This past Sunday, I attended the wedding of two friends who are both LARPers. They’re also both LARP writers and involved with running LARP events. When I RSVPed on their wedding website, I checked off a box indicating that I’d be interested in participating at a LARP at their reception.
When we arrived at the reception, there was a table near the DJ with four piles of envelopes (one for each of four teams) and instructions to select one in order to play in Mission: Engaged. (The envelopes were labeled with numbers and were stacked in order, with #1 on top, and the instructions suggested picking one from a pile with the lowest number showing, which ensured that there would be approximately even numbers on each team.)
Opening the envelopes revealed instructions, any additional needed paperwork and items, and color coded rubber bracelets to wear so teammates could identify one another. Yellow for Team Something Old, green for Team Something New, orange for Team Something Borrowed, and, of course, blue for Team Something Blue.
Each team had a different set of tasks to achieve, with the goal of bringing about the end of the world for their various causes. (One team wanted to summon C’thulhu, natch. Another was made up of time travelers, another common theme in LARPing.) My team, lead by one person designated as the high priest (I think he may have chosen envelope #1), wanted to perform a Mayan ritual, and we were given a set of puzzles- sudoku, a sentence to unscramble, a crossword puzzle, etc. The solution to each revealed a task to complete as part of our ritual.
I really like how the LARP seamlessly blended with the wedding reception, since plenty of guests (many of whom, I’m sure, had no idea what a LARP is) were not playing. The tasks were simple activities one normally does at a wedding- order a particular drink at the bar, dance the macarena, get a picture with the bridge and groom, etc. And our character sheets informed us that we were all undercover, and our cover names were whatever our real names are- so we could introduce ourselves out-of-character to other guests without dropping character.
The other groups had their own tasks. One had to strike up conversations with other people and get them to say different words (not unlike the party game “Taboo”). And another group had to sneak stickers onto people’s dishes or cups. If someone ate off something that was be-stickered, they received a contingency envelope that would inform them, at the end of the LARP, that they had ingested nanites and been taken over by their evil overlord computer. (Putting stickers on cups and such is a common mechanic in theater LARPs for poisoning people.)
At one point during the meal, my date instructed me to look at the bottom of my drink, where I found an orange sticker, and smirking, he handed me a contingency envelope. I was incredibly amused, and even more so when he later described moving it from cup to cup, trying to get me to drink from the right one.
I thought the simple structure of the LARP, particularly the easy set-up and casting, and structure of the tasks to work with the event made it a really great addition to the wedding, and could probably be very easily modified to run at other events- conventions, bar or bat mitzvahs, or other weddings.
Wouldn’t you love to attend a wedding where the DJ offers the microphone to the groom, who takes it and announces, to much cheering, that his guests have destroyed the world four times over?