A pyramid of luxuriously wrapped gifts on a long table draped with white linens looks inviting—and therein lies the biggest security problem at weddings. "I never recommend having a gift table at a reception," says Melisa Imberman, owner of The Event of a Lifetime, a New York wedding-planning firm. Amid all the excitement, gifts have a way of "walking away" when no one is looking.
Get in Ship-Shape Ideally, guests will send gifts to a designated address, like the bride's home, ahead of time. Most registries will do this automatically.
Taking Care of Business If you think guests will bring gifts to the reception anyway, Imberman suggests arranging with your catering facility beforehand to have a coat-check person put the bundles aside in a safe spot. Just remember to take everything with you when you leave!
Keeping Watch If having a gift table is traditional in your area, hire someone to keep an eye on the packages during the cocktail hour, then deposit them in a locked room once dinner and dancing have begun. Be sure to make arrangements for someone to take the packages home at the party's end.
Check It Twice If you bring any personal possessions to the reception, such as a pair of toasting glasses or several of your families' crystal vases, Imberman suggests you keep a list. "This way, if your pieces get mixed in with the caterers' rentals, you have a record to work from," she says.
At a large wedding, there's a fair chance that you may not know every guest, such as your parents' business associates or an old college friend's date. What to do if you suspect someone has wandered in who doesn't belong?
Call on Your Burly Cousin Ask a relative with a linebacker physique to introduce himself to the intruder in a friendly tone and find out who he is. Parties, especially at large catering facilities where several weddings are happening at the same time, tend to attract moochers. Chances are, once discovered, the crasher will make a hasty exit.
Rescue Me If the uninvited doesn't leave, he should be immediately escorted off the premises by a member of the facility's staff. Don't let one of your guests or a groomsman handle the real dirty work.
Home, Safe Home
If your wedding's been announced in the paper, the whole world is privy to the news that you—and your parents—won't be home that day. If you're going on a honeymoon, that's even more time away.Take these precautions before you go:
Arrange home coverage "Have someone in the house during the event," suggests Scott Geathers, of K&G Wedding Security Consultants in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Can't line up a house sitter? Leave the lights on and ask a neighbor to park a car or two in your driveway.
Have the post office hold your mail It's also a good idea to set lights on a timer so the place looks occupied when you're gone for a week. Suspend your newspaper subscription too.