Though it’s unpleasant to think you’re vulnerable at your own reception, the reality is that wedding theft is something to be warned about. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence, and more and more couples are becoming victims. This is often a wedding crasher, someone who is not on your guest list, whom sneaks into the reception and steals gifts from the wedding gift table. And more often than not, they are dressed well and are professionals at not raising suspicions. Think about it, a wedding reception guarantees not only presents, but little envelops of case and gift cards…making it easy for a wedding crasher or staff member to all-too-easily get away with stealing your gifts when everyone else is distracted and having fun.
As wedding planners, part of our job is to warn against this as well as taking some precautions to prevent it. We make sure that we are seen quite often around the area speaking and greeting everyone (we do this normally as to make our clients’ guests’ feel welcomed). We also are acutely aware of the gifts and keep close watch over it until the majority of guests arrive. Once the group has arrived and has had an opportunity to place their gift on the table, Merrymaking Events secures all of the gifts, and envelopes in a locked location. If the event is at a hotel, we place these valuables in the hotel room of our couple, or their designed family member’s hotel room.
We know that not everyone plans to have a professional wedding coordinator on their big day, and so we found some information online to help guide you to prevent this from happening on your big day.
What You Can Do:
- Create an online registry and have the presents sent directly to your house (or another family member’s house, like your mom’s). The best way to ensure nothing is stolen is to spread the word that you’d prefer presents mailed to your residence rather than brought to the reception.
- Place your gift table far from an exit to make it more difficult for anyone who’s trying to steal your presents, or…
- Forgo having a gift table all together. Instead, visit each table during the reception so that guests have the opportunity to hand you envelopes of cash or checks — but only if they wish to do so. You should never ask for cash.
- If you spot a wedding crasher, don’t be polite and ignore them. Ask your day-of coordinator or an attendant to ask the crasher to leave.
- Ask a trustworthy friend to act as gift attendant. Ask him to store the gifts in a secure place (like a locked room) rather than displaying them in the open.
- If your reception is large (over 300 people) and the site is in a high-traffic area (like in any urban setting), consider hiring security, both to prevent theft and to quash any other rowdiness that might transpire.
- Think about buying wedding insurance. Coverage from a company like WedSafe will cover stolen gifts as long as it’s reported right away.
What if It Happens to You?
If you’re a victim of wedding gift theft, report it to the police as soon as possible. Get in touch with your reception site to see if there are any security cameras that may have caught the crime on tape.
Perhaps the toughest part will be explaining the situation to your guests (after all, you really can’t write thank-you notes for gifts you never received). One approach is to send an email to as many guests as you can and give them a rundown of what happened; ask them to spread the word to those whose email addresses you don’t have. And then send handwritten notes to every guest expressing your thanks for his or her attendance. If your wedding was on the smaller side, you could call each guest individually, though be prepared for lots of questions about the specifics from concerned friends and relatives.