ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. - A bride and groom got an unexpected visitor in the middle of their first dance -- a Pasco County man crashed their wedding.
The wedding photographer, Val Ritter of VRVision Photography, captured the moment and the stunt eventually landed the crasher in jail. Ritter has worked as a wedding photographer for 10 years, but she said what happened during her couple’s shoot Monday in St. Pete Beach was a first.
“It was the first dance, and I was taking pictures of my bride and groom. I feel somebody’s behind me doing some kind of dance or touching me and trying to get my attention,” said Ritter. “I’ve had wedding crashers, but they’ve never been that aggressive.”
The alleged wedding crasher, Mark Saunderson of Land O’Lakes, walked into the couple’s reception at the Grand Plaza Hotel, joining the couple on the dance floor during their special moment.
“The bride started laughing at the whole situation and people talked about it afterwards. They keep asking me, 'Did you get a shot? Did you get a shot of the wedding crasher?'” said Ritter.
She captured the couple’s surprised reactions. The groom did not look happy, but the bride told FOX 13 she just had to laugh.
The crasher was escorted out and eventually arrested for disorderly conduct. Pinellas County deputies said he had been drinking.
“I’m surprised how much attention it’s getting, but I think it’s because of how he ended up in jail at the end of the night,” said Ritter.
The experience did not sour the moment for the newlyweds. The bride said she plans to include the moment in her wedding album.
“When weddings go bad, it just becomes part of your wedding and story,” Ritter said.
The bride told FOX 13 she jokes about it to her husband, and they have no hard feelings. Their photographer said it was a priceless moment.