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Keep It Safe: How to Handle Cards and Gifts


There are certain wedding-related questions that are asked repeatedly, and one of those has to do with gifts. Specifically, the question is: where should gifts that are brought to the reception go, and how can they remain secure?   This is an uncomfortable question, as it feels terrible to be suspicious and untrusting. But I spoke with another planner recently, and she told me how the envelopes were stolen at one of her events. And this is not the only story I have ever heard.

As a Philadelphia wedding planner for twelve years, I can tell you the answer for sure: the gifts should be placed on a table in the most highly trafficked area during the cocktail reception. There should be a place for wrapped presents, but in the last few years, I hardly ever see more than a half-dozen of those at each wedding. The bigger issue becomes the envelopes with cash or checks inside. They should be in some sort of container that is LOCKED and that cannot be opened by anyone except those who have a key. For obvious reasons, this is the safest scenario. Another one that works is to have a very high vessel where the cards can be dropped in from a raised arm, but that arm can’t reach the card after it is dropped.

The second part of this is as important as the first: I suggest that the couple designate someone- a close friend or relative- to take that box/other container and open it about ten minutes before the end of the cocktail reception. They can take the envelopes to their hotel room, to the hotel safe, to the venue’s safe, to a locked bridal suite, or to another secure location. Some venues that handle cards will actually require the guests to sign in that they are handing them over, so that the couple has that list too. And some venues will assist the designee, but they won’t actually touch the cards. The emptied “card catcher” can be moved into the room of the dinner/reception, where it is in clear view of many people and where those who haven’t deposited their cards before this can find it. And, at the end of the party, another designee (or the same one, but not the couple- as long as that person is sober) can pick up any last envelopes or gifts and bring them to the couple or keep them secure until the next day.

It is surely better to be safe than sorry!


Photo courtesy of Shea Roggio Photography


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