Real-life wedding crasher busted at St. Pete Beach hotel

Pinellas County

He drank, he danced and he partied.

Pinellas deputies said a Land O’ Lakes man crashed a hotel wedding and tried to hide when security was on to him.

Just like out of the 2005 movie “Wedding Crashers,” where two men indulge on free drinks and food, cops say 37-year-old Mark Saunderson pulled the same stunt.

They say he made himself at home at a reception at the Grand Plaza Hotel in St. Pete Beach.

Jan Vanpolen saw the whole thing.

“He basically came in and was just at the bar trying to get drinks then he was dancing with the bridesmaids and the groom’s mother,” he said.

According to deputies, he cut in with the bride and groom’s first dance.

“The best man and one of the groomsmen, they basically figured out he wasn’t supposed to be there and they had him removed,” said Vanpolen.

We tracked down Mark Saunderson at his home in the Ballantrae neighborhood of Land O’ Lakes.

When asked if he wanted to discuss the incident at the hotel, his friendly smile turned cold fast, as he shut the door.

Saunderson is charged with disorderly conduct, which includes playing hide and seek with hotel security.

Deputies say he took an elevator to the 11th floor, told deputies he is from Ohio and gave them his phone number for his social security number.

Back at the wedding reception, the reaction was mixed.

“The bride thought it was hilarious. The groom did not. Neither did any of the groomsmen,” said Jan Vanpolen.

He noticed Saunderson looked drunk. Deputies noted he was unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes.

He bailed out of jail just before 1 a.m. Tuesday.

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