Sunday Mornings with Rania: Protecting Your Possessions During Wedding

We have all moved “online,” where we share our lives, stories, photos. We create mini-pages for every big moment – birthday, graduation, wedding and more. It’s a wonderful tool that allows us to keep family and friends across the globe connected. That said, the nature of the online world means we also inadvertently connect these big life moments to strangers, some of whom may see your joyous occasion as an opportunity.

One such industry gaining concern is the online bridal industry. An overwhelming majority of brides register with an online platform that shares every detail of the wedding including the date, time and location, photos of the bride, groom and wedding party, gifts that are being requested and more. These platforms are free, easy to use and tremendously successfully at conveying information to guests.

Since the start of spring brings “wedding season” we want you to be aware of the unthinkable but very real risks associated with showcasing wedding details online. Like me, you may initially be thinking Come on - who would rob a bride, especially during her wedding? Sadly, where there’s an opportunity, unsavory people will take advantage. In fact, just two weeks ago, a Dallas bride returned from her rehearsal dinner to her swanky room at the Ritz-Carlton only to find her room robbed and more than $100,000 in wedding-related items missing, including heirloom jewelry and her own wedding and engagement rings. This is not how any bride wants to celebrate the night before her big day.  

Law enforcement worked quickly and identified two men in the Dallas robbery. A few days later, one was immediately apprehended {by the way, the suspect is a retired college football player. The other suspect is still at large.

So what’s the takeaway here? Again, it goes back to knowing the risks. Here are a few steps to consider to protect your special day:

  • You can still use technology but make everything you possibly can private. This is key. Especially if you are sharing your wedding itinerary, including times and locations, as well as registry, photos and more. Consider password-protecting your wedding website.
  • Don’t forget group emails still work and can be shared among family members and friends.
  • Consider insuring your wedding. According to a 2012 study, attendees at weddings give an average of $144 to a family member and $97 to friends. In more affluent weddings, the average gift value jumps up to $250 and more. Consider that since there will be an average of 150 guests, one-third of guests give cash at the reception and you are setting yourself up for a potential problem.  
  • Place all valuables in the hotel room safe. Don’t put your guard down just because it’s your wedding. 
  • Don’t share hotel room keys. When you have many people traveling for a wedding, hotels provide room blocks and often friends and family start asking the hotel for copies of each other’s room keys. It appears that while most hotels have strict policies in place, under these situations, they are flexible. Be cautious so that keys don’t end up in the wrong hands.
  • And finally, in our hashtag obsessed community, remember that taking photos of every aspect of your wedding and hashtagging it means anyone and everyone can follow your hashtag and event details online, opening the door for unwanted attention. Consider posting photos after the big day or not using a hashtag at all.
  • Remind vendors and out-of-towners that Houston is a big city with specific crime issues. For example, don’t leave important items in vehicles. One Houston bride learned this lesson first hand when her videographer left his equipment in his vehicle overnight following the wedding. The next day, it was gone, along with all video footage from the wedding.  

It’s horrible that we have to think about this, isn’t it? I agree, but it’s a must. Our goal is to be one, no - 10 steps ahead of the crime trends and equip you with everything you need to know to protect yourself and those special moments that mean so much to you. We hope this is helpful and that is it shared with all the brides and grooms in your lives.

May this spring be filled with all the best the season has to offer including safe, happy and joyful weddings across our great city! 

About the author

Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston