No, literally, Shut The Front Door!
Recently the local news has covered a series of robberies where gifts and cards were stolen from local, Philadelphia reception venues.
I’m STUNNED that this still happens, especially when you start to hear more about the specifics.
In at least one case, we learned that the Maid of Honor and a Bridesmaid took the box of cards outside to a parked car and left them there – UNLOCKED – while the walked back inside for more gifts.
In recent years we heard about cases where a basked or box for cards was left in the front foyer of a store front reception venue; where people walked in and walked out with the basket.
Here is how our teams at The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants handle gifts and cards at our couple’s weddings. Hopefully these tips will help keep your wedding gifts safe.
- Use a container that LOCKS, my father always said that locks only keep out honest people. I think this is true and most times these things aren’t being stolen by hardened, career criminals – it’s a crime of opportunity.
- We have several locking boxes and bird cages available for couples to rent. They can be as simple or ornately decorated as you wish.
- Place the card container in a VERY VISIBLE space during your cocktail reception – away from a main entrance or a public thoroughfare. Our teams always make an effort to circle by this location as often as possible. We like an area with a guest book or escort cards, as there is a lot of traffic there during the cocktail reception.
- At the end of your cocktail reception, have the container moved into the reception space, to the FAR side of the room, preferably near the bride and groom’s table as it is a major focal point, in public view AND anyone playing with cards and gifts would have to cross through the middle of the reception.
- If you are staying overnight at the reception venue, our team typically delivers all of your gifts (NOT CARDS, more on that in a minute) to you room during the reception and secures them for you; along with many of your personal belongings (cake knife, toasting glasses, veil, extra pair of shoes, etc.).
- If you are not staying overnight at the reception venue; we ALWAYS ask to pre-assign a family friend to receive all of the gifts and personal belongings. We look for someone who: Is responsible. Is a relatively light drinker. Has a large SUV or minivan (be sure to ask them to empty it). Who is planning on staying until the END of the reception.
We gather all of your gifts and belongings in one central location; ask the guest just before the end of the night to bring the vehicle around to an entrance and leave the keys with us. We will load and secure the vehicle in a very public, visible place and notify the guest who is then ready to leave. We remind them to UNPACK everything when they get home (don’t leave gifts in a car overnight, (it’s just too tempting) or park inside their garage.
- At the end of the night a parent or designated family member is brought by our team to the card container where it is emptied, in front of them, into a bag or large envelope. We prefer to count the number of cards with them, put them into a large envelope, seal it and write the couple’s name and number of cards on the container.
This should be a responsible person who is going straight home, not to the after party and not standing around socializing – we instruct them to carry them with them and NOT set them down.
We find that with the support of your wedding planning team, some advance planning and some good common sense; your wedding cards and gifts can make it home safe and secure.
*We know that in many cultures is appropriate for guest to give gifts of cash to the newly married couple. We would ask that parents, close relatives and bridal party encourage guests (for security reasons) to write checks rather than putting cash in an envelope.