded yes with a slight smile.

Five minutes later, she handed me a basket that had about 30 Ding Dongs in it. I told her I wanted one extra, and she took the rest away.

Before leaving, I walked around the room to take pictures. I overheard a couple talking about the etiquette of showing up at a reception and not the wedding. I saw a lady in a wheelchair on the dance floor having a blast. I overheard Larry telling someone else about his wrapping paper expenses. Next Christmas, I'm going to buy him scissors, tape, and wrapping paper.

In the parking lot, I talked with Leslie, who had given me the heads-up on this wedding. We saw the father of the groom walking out with a few Ding Dongs. I said to him, "You're just like me, snagging a few extras." He stopped and said, "No. I'm not going to eat them. I'm going to freeze them. I'll make my son eat them at their one-year anniversary." I said, "That will be like trying to eat a hockey puck."

Another guy walking to his car chimed in, "Hockey pucks probably taste better than Ding Dongs -- I hate those things. It's the worst pastry product any company has ever put out. Now, if they had Twinkies...that would've been cool."

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

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