Sunday, October 31, 2010

John Beckwith

Daddy Bru was already a shoe-in for the "Best Father of the Bride" title after his art-acquiring heroics one week before our wedding (sorry, George Banks).

Little did I know that, while I was stressing over last-minute details and frantically trying to earn the status of "most tranquil bride," Daddy Bru was juggling his own wedding-related load. He shared this story with us at the rehearsal dinner, and even then, less than 24 hours before the wedding, as Mr. Bruschetta and I laughed at his moxie, one thought bubbled to the surface: "I can't wait to post about this on Weddingbee!"

Inspired by "Poor Wedding Dad" -- Weddingbee reader august15bride's (now blogging / Tweeting as the fitness-loving Wannabe Athlete) father -- I asked Daddy Bru if he would recount the tale his pre-wedding antics for the hive. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! And now, here's Daddy Bruschetta (with some links added by yours truly, and our "real" names used sparingly throughout) in his own words:

Two days before the wedding...and so much yet to do. Our contact at the F.U.E.L. House had a family emergency out of town, and left the final arrangements to an assistant. Mr. Bruschetta and I had to pick up all the booze and deliver it F.U.E.L. I figured while we were there, we’d make sure that appropriate art had been placed on the walls. Chris and I arrived at F.U.E.L.'s service entrance on 3rd Street, and began unloading case after case of adult beverages. We quickly saw that another unloading process was going on at the same time: A portrait gallery of assorted local artists’ landscapes, portraits, still lifes, etc. -- a welcome relief from what had been labeled as art that adorned the walls before.

As we completed the delivery, and a sense of ease concerning the facility had begun to take hold, my mind began to wander: In two days, this building would be full of people celebrating the Bruschetta wedding. What would it be like? Would it be everything she expected? Would it be memorable? For some strange reason, as I tried to picture it in my mind, I didn’t think of my other daughter’s wedding of less than two years earlier; rather, a panorama of wedding scenes from a movie I'd recently seen: Wedding Crashers.


Wait second! Owen Wilson was one of the stars of that movie, and what did I just read about him just the other day? That’s right, I remembered: He’s here in Philadelphia...right now...filming a movie with Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson. I'd seen Nicholson at a Phillies game just a week earlier -- and read an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer a few days earlier which mentioned they were filming this very week on location in University City – less than three miles from where we at that moment. The entire cast had to be staying in the area, and in all probability, they were staying in one of the better hotels in Center City or Society Hill.

Oh, the wheels were turning.

“Chris,” I meekly suggested, “ do you think Margot would be upset, or feel that her special day would be ruined in any way, if Owen Wilson were to crash your wedding reception?”

Chris didn’t think I was serious and said, “She’d love it if he crashed, especially if Vince Vaughn were to join him.”

I told him I was serious and explained what I was thinking. Chris told me it was all wishful thinking. How would we get an invitation to Owen -- especially now, only two days before the wedding? (By the way, Chris still was okay with idea, even after he realized I was serious.)

Fair question, but I had an answer ready to allay his skepticism: The wife of one of my clients worked for the Philadelphia Film Office, an organization with the mission to promote Philadelphia as a site for filming, and assist producers in all aspects of working with the city once filming has begun.

I called Jerry to see if he could put me in touch with his wife. Unfortunately, he told me she was off this week and out of town.

By now I was pumped and emboldened. Nothing was going to stop me. I picked up the phone, called the PFO and asked for Sharon Pinkenson, the director. I got through to her secretary, but she wasn’t about to put me through unless I explained the nature of my call. What the heck! I began to explain the whole crazy notion. As I was telling her this story, it occurred to me that this could actually be a great public relations stunt for the Film Office, the movie's producers and Owen Wilson’s publicist. A couple years earlier, he'd gone through some troubling personal issues and could probably use a boost in his public image. As I told Sharon's assistant what a great opportunity this would be to all concerned if Owen showed up (with camera crew in tow), had a few drinks, and then went out and did whatever rich Hollywood stars do when stuck in a town like Philadelphia on a Saturday night in August, I began to imagine that it could actually happen...despite the negativity I was getting back in return.

“I can get your message [an invitation to the reception and my cell number] to the Film Office’s liaison on location in West Philly, but I can’t be sure that it will get to Mr. Wilson. I don’t know if Mr. Wilson would want to attend. He may have other plans.”

But, at the end of our conversation, she did admit it was an original idea (no one else had thought of this -- at least no one had floated anything similar through the Film Office) and would be great publicity for the movie, the city and Owen, if he and his agent thought they needed this kind of attention.

So, all day Friday, I made sure my cell phone was charged. I kept checking for missed calls. Nada.

By the time evening rolled around, the rehearsal and dinner would be underway and my focus would shift elsewhere. We were now in the midst of the 24-hour whirlwind. Still, I would occasionally think about it. I gave the Film Office all the information: Betsy Ross House beginning at 5:30. He can bring three guests. Stay as long as he wants. Maybe...just maybe.

Even as the reception began, and guests started to arrive right up to the [edited to remove spoilers for the yet-to-come Bruschetta recaps!], I would occasionally look at the gate that opened up to the courtyard, half expecting to see that mop of tousled blond hair. I even knew what I was going to say: I would walk up to him, introduce myself as the bride’s father, and question whether he was with the groom's family.

Alas, it didn’t happen. But it makes a great story! And more importantly, it was a wonderful wedding everyone enjoyed, even without Owen Wilson. He’ll never know what a great party he missed.

Are you planning on inviting any "crashers" to your wedding? Did you have any famous faces at your reception? Share *your* story!


  1. What a sweet and cool idea! Too bad it didn't turn out - but it's the thought that counts!

  2. I miss you on the Bee, Mrs. Bruschetta! Any chance you're going to come back and do recaps?

  3. Yes, please come back.