Stop Thief

In all the preparations for the big day there is one concern that is almost universally overlooked – and that is security. It is only when something happens and a thief takes a present or a bag that everyone rushes over to advise people to be careful. It can cause a terrible dampener on the day for no one likes to think they have invited friends over to be robbed!

Debbie from Stillorgan discovered the hard way what is was like to feel responsible for her guests’ handbags. She booked her reception in a major Dublin Hotel and has no complaints about the service except that in hindsight the drinks reception was hosted in a public portion of the hotel.

“The bridal party remained behind to have photographs taken at the church,” explains Debbie. “We asked the other guests to convene at the hotel and explained that we would have a champagne reception at 2pm.

“However, there was a shortfall of about 40 minutes between the service and the reception beginning and so naturally many of the guests moved into the public bar in the hotel. It was there that two handbags were taken right under the women’s noses. I felt dreadful and despite my friends assuring me that it could have happened anywhere I still felt responsible.”

Debbie’s dilemma is common to many brides. There have been worse cases where bridesmaids have left purses in the vestry during the service only to find a light fingered thief popped in and made off with them. The advice proffered by priests in churches to ask a friend or member of the congregation mind purses rather than leave them in an unaccompanied room – which may have access from outside the church.

Shirley’s story is slightly different but no less terrible. She had received her weddings presents and had arranged them in her parent’s living room. “It is a very traditional thing to do,” says Shirley. “Mum suggested it and it was great when friends came to visit, especially elderly aunts, as I could show them the lovely gifts I have received.”

Unfortunately for Shirley it was not just her aunts that took notice of her gifts, an enterprising thief did too. On the big day, there was no one left at home and a thief arrived with an estate car, broke in and literally took about half her presents.

“The only fortunate aspect was that the thief had no regard for china, as that was the centrepiece of my presents,” explains Shirley. “But televisions, watches, and anything electrical were all taken.”

As with funerals, weddings do attract attention and brides are advised to ensure that a neighbour or friend house-sit on that day. With regard to guests in hotels, the best advise is to warn your guests if any part of day means the function rooms or bars are shared with the general public. That means leaving bags on tables is not an option, not if you want to find it there when you return from the bar.

However, some people can just be plain unlucky. Deirdre hosted a large wedding in a hotel and took over the private dining areas. It should have been safe as houses except that a thief, obviously dressed as a guest, wandered into the middle of the reception bold as brass and picked up a couple of extra bags, each time explaining that Bernie (whoever she was) has asked him to fetch her handbag. It could have been worse as his accomplice, an attractively dressed young woman, also worked the other end of the room. However, while the man was largely ignored and no one paid much attention to his gathering of bags, the young lady was spotted. It seems women do not pick up the wrong bag by mistake! She made some very bad excuses and fled the hotel but the guests were three bags down overall, so three to the thief and zero to the bride.

So, be on the lookout. Have the best man parcel out bridesmaids purses in the church, warn your guests if part of the reception in held in public areas and make sure that you don’t attract any extra guests in the reception itself!

Good luck