Wedding crashers could ruin the biggest day of your life. Whether it’s an unwelcome ex, an uninvited plus-one, or a random stranger, there are several easy steps you can take to help prevent wedding crashers and enjoy your big day with the people you really care about.
So how do you prevent a wedding crasher from getting a free slice of cake and a fantastic night out?
- Make Sure Your Wedding Reception is the Only Event Taking Place at the Venue
- Never Post the Exact Time or Location of Your Wedding Reception Online
- Send Your Guests Invitation Cards in the Mail
- Assign Seats and Name Cards to All Your Guests
- Ask Close Friends and Family to Talk to Any Unfamiliar Faces
If you follow these simple rules, you should be free to enjoy your big day without worrying about unwanted guests crashing the party.
But wait, there is more to the problem than you may think, check out the rest of the article not to become a victim of a crasher.
Who Are Wedding Crashers?
Some wedding crashers are simply friends or family who weren’t invited but decided to come anyway. They might also be extra uninvited friends, partners, or children of your guests. They may not be here to cause trouble, but there was a reason they weren’t invited, and the event was planned for the guests you did invite.
Some wedding crashers are opportunists. They look at your big day and see a free party with food and drinks galore. Others do it because they know it’s wrong. They’re excited by the idea of crashing someone else’s big day. Either way, they’ll be taking advantage of your hospitality and inconveniencing the people you really want to be there.
Even worse than that, some wedding crashers are there to take advantage of the joyous atmosphere and steal wedding gifts or money from guests. Make sure that gifts, especially cash gifts, are taken care of securely and are not left on display once the party starts.
The other kind of wedding crasher is the bitter ex, estranged family member, or former friend who is there to cause trouble for you by attempting to get revenge or trying to otherwise ruin your special day.
What’s So Bad About Wedding Crashers Anyway?
Some people may just tell you, ‘the more the merrier, right?’, but I don’t see it that way. A wedding crasher like any uninvited guest always spells trouble.
You’ve spent months planning your wedding day. It’s only going to happen once, so you’ve worked out every last detail to make sure it’s absolutely perfect. You’ve sent out invitations to the people you love and care for the most and made sure everyone is provided for, so an uninvited guest can really upset the balance.
You’ve thought long and hard about who to invite to your big day – and who not to invite. Also, if you are anything like my wife and me, you had a particular budget and limited your guestlist to fit within those financial constraints. It’s disrespectful to the happy couple to disregard their wishes and ignore their carefully laid out plans.
Preventing Wedding Crashers
Make Sure Your Wedding Reception is the Only Event Taking Place at the Venue
When finding a venue for your wedding reception, make sure you check with the booking manager that there are no other rooms booked for other events. If there are other wedding receptions, birthday parties, or business functions happening next door, not only will it be a distraction from your big day, guests may drift from one room to another and end up crashing your party.
Similarly, don’t have your reception at a venue with a public restaurant, bar, or hotel attached. Customers might see what a great time you’re having and try to sneak in unannounced.
However, most good venues have a policy of only taking on one big event at a time, unless it’s an extremely large venue that is.
If you find that you are going to be sharing an event space you can ask the venue staff to help you monitor the entrance to your particular room or even go as far as to give guests a wrist band or other identifying mark to help make sure only they have access to your free bar.
Never Post the Exact Time or Location of Your Wedding Reception Online
Of course, you want everyone to know how excited you are about your big day, but don’t share details about the time or address of your wedding to your social media accounts, or anywhere else online. Even the venue’s name should be kept under wraps until the party’s over and you’re ready to share all those beautiful memories with the world.
Now, it doesn’t have to be a top-secret military operation! Just be aware that information posted online can easily be shared in ways we can’t control. Even if you make a private group or event listing, it can be difficult to stop it from being shared or seen by others.
If you have to send information via the web, then private messages or a secure mailing list are the best approaches to limiting a leak and letting the worst type of wedding crashers into your special day.
Send Your Guests Invitation Cards in the Mail
You might decide to send out physical invitation cards to your guests in the mail instead of electronic invites. There are several benefits to doing this.
First, who wouldn’t love to find a beautifully designed, personalized card in their mailbox instead of the daily pile of bills and junk mail? Your guests will all have a unique gift they can open up, hold, and touch, as well as a physical reminder of your big day that they can keep and treasure forever.
Second, sending out cards in the mail lets you avoid the security risks involved in posting your details online. It’s harder to share a personal note than a tweet these days, let’s face it.
Finally, you can ask your guests to bring their invitation card with them to the wedding and ensure only those with an invite get in. If you don’t want people to have to bring the actual card, you could include a ticket or separate ‘entry card’ within your invitation.
Get creative, especially if you are getting married in a very public place. A few of the places I viewed with my wife had public restaurants and a large number of visitors just walking around, we crossed those places off our list!
Assign Seats and Name Cards to All Your Guests
Make sure all your guests have an assigned seat marked with a name card. That way, you know that anyone without a seat and a name card isn’t on the guest list and shouldn’t be there.
If you want a more informal seating arrangement, guests can carry their name cards and use them to get drinks at the bar – also stopping uninvited guests from running up your bar tab.
Just like the invitation cards, the name cards can be designed and personalized to make your guests feel special and to give them a unique memento to take home and remind them of your big day.
Ask Close Friends and Family to Talk to Any Unfamiliar Faces
You might think it would be easy to spot an uninvited guest at your own wedding. After all, these are your and your spouse’s closest friends and family. However, this is your big day and your mind is probably focused on other more important things. Not to mention all those long lost relatives and friends which our parents insist on inviting too.
If you’re worried about wedding crashers on the day of your big event, have a word with your closest friends or family members and ask them to speak with people they don’t recognize. This way, they can covertly check if that person is meant to be there or not. Get them to ask about the details of the ceremony, since a wedding crasher is unlikely to have attended it.
If they are a genuine guest (and if you’ve taken all the precautions, they most likely are!), it’s also a great chance to make them feel more welcome and perhaps even create new connections and friendships. So make sure that you don’t instill your relatives and friends with too much enthusiasm to unmask possible crashers, we don’t want them going over the top!
Other Things You Can Do to Prevent Wedding Crashers
Hire some muscle
If your budget allows, you might want to hire a doorman or hostess. They can be on hand to greet your guests and keep out anyone who wasn’t invited. You may even have a friend or family member who is happy to adopt this role.
Keep it small
Having a small event with only your closest friends and family is also a good way to keep out wedding crashers. With a small crowd of people you know well, anyone who doesn’t belong will be much easier to spot.
Make them stand out
If you are really concerned about the issue of wedding crashers and have a wild side, you could plan a themed wedding or have a non-traditional dress code. This at the very least will keep out the opportunist crashers as they will be much easier to spot.
How to Spot a Wedding Crasher
At a large event, a wedding crasher can be difficult to spot, but there are signs you can look out for.
Since they weren’t invited and don’t have a designated seat, the wedding crasher will often be standing by the bar, the buffet, or on the dance floor. During the dinner and speeches, they may disappear to the bathroom or elsewhere.
Keep an eye out especially for anyone hovering by the bar, since wedding crashers are often there to take advantage of free drinks.
They might claim to be a friend of the groom when speaking to the bride and her family, or vice versa. If someone is suspected of being a wedding crasher, having both the bride and groom speak to them together can catch them in a lie.
Similarly, having people from both sides of the family speak to them together can call them out, if they claim to be a distant cousin, aunt, or uncle.
You can also ask them questions about the bride or groom which a relative or friend would be expected to know such as their surname, job, hometown or even birthday.
What to Do If Someone Does Crash Your Wedding
If you suspect that someone is at your wedding uninvited, there are a few things you should do.
First, tell one or two trusted family members about your concerns and ask them to go and speak with the potential wedding crasher. They may either know who the guest is or be able to catch them if they are there uninvited.
If the bride, the groom, and both their parents don’t recognize the guest, they are most likely not invited.
If you think the person is a wedding crasher, you can inform the venue staff and have them removed quietly. They should have experience dealing with unwanted guests at events and should be able to handle the situation delicately. When selecting a wedding venue it may benefit you to discuss this scenario with them beforehand to ensure that they could handle a potential wedding crasher quietly and effectively.
Alternatively, the bride and groom should approach the wedding crasher together and ask them politely but firmly to leave.
If you really want to put the crasher on the spot and use the power of public embarrassment, you could announce their misdemeanor over the PA system, but this would be the last resort as you don’t know this person and what they may do.