According to my notes, you'd use zu when you're going to an event. For example:
Wir gehen zu einer Party. – "We're going to a party."
Ich gehe zu einer Hochzeit. – "I'm going to a wedding."
But the DWDS has many examples where auf is used instead:
Wir gehen auf eine Party. – "We're going to a party."
Ich gehe auf eine Hochzeit. – "I'm going to a wedding."
In fact there is one case where both versions are given for the same line:
Ich gehe heute zu/auf eine(r) Hochzeit. (From "Shameless" Three Boys, 2011)
- What is the difference, if any, in meaning between the two versions? I gather it depends on the verb, for example with ''fahren'' you'd always use ''zu''. But that makes sense since you might be driving to the party without actually taking part; maybe you're giving someone a ride. But ''kommen'' seems to favor ''auf''.
- I'm not familiar with this meaning of auf, so is this part of a larger pattern or is it just random? I'm thinking it's covered under DWDS definition I.2.d): "bezeichnet die Teilnahme an etw." This would imply that using auf implies a degree of participation and engagement which is missing from zu. Is that correct?