"Let's take a pic of you holding the bag and send it off," my mom said as we sat in the ceremony room at Noah's Event Venue located off of Yorkmont Road. I looked at the swag bag that read: To have and to hold all your wedding inspiration." *insert actual LOL moment* My mom would have me pose with this bag and pretend like I'm getting ready to get married ... little did she know the drama I'd have the following week. But I digress.
A few weeks ago, I was at Common Market in Plaza Midwood with friends of friends. One of the guy's girlfriend's asked something along the lines of, "Have you heard about something called 'The Big Fake Wedding?' I found it on Groupon for $10. Apparently, you go to a fake wedding ceremony and then you can attend a reception and have free drinks. We should go!" Umm, free drinks? You know I was down. She's much closer to marriage than I am so I thought it would be fun to go with her. I responded, "Yes, let's do it!"
Within the next couple of days I was ready to make the purchase. I took a look at the Groupon and began to stalk anything related to "The Big Fake Wedding" on Google. After some research, I gathered that the event is designed for wedding planners, engaged folks and the like interested in exploring local vendors and/or venues for wedding ceremonies. I didn't fall into any of those categories, but I repeat, there were going to be free drinks.
I called my mom super excited to tell her about the not-so-drunken pregame event I'd be going to. She loves weddings and anything "pretty" so I knew she'd approve. A couple days later, she decided she wanted to go, too. She couldn't celebrate my birthday with me the weekend of the event, so she thought it would be fun to spend time together before I left for the beach. That's when we found out the Groupon had ended — she didn't have a ticket, and neither did my friend. Womp, womp, womp. She went to the official website and purchased a ticket for $25. After all, I was so worth it.
Despite no RSVP (whoops) we had no issue getting in. We were only 15 minutes away from the ceremony so I opted out of visiting the vendors beforehand to grab a good seat. I mean, how many times have you made it on time to a wedding and snagged prime seating? Despite being located near and surrounded by the business parks off of Tyvola, you wouldn't have even been able to tell once you were seated in front of the beautiful florals that would serve as the backdrop for the ceremony.
While a violinist and harpist played John Legend's "All of Me," we wondered if the "fake ceremony" would simply be random people. Please. I would love to get paid to do this myself and live out my childhood dreams of a white dress without having to deal with the drama of relationships. A spokesperson greeted us, "Our goal is to inspire brides and grooms, support local businesses and encourage healthy and committed marriage. Keep in mind, this is a party, not a performance."
To our surprise, the couple, decked out in suit and wedding gown, were already married and were renewing their vows after two years of marriage. As they recommitted themselves to one another, something fell in my eye but it wasn't a tear. Their ceremony was short, just like I like them and then we were invited to make our way into the reception hall.
We sampled food from one of my fave restaurants, Aria, while we oogled at the breathtaking table décor. Each table had its own theme and in the center of the room, a tent for the lovely couple that was fit for a princess. While my mom made her way around the room collecting cards and "planning for my wedding," I avoided being asked for the fifth time, "So when's the date?" and the awkward conversation that followed. "Oh no, I'm just here having mommy-daughter date night." You know what that meant, I was waiting in line at the minibar.
The wedding party must have taken shots after having to stand in front of all these strangers for an intimate moment, because next thing you know, they were all in the middle of the dance floor leading the guests in a line dance to "The Wobble." I watched my mom's sober eyes light up as she turned to me in excitement — she loves your stereotypical "black event" line dances. She was in heaven.
We stayed until 9 p.m., when the event was supposed to be over, visited the photo booth and set up shop at a table like it was made just for us.
The event only takes place once a year, but apparently, they travel around to different destinations all over the U.S. Whether you're looking for some fun with your single gal pals or you're planning for your big day, The Big Fake Wedding won't disappoint. Be sure to check it out next year, I promise it'll be worth every second — if you're down with free drinks.