ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA It had all the trappings of a wedding reception, with one notable exception: no bride and groom. The Ronald McDonald House of Central Florida tried a new fund-raiser Friday night, hosting a mock wedding reception at the Mezz. More than 100 people donned outdated bridesmaid dresses and pastel tuxedos for the “Wedding Crashers Reception” created by the nonprofit’s Key Initiative Committee, a group of more than two dozen young professionals who raise funds and awareness for the organization.
“We wanted to do an event no one has really done before,” said committee co-chair Mimi Flatley. “We’ve all joked about that bridesmaid dress that you can never wear again, and, of course, the movie Wedding Crashers was a big hit. It just developed from that.”
Pink silk rose petals dotted the floor leading into the ballroom, which guests entered through an arch of pastel-colored balloons. Inside, DJ Adam Wells played a mix of current hits and wedding reception standards such as “The Electric Slide,” while guests dined on small bites from Char-Don Catering.
Throughout the night, the Key Initiative Committee members selected guests to serve as honorary brides and grooms for various activities. One couple did the requisite first dance, while the next performed the toast, and another tossed a plastic bouquet. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, dessert included cake pops and cupcakes.
Organizers kept ticket prices reasonable—just $40 for an individual and $75 for a couple—and relied on sponsorships from companies such as CNL Financial Group, Holland & Knight, and R.L. Haines General Contractor to fund the event. Flatley said they are still totaling proceeds but are happy with the results for the first year. “There was such great buzz, so I do foresee it becoming an annual event,” she said.