Gate crashing

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Gate crashing, gatecrashing, or party crashing is the act of attending an invitation-only event when not invited.[1] The person doing the gate crashing is known as a gate crasher.

Motivations for gate crashing include but are not limited to:

These can also include more serious crimes, such as :

Various techniques that involve blending in with the crowd[specify] can be used to gain access to some events.[3] Various measures can be taken to prevent gate crashers from gaining access such as collecting invitations at the door and employing staff to identify potential uninvited guests, but such measures can still be thwarted by a skilled gate crasher.[4]

The first "how to" gate-crashing book, Meet the Stars,[5] was written by Charlotte Laws in 1988. She went by the name Missy Laws at the time and details how she crashed dozens of celebrity-filled events, major award shows and even got past Secret Service to interview the president. Her story about Elvis was reprinted in Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.[6]

Notable gate-crashing incidents[edit]

2009 White House gatecrash incident[edit]

President Barack Obama greets Michaele and Tareq Salahi (two uninvited guests) in a receiving line in the Blue Room of the White House before the state dinner with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India on 24 November 2009.

On November 24, 2009, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, from Virginia, and Carlos Allen, from Washington D.C., independently gate-crashed the state dinner between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.[7]

2013 Australian incident[edit]

On 7 September 2013, after media reported the results of the 2013 Australian federal elections which saw the Liberal Party of Australia and National Party of Australia Coalition, a gatecrasher and anti-coal activist gatecrashed Coalition leader and Prime Minister-designate Tony Abbott's victory speech on stage.[8]

Wedding crashing[edit]

Wedding crashing is the act of attending a wedding celebration without an invitation, particularly when the person or persons who turn up have a profound impact.


There are various reasons why people crash weddings.[9]

Some of the most common reasons for crashing a wedding in real life include:

  • To see a person they know, such as a relative, friend, or ex get married, even if they are not invited.[10]
  • To come with another person who is invited whom they wish to accompany.[10]
  • For something that is offered at the event, such as free catered food or alcoholic beverages. Crashing for this reason is not always cost-effective. With the high cost of the clothes required for a formal wedding (presuming one doesn't rewear them), this may out-do that of the food, which often can be obtained for less from a restaurant.[11]
  • To steal money or gifts from the bride, groom, or guests.
  • For the thrill of deviating from mores and etiquette or for the social prestige within a peer group of defying the broader culture.
  • To try to "win back" the bride/groom who was a former lover and/or current romantic-interest of the crasher (such as in The Graduate and Wayne's World 2), or to cause him/her discomfort/humiliation/problems by the presence of an "ex" at his/her wedding to someone else.
  • To get revenge, such as if the bride or groom is an enemy of the person doing the crashing.
  • At celebrity weddings, crashing may occur from those who wish to mingle with the celebrities or catch paparazzi photo shots. There have also been reports of celebrities crashing the weddings of strangers they encounter.[12]
  • For fun for just getting a free party to attend to and to learn new people.


Most weddings are low profile family-oriented events, and security is low, so it is not checked whether or not a person who enters belongs. With the large number of people in attendance, coupled with the fact that not everyone knows each other or the bride and groom,[13] a well-dressed person may be able to sneak in unnoticed. Wedding planners recommend having some form of security to be sure one does not enter the reception without an invitation when the likelihood of someone crashing may be high.[14]

Some people manage to crash a wedding by entering in the middle of a ceremony or reception after all the checking has been done, or by greeting the couple and appearing to be a part of the invitee list.[15]

Some who crash do so only to eat the hors d'oeuvres. This enables the crasher to remain even more under the radar. At a sit-down reception, there is usually assigned seating by place cards, and finding a seat may be difficult, especially when there are no-shows, or when determining which seats are vacant may be difficult. Crashing only for the hors d'oeuvres enables the crasher to eat all s/he wants while blending in.[16]

Sometimes the crashing of a wedding is unintentional; this can happen when multiple weddings are held at the same venue.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "gate-crashing – The free dictionary". Retrieved 2013-11-09.
  2. ^ "House-trash party girl blames 'hackers'". 2007-04-13. Retrieved 2014-04-15.
  3. ^ "Top tips for gatecrashing". BBC News. 2001-12-17. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
  4. ^ Angel, Amanda (2007-11-15). "Time Out New York – Holiday-party crashing". Retrieved 2013-11-09.
  5. ^ Laws, Missy (1 February 1988). Meet the Stars. Ross Books. ISBN 0894960024.
  6. ^ Institute, Bathroom Readers' (15 November 1988). Uncle John's Bathroom Reader. Macmillan. ISBN 9780312026639 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Argetsinger, Amy; Roberts, Roxanne (2009-11-26). "Washington Post – Off the list, but somehow on the South Lawn". Retrieved 2013-11-09.
  8. ^ Marszalek, Jessica; Jones, Gemma (8 September 2013). "Intruder upstages Tony Abbott's victory speech in major security breach". The Mercury. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  9. ^ Powell, Michael. Forbidden Knowledge: 101 Things Not Everyone Should Know How to Do. pp. 169–170.
  10. ^ a b Nettleton, Pamela Hill. Getting Married When It's Not Your First Time: An Etiquette Guide and. p. 21.
  11. ^ Burt, Wendy; Erin Kindberg. Oh, solo mia!: the hip chick's guide to fun for one. p. 98.
  12. ^ "Hicks: John Travolta crashes wedding". 4 June 2013.
  13. ^ Larson, Nelda; Janette Trost. Only His Sheep Will Raise Their Heads: End Times Study. p. 119.
  14. ^ Warner, Diane. Diane Warner's Contemporary Guide to Wedding Etiquette: Advice from America. p. 215.
  15. ^ Mulwane, Marilla (2010-03-31). "How to Crash a Wedding | Made Manual". Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  16. ^ Craig Wilson (July 12, 2005). "Rules for crashers: Eat, drink and be wary". USA Today.