Bridal: Guest Column: Have a security-conscious wedding day

When Elizabeth Hurley was planning her lavish Hindu wedding ceremony to Arun Nayar, she undoubtedly didn’t schedule a fistfight into the festivities. A nasty physical altercation erupted between journalists and security guards as journalists attempted to chase the couple’s car into the fort in western India, where they were holding their wedding reception.

Whether you’re a celebrity seeking to avoid a paparazzi meltdown or an affluent private couple that demands their wedding ceremony and reception be a safe and welcoming affair, planning your security detail is of vital importance.

Brides need to be security conscious

Wedding days are joyous times when we let our guard down for a magnificent celebration. The movie Wedding Crashers depicted two young men who lusted for the ladies. In the real world, most crashers prefer cold, hard cash and valuables over hot-blooded women.

The happy couple will likely be collecting gifts worth many thousands of dollars. Determine ahead of time how the wedding gifts will be assembled from guests and where they will be stored during the ceremony and reception. Many weddings now feature bridal mailboxes where guests drop off gifts into the box. Who is in charge of watching the drop-off box, emptying it and bringing it to its final location? If you have employed a security firm, it should be on high-alert gift watch. If you’ve opted to budget more for your wedding planner than security consultant, have a trusted, non-drinking friend watch over the money and valuables.

Burglar alert

The wedding is a day full of pride. The newspapers are running your wedding announcement. While your wedding invitations are beautifully embossed, you may not have realized the printer’s new son-in-law is a crackhead who had just come across your invite as he waded through the trash at the plant. When you alert the world that your home, as well your relatives and friends’ homes, will be unoccupied during the wedding and reception, you are providing great intelligence to criminals, who may see this as an opportune time to break in. Ensure your home security system is fully engaged.

Table manners

Pocketbooks left at the table while guests are dancing or noshing is quite common. What’s also widespread is the crasher who swipes the pocketbook and makes a hasty retreat. In lieu of heavy handbags, women should carry their essentials in a light and portable evening bag. Do not leave anything unattended or in an area where your things cannot be seen with a quick glance.

At the end of the evening when many of the guests are intoxicated, it is easy to leave with the wrong coat. Men and women should tuck their business card into their overcoat. Hence, when Johnny reaches for his trench coat the next morning, he’ll learn the true coat owner’s identity and be able to make the swap back.

Be organized with the guestbook. Acquire strict invitations from attendants. If you cannot resolve a guest’s identity, try to procure their photo ID and keep it on file.

Avoiding a rumble

Family members who only see each other at weddings and funerals and debate which sibling mother loved best can erupt into physical altercations. Former boyfriends and ex-husbands could use the wedding as a public place to display their unrequited love by knocking the lights off the groom.

Responsible limo company

Have you hired a responsible limousine company? Have your chauffeurs been drinking all night while the reception is in play? Does the driver have a DWI or criminal arrest record?

911 Emergency

At weddings and receptions where emotions run high, and people who haven’t danced in a decade take to the dance floor, accidents and medical emergencies happen. In addition to ensuring the facilities are accessible for the physically challenged, a medical emergency plan should be in place.

Security and the wedding Web site

The most popular features of the wedding Web sites include names of the bride and groom, biographies of the wedding party, the date and location of the wedding and honeymoon, and personal information, including addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Obviously, there are many security pitfalls that accompany these sites. While many of these sites are password-protected, it’s impossible to keep that information out of unsavory hands. Rather than let predators use this information to steal from wedding participants, we advise the information be pared down. When you’re deciding what to include, ask yourself whether you would want that information to be available to anyone off the street. If the answer is no, then limit that information.

Blushing brides and grooms should not be timid about ensuring their wedding is secure from security woes. Depending on the style and scope of your event, it may be important to construct a three-tier security plan that is composed of personal security, hotel/venue security and the local police. Work with a respected security professional to ensure your wedding is filled with only sweet memories.

Michael McCann is the former chief of security of the United Nations and senior ranking officer from the New York Police Department. He is president of McCann Protective Services. For more information, visit

from the April 25-May 1, 2007, issue

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