How to Prevent Wedding Gift Theft
Your wedding day is one of the most momentous occasions you'll experience in your life, and likely something you've been looking forward to for quite a long time, if not for as long as you can remember. So if you're in the throes of wedding planning, you're probably doing all you can to ensure that the day is as memorable and as joyous as it should be.
As with making preparations for any major event in life, whether it's purchasing a home or planning a trip, it's important that you consider all of the possible outcomes and events, even the ones that you'd least expect. Unfortunately bad things happen—even on your wedding day—so it's important to be prepared in the event of wedding gift theft.
You'd hope that your wedding day would never coincide with a crime and, while it's quite unlikely, wedding gift theft does occur. Here's what you need to know about it.
What is Wedding Gift Theft?
Wedding guests are often very generous, giving the couple anywhere from $100 to $300 on average, and sometimes more. All of this money, which is usually in the form of a cashier check, is unfortunately appealing to a criminal, especially when it's all located in one specific spot like in a wedding gift box, for example. Wedding gift theft is when all of this money or items, as sometimes people give material gifts for weddings, are stolen, either by a perfect stranger, someone working at the venue or, in the rarest of cases, an actual wedding guest.
"At celebrations such as weddings, there are many people moving about—you have guests (friends and family), vendors (catering, venue staff, photographer, etc.), as well as people who may just be passing by the event," says Jodi RR Smith, etiquette expert and owner of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting in Marblehead, Massachusetts. "With all of the activity, it is not difficult for someone with nefarious intent to palm a few envelopes or even walk off with a bigger box." Even without an official thief, if a bride or groom is not careful when it comes to where they store their wedding gifts, they may leave them unattended or even lose them by mistakenly assuming that parents are picking them up or that the planner would take care of them.
How to Prevent Wedding Gift Theft
While wedding gift theft is uncommon, it does happen, so it's a smart idea to put a plan in place to ensure it doesn't happen to you on your special day. Here, wedding experts share their best tips for how to prevent wedding gift theft.
Hire a wedding planner
A wedding planner does more than just plan your wedding—they also help ensure that everything goes smoothly. "When we have a gift box or basket at a wedding, we not only keep our eyes on the box, we empty it every now and then and stash the gifts in a hideaway somewhere safe," says Elizabeth Wexler, wedding planner and owner of emlan events in New York City. "We also take pictures of the gifts frequently throughout the evening to document it in case any questions arise following the wedding."
Create an online registry and have gifts sent directly
By creating an online gift registry, guests can shop online and have the gifts delivered directly to their homes, explains JoAnn Gregoli, of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli, is a wedding planner in New York City. "Not only does this make your life easier at the end of the night by not having to pack up your cat or bring gifts to your hotel room, but it's also quite convenient for guests," she says. "There are also online cash wedding registries that couples can consider using, including The Knot Registry."
Inquire about security at your venue
While you're considering wedding venues, or even after you've selected yours, it's a good idea to inquire about the security measures they have in place for your designated wedding space. "Ask that the cameras are working and inquire about their 'lost and found' protocols as well as how they handle guest security," says Anna Noriega, Miami-based planner and owner of Alorè Event Firm. "If you have something of value you feel you need to provide extra security for considering hiring an off duty police officer or speaking to your planner about adding staffing for the day."
Be strategic with the gift table placement
If you do opt for a gift table where guests can leave their gifts, place it far away from any exits to make it more difficult for anyone who could potentially steal your presents. Also, consider creating a locked gift box, or a locked box for envelopes that has a locking mechanism so envelopes cannot be taken out once placed in the box, suggests Gregoli. "This box should be locked and have one small slit on the top so a person cannot put their hands in the box and lift out an envelope," she says. "Be sure to give the key to a family member or the wedding planner to keep it safe during the evening and never leave the table or box unattended."
Invest in wedding insurance
Many wedding planners, including Gregoli, recommend that all their couples obtain wedding insurance, which has become even more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wedding insurance is an investment you make to protect the assets relating to your wedding day, as well as the planning leading up to it. Wedding insurance cover varies, depending on the provider, as all insurance does, however many wedding insurance policies cover wedding theft. "This is a small fee that also gives the couple peace of mind," says Gregoli. "We recommend Wedsafe and Wedsure for all our couples."
What Is a Wedding Gift Attendant?
Think of a wedding gift attendant as a security guard that you hire to make sure your gifts are safe. Wexler recommends either hiring someone or having someone close to you (a wedding party member, for example) take turns bringing the gifts to your wedding suite or to some private area throughout the course of the night. "I highly recommend hiding the gifts in the suite (we always find funny hiding spots) but taking a picture in case you forget," she says. "Do this periodically if you don't have a guard to watch the gifts all night long."
Gift Attendant Duties
The main responsibility of a wedding gift attendant is to stand at the gift table and accept and receive the gifts. Gregoli and her team even goes as far as having wedding gift attendants log the name of the guests as they take each gift from every person. "The person will remain at the gift table until the gifts are turned over to the couple at the end of the evening," says Gregoli. "The sole job of the wedding gift attendant is to monitor and watch the wedding gifts for the duration of the event," she adds.
Wedding Gifts Stolen? What to Do
In the unlikely and unfortunate event that your wedding gifts are stolen, here's what to do.
File a police report
Be sure to contact the venue to make sure that nothing was left behind or stored in a separate area that you weren't originally aware of. If that doesn't lead you to the stolen gifts, immediately file a report with the local authorities. "A police report is a good idea in case the situation has occurred before at the venue," says Gregoli. "Also, for insurance purposes, they will need a police report to pay out on the insurance end."
Communicate your actions to your venue
Gregoli recommends speaking to them and following up with a written statement. "Not only is it helpful for them to know in case this situation has occurred before and they question their staff, but it also allows them the opportunity to file a claim with their insurance agent if needed," she says.
Reach out to wedding guests
Once the couple knows who the missing gifts or gift is from, they should reach out to the wedding guest and alert them of the situation. If it was a monetary gift and they wrote a check, they can immediately issue a stop payment on the check. This will, at the very least, not allow the thief to cash that check. The wedding guest would also most likely replace the gift once the check is stopped.