To “crash a party” is an idiomatic expression that means to attend a party without receiving an invitation first. While the origins are unclear, this expression may have developed from the idea of breaking and entering. If uninvited guests want to find a way into a party, they would need to break in, probably resulting in the sound of a crash either through smashing glass or breaking furniture.
Depending on the kind of party one is trying to attend, however, it is unlikely that one would actually have to break anything in order to enter. Typically the term “crash a party” is used by teens and college students to describe going to parties without an invitation. These parties are usually large affairs where a few extra, uninvited people would hardly be noticed. Most adults rarely crash a party, although a famous exception occurred in 2009 when Tareq and Michaele Salehi made an uninvited appearance at U.S. President Obama’s state dinner for India. While many people thought their behavior was inappropriate, more people were concerned about the lax security that their entrance demonstrated.
A particular form of party crashing is wedding crashing. The popular 2005 comedy film Wedding Crashers also documented the story of two bachelors who routinely attended weddings without an invitation in order to pick up women. While some people might try their luck at finding a date, other wedding crashers simply sneak into a wedding reception to enjoy free food and alcohol. Cocktail hour is a good time to crash a party reception before the guests sit down at assigned seats.
Going to an official government or family function without an invitation is not recommended, but there are situations in which you might want to stop by a neighbor’s barbecue or house party without being invited. If you’re new to a neighborhood, crashing a party can be a great way to meet new people. If you do decide to crash a party, it’s important to be friendly and polite, talk to a few of the guests, and find out who is hosting the party. Introduce yourself to the host and explain why you stopped by. Bringing a beverage or snack to share will help the host know you’re not just taking advantage of their hospitality. Still, you should be ready to leave and apologize for interrupting the gathering if the host indicates it’s not a good time for uninvited guests.