I Think a Guest Stole Our Wedding Gifts

... And I don't even know what to do

Q:I am writing to you after our intimate, hundred-person wedding—a time I thought I would be spending on cloud nine. Our wedding was fantastic; it came together so nicely, and many attendees have reached out saying it was the best wedding they had ever been to, hands down. Our staff, DJ, food, live music, and overall atmosphere was unbelievable—we could not be happier.

Until we opened our gifts to realize cards had been stolen from our card basket. While opening gifts, there were a few key people who were missing. I found it odd, but I wasn’t going to bring it up (it’s reasonable to think not everyone gave gifts or that a card was left at home accidentally). Then, I found four loose checks from important family members: his father, my grandparents, and aunts and uncles. My husband told me he thought that was strange when he emptied the basket to take gifts home at the end of the night but, other than being weird, it never registered with either of us that something was amiss. We only invited people we are close to and intentionally limited the guest list, so it’s no wonder we never expected something like this to occur.

It didn’t hit me until I remembered that on the night of the wedding, my two very close cousins mentioned that they gave my husband and me two funny and slightly inappropriate cards. When I only received one, I took the opportunity to ask one cousin about her sister’s missing card, and this finally set off alarms. Not only did she inform me that she saw her sister put the card in, with a cash gift enclosed, but that her parents, did not, and would never, give a loose check, but in fact, had it enclosed in a sealed card.

After realizing this, I did some delicate and roundabout questioning of guests whose cards we were missing and found that some gave cash, others made up the folded bundle of loose checks, and all had put in their cards around the same time, immediately after dinner. It appears that the card thief swiped about ten cards off the top of the pile, opened them discreetly in a private location like a bathroom, kept the cash, and weirdly enough, folded up a wad of checks and somehow returned them, unnoticed by a hundred people. I assume this individual kept the cards on their person until after the reception, since it doesn’t appear as if opened cards were found in any garbage on site.

I give you all this background to emphasize the incredible strangeness of the event. My first thought was that a staff member had stolen from us, but after calling the police and being told there had never been a complaint of theft among the long-standing establishment; talking to the maître d’, who hasn’t hired new staff in years; and recognizing that a staffer would most likely have disposed of the check, rather than exhibiting the apparent guilt of returning loose checks (not to mention the risk of being caught at the card basket twice), I realized, the person who did this was most likely a guest.

It’s so devastating to know that on the happiest day of our lives, we were taken advantage of. And to realize how stealthy this person must have been, considering he or she swiped the top cards off the basket, that was sitting right next to the sweetheart table, during our reception while we were literally RIGHT THERE, is a solid punch to the gut on many levels.

Not only did we get robbed from either a trusted vendor or a loved guest, but it happened right under our noses and makes us question our ability to judge the characters of those around us. The likeliness of someone we associate with regularly and love enough to invite to our wedding having done this makes me feel like a fool. It’s not even about the money; for someone to do this means they were desperate. They can keep the money. My heartbreak comes in knowing we will never see the kind sentiments my grandparents or my husband’s father wrote to us in their cards, and that at least four of our guests’ generous cash gifts went to someone who they did not intend to give money to.

We thought we knew our guests well; of course there’s always the possibility that a loved one is struggling with debt or addiction and we are unaware, but each time we come up with a list of suspects, we can’t even believe that person would be capable of such a thing.

I need some advice; I don’t know what to do or how to handle the betrayal I feel. I have no intention of accusing people, however, I thought it might be a good idea to reach out to our guests and ask if they saw any odd behavior at the wedding, either by other guests or staff. Those I have reached out to are incredibly sympathetic, but they have not seen anything.

My husband does not agree that we should do this. He feels we will never find out who did this, and that we shouldn’t bother our guests in this way. While I agree with him, that we may never find out what happened, I am sick to my stomach knowing the person responsible will receive a heartfelt thank you from us, and will most likely have a relationship with us after the wedding, considering we only invited the family and friends we truly care about and see regularly.

I am having a hard time letting go, even though it’s only been three days. What do we do? Respect my husband’s wishes and not tell any other guests? Tell our guests and possibly get to the bottom of this? File a police report against a venue I am pretty sure had nothing to do with this? Is there another option I’m missing?

—Betrayed Bride

A: Dear BB,

Oh man, what a punch to the gut. I can’t imagine the hurt you’re feeling. It’d probably make me want to do everything in my power to figure out this mystery. And while I get that, I’m with your husband on this one. You admit that it’s unlikely you’ll find out what happened, so what’s the point? There’s no use looping in family and getting everyone all upset.

You will move beyond this. Eventually the happy memories of your wedding will outweigh this churning feeling in your guts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way for your guests, who won’t have the same emotional ties to all the bits and pieces of the milestone. One big splashy, dramatic thing happens (like, say, a theft of a stack of cash gifts), and that’s forever what folks talk about when your wedding comes up. It’s easier to just leave them out of it.

The thing to focus on instead is how to handle your feelings, which are all completely fair right now, but probably hard to swallow. Start by quitting the speculation over whodunit. You’re creating secret fractures in all of these (potentially innocent!) relationships with your loved ones. I know it’s hard to resist, but it’s doing you no good.

So how do you do that? You tell yourself sweet, sweet little lies. Well, not really lies, but how about some good fact-based conjectures? We don’t know for sure, but we can pretty much assume that whoever stole this couldn’t help themselves in some way. Whether because of addiction or debt or whatever else, it was beyond their control. It feels very personal (of course it does), but imagine that they weren’t trying to single you out, to take advantage of you, to hurt you personally. But instead, because of whatever life circumstances, were incapable of controlling an impulse. They stole from you. There is no “benefit of the doubt” here, no way to assume that it was somehow a mistake. The best you can do is tell yourself that it’s not personal, and that maybe they really just needed it more than you. Not for any other reason than to let yourself sleep at night.

Also, frankly, your rationale for dismissing the possibility that it was staff or a stranger just doesn’t cut it for me. I think it’s still likely that it was someone at the venue who just hasn’t been caught before, or someone who shouldn’t have been there at all and managed to sidle in at just the right time. You don’t really know for sure, right? So I’d take the easy road and decide that it was some Snidely Whiplash waiter that you don’t know and will never see again. Either your venue doesn’t know their staff as well as they think they do, or you don’t know your loved ones as well as you assume. Which is easier to swallow?

Grieve and process and come around to your own sense of peace with it however you can. It probably won’t involve figuring anything out, so give up that part of it. But at least take comfort in the fact that if it was someone you know and love and trust, that heartfelt thanks that you’re reluctant to bestow on them? That’s just going to eat them alive.

—Liz Moorhead

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  • EE

    I don’t think you should go guest to guest to investigate further, but I do think this is something to raise with all vendors who were there. Might your photographer have photos, for example? Could your DJ have a new assistant in a probationary period? Or just ask them if they’d seen anything.

    I also think it’s possible that even if the venue has never had this happen before, someone on the staff could have a new addiction / gambling / debt issue – seems just as likely as someone you know and trust having the same. Also, this is a good reason to go ahead and file the police report anyway. Get it on the record that this happened so that they can’t say the same thing if it happens again to someone else

    I loved and trusted my venue, but about a year after my wedding, they were seized by local authorities for inappropriately taking FEMA money and some related fraud, that pre-dated my wedding. In the process, weddings were cancelled and deposits were not refunded!

    • rg223

      Agreed with filing the police report so it’s on record. Overall, I just wouldn’t put the word of the venue over my trust in my family and friends. Because what else is the venue supposed to say? They aren’t going to tell you that thefts have happened recently but they went ahead with the usual staff anyway.

    • sofar

      Yes, what was surprising to me at my wedding was how many random strangers were milling around. The cupcake lady had two assistants helping her set up. The lighting/sound guy had a few dudes helping him unload and carry in. Our photographer had an assistant. Our day-of coordinator had someone come in to help with clean-up. Our venue coordinator had a trainee shadowing her all night.

      The venue and vendors may be totally above-board, but events like this necessitate having a lot of randos coming in and out.

    • Colleen

      “Wait, why couldn’t it have been a venue employee?” ran through my head the entire time I read this. I worked in restaurants and catering venues throughout college. The places I worked were beautiful, well-regarded, and expensive. The staff were well trained and longstanding. Some of them also had personal situations that could have led to desperate actions like stealing money – things like drug habits, student loans, and/or child support payments. Some were also just not the most trustworthy folks. Even the best venues, with great management, can have bad eggs that manage to keep their actions on the DL.

      • PAJane

        Also, “It’s never happened before” is in no way evidence that it never will. This could be the first time they did it, or the first time they were caught.

        • Jan

          “It’s never happened before” also doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened; just that no one’s ever noticed.

  • rg223

    Liz makes such a good point about the other guests remembering the “drama” of the stolen money and continuing to talk about it for years to come – I hadn’t thought of that and it’s very likely to happen!

    On the emotional side of dealing with things, I think timing is an issue here too. It’s only been three days post-wedding so of course emotions are running high. I would say give it a couple months and if it’s still bothering you a lot, maybe take it into short term therapy, or just talk to a trusted friend who isn’t going to play “whodunnit” (or talk it out at an APW happy hour!). By recognizing that whoever did it (friend or stranger) was in a desperate situation, you’re halfway to moving past it already. Good luck LW!

  • sofar

    I’m going to side with LW, due to something that happened in my family years ago. Long story short, a relative was stealing from various relatives’ homes during parties and the only way we were able to connect the dots is because people put the word out and asked everyone if they’d seen anything “weird.” He was hiding a drug addiction, it turned out, and this all signaled to his parents that he needed help. And it gave my cousin the heads-up to have someone manning the gift table at her wedding.

    Ask people if they saw anything weird. Don’t make it a big thing out of it, but do put the word out.

    That way, if it happens at another family soiree, you know it’s in the family. And your loved ones can connect the dots and get help for the person doing the stealing.

    And, obviously, DEFINITELY reach out to your vendors. This gives them the chance to look into any assistants they may have brought in and avoid damage to their own reputation if it happens again.

    • penguin

      Right I was thinking the same thing, it could be someone’s assistant or just a random person at the venue (depending what kind of venue it was). We got married in a hotel and there were guests at the hotel we didn’t know who could have easily swung by at some point. Also, next time I give a wedding gift I’m referencing my gift in the card – someone gave us a few beautiful homemade wreaths, and I know there was a card but it got separated, and we never found out who it was.

    • A

      Yes, I posted above about how I personally would inform my guests, and a big part of that comes from the fact that my family went through something like this – things kept disappearing, and it wasn’t until people actually spoke up and talked to each other about their losses and suspicions that it could all be put together and confirmed, and now there is a family member who is receiving help and who people know to be extra careful around. Ultimately keeping things like this to yourself only make it more likely that it’ll happen to someone else, regardless of whether it was a guest or a staff member. People with problems like this thrive because everyone’s instinct is to look the other way because it’s all too distasteful to talk about. It doesn’t help anyone. You don’t have to accuse anyone or imply that you’re suspicious of any one individual, but it’s better (in my mind) to bring up than not to.

      • sofar

        Right. We caught our family thief only when people were asked if they saw anything. It’s a huge leap for people to make on their own to reach out and share suspicions/stories.

  • Amy March

    Agree completely with Liz. Bringing this up with all your guests will only create drama and I think it very well could have been someone other than a guest. I do think you could tell the grandparents and parents that, while you got the checks, the cards were stolen and you would so cherish their good wishes if they would be so kind as to send another card. Not for all the guests but close family I think it’s okay.

    • Jan

      Yeah, apart from the stress of not knowing how this happened, I would feel a particular brand of anxiety about not knowing who might be expecting a thank you card from me, that won’t get one because their card was taken! I’d want to inform people I’m very close to, for this reason.

  • Kathy

    I think LW should share with her guest what happened: someone stole wedding gifts and they have no idea who it was. And just because the thief might have stolen something else that LW will never know about. By sharing, it gives the chance for people to say what they bought or rewrite any beautiful cards/letters. And if these people are that close to you they will respect your wish of letting things go and avoid speaking of this (at least in front of you). And if it make LW feel better, I am more inclined to a venue staff than a guest, just because the don’t have emotional ties with you and it is always much easier for them to mingle around and not being noticed.

    • Jan

      Yeah, I do think there’s a way to broach the subject with guests and also politely imply that you don’t want it to Be A Thing. “We really don’t want to linger on this, as we so enjoyed our wedding and would rather that be our focus. However, we wanted to mention…”

  • chartreuse

    What would folks recommend for people who are worried something like this might happen at their wedding? I don’t think any of my guests or vendors are potential thieves! But I’m getting married in a city-owned building (that is normally open to the public; think public library or City Hall) in a major city, and though they have security guards at the entrance, people do sometimes wander in and out. Are there solutions other than asking someone to watch the card table? Do you put a lock on the box?!

    • Amy March

      A locked box that is kept near you- on your table at dinner, secured before dancing, well inside the cocktail room.

    • Eenie

      Also this is why I never give cash. Check always.

    • Eenie

      Can you have someone put the cards in a more secure place (car trunk?) after a certain point in the night? Right before the ceremony starts and then right before dinner? Not leaving them all out for the entire reception lowers the risk.

    • Anne

      We asked my aunt to put the card basket in a car right after the ceremony. If your ceremony and reception are in the same location, there’s no need for it to be sitting out even until dinner.

    • Eh

      I was the guest book attendant at my cousins wedding which also meant I was in charge of the card box. After everyone was in the reception hall I gave it to the best man for safe keeping. It’s common for someone to collect the cards at one point during the night (most people drop of the cards and gifts on their way in so before the end of supper) and put them in a safe spot.

      We had an open box for people to put cards in and didn’t worry about it. At one point my inlaws packed up all the gifts and cards into their car (they hosted our gift opening the next morning).

    • Her Lindsayship

      Our wedding was in part of a restaurant because we couldn’t afford to book out the whole place for ourselves. (In the end the manager chose not to open to the public that night after all – which was an awesome surprise, although at that point we had already mentally prepared for there to be other people in the other rooms, but anyway that’s beside the point.) We agreed ahead of time that the card box would be moved to behind the private bar during the dance party part of the night, because no one is adding a card at that point and it would be more secure. If a bar isn’t an option, is there an administrative office there where someone could store gifts/cards for you once say, cocktail hour is over?

    • Transnonymous

      My mom and bridesmaids were on “gift duty” and immediately relocated any cards or checks we received to a hidden spot in the changing room, which a) no one but the wedding party was going and coming from and b) was hard to find in the first place. This requires having a place like that on-site, though.

      • Not Sarah

        Our venue coordinator did that throughout the night. My mom was worried gifts & cards were disappearing all night until I told her that’s what had been happening.

    • SS Express

      For my engagement party I bought a gift box with a lid and my husband cut a slot in the front for people to put their cards into, like a mailbox. It was possible to open the lid but would’ve been very hard to do discreetly. If you’re a bit fancier than me I’m sure you could buy something like this from Etsy.

    • Jan

      We didn’t even think about this as a potential issue for our wedding… people just dropped their cards in a basket on the way in, and my in-laws grabbed them on their way out for the night. If anyone stole from our card basket, I didn’t notice and will literally never know. But, if it WAS a concern, I think I’d have established some sort of coat check (or something similar) that is a separate staging-type of area manned by a helper, where people drop their gifts and go. Or, I mean, just a box with a slit?

    • Colleen

      Google “bird cage card holder” – we used one that you could easily drop cards into, but not easily get them out of and if someone was opening it completely, that would take longer/be more obvious.

    • QoB

      We hired a wedding-specific box that looked like a post box – it had a slot for cards and locked with a padlock. My aunt took charge of it overnight and gave us the contents the following day. It wouldn’t stop a very determined thief but it would stop the casual walk-by lifting and it had a bit of novelty value for guests (we had an online registry and tried to emphasise presents weren’t required so we weren’t expecting anything that wasn’t card-sized.)

  • Her Lindsayship

    I’m absolutely loving that last line’s honesty.

    Also, I agree with Liz and others that it’s still way more likely to be staff.

  • Eenie

    I would second the opinion to not ask the guests about the incident. It’s been almost two years since our wedding and well meaning friends and family still ask after my friend who had a seizure during the toasts. It was a memorable event for sure – me on the phone with 911 relaying her medical history, the three medical professionals providing first aid, and paramedics loading her on the stretcher to go to the hospital. She’s doing fine now, but I really wish that wasn’t the defining event of my wedding. Both because I wish her health was better, and I really hate the questions after the fact. I don’t share the fact that she’s doing so much better now because the incident caused her to start drinking way too much and she entered rehab a couple months later.

    All that is to say, it’s fine that you’re sad and hurt about the incident. But don’t tell anymore people than you need to, so there will be some people out there who will just remind you about the good times and delicious food and how you threw an amazing wedding.

  • Lexipedia

    … and there goes my idea for the cute little open glass card box.

    LW – whatever you decide to do with family, I would let all of your vendors know. Not in an “I’m accusing you of doing this” way, but in case they might’ve seen a pattern, so suspect something internally that they might want to investigate.

  • Mrrpaderp

    Give your guests a heads-up about what happened. Just because some checks were returned doesn’t mean they all were. If a thief potentially had my checking account number, name, and address, I’d want to know about it. Send a short text or facebook message – “The card box was tampered with during the reception and we know that some cards with cash and/or checks were stolen. If you dropped off a card for us, we did not receive it.”

    Just don’t hound guests for details. I promise you, anyone who gets a text like, “Someone stole from us on our wedding day,” is running that day through their head. If anyone saw anything even remotely suspicious, they will reach out.

    I agree with Liz that LW has to tell herself it was a stranger. If a guest points the finger at another guest, so be it. But you can’t live your life harboring suspicions about all of your nearest and dearest.

    • Violet

      Sorry that this is a dumb question, but I’m not quite clear. Are you saying that the thief would be able to cash the check? Because otherwise wouldn’t I (the check-giver) realize something must’ve gone wrong when my check wasn’t cashed and reach out to the couple?

      • Jessica

        Thieves can access the account through the account number on the bottom of the check

        • Violet

          That part I got, I just thought that if it couldn’t be cashed, I’d at least realize something like that was up and could happen. But apparently not!

      • Mrrpaderp

        They might be able to cash the check, plenty of check cashing places don’t ask for ID. Also some people (ahem me) don’t pay as much attention as they should to whether a check gets cashed. I’d be less concerned about the money lost from the check, though, than about the fact that a thief has my bank account number.

        • Violet

          So scary! Thanks for the info.

        • Jan

          Yeah, I regularly give $50 or $100 at weddings and I don’t know that I’d notice if that check wasn’t cashed.

    • PAJane

      I would probably wait until after I finished writing all my thank-yous, and reach out specifically to people not recorded as having given a gift. Otherwise they’ll just wonder why you pocketed their gift and never thanked them, which would be sad.

      • Her Lindsayship

        But what would that reach-out involve? ‘Hey just wanted to touch base because I have you down as not giving us a wedding gift, what gives?’ :P I see the logic of bringing it to their attention in case their gift was stolen, but I don’t know how LW could possibly do that tactfully unless they KNEW that person brought something.

        • PAJane

          Yeah, could be weird and feel like you’re singling them out. Might make sense to make it a low-key public post, but still say something along the lines of, “Hey, it’s come to our attention that some of the gifts and cards people so generously gave us at our wedding grew legs at the reception! At this point we’ve written and mailed all our thank you notes, so if you brought a gift to the wedding and haven’t received a note, please feel free to reach out.”

          • SS Express

            This only works if you don’t send thankyous to guests who didn’t give a gift though, which is kinda rude.

          • Amy March

            No it’s actually not. Thank yous are for gifts, not attendance. It can look like a passive aggressive dig about not sending a gift to send them for attendance only.

            If you want to send notes for attendance fine, but it’s in no way rude not to.

          • PAJane

            Point! I hadn’t thought of that.

    • sofar

      I think that technique and wording is perfect.

      I’d still add, “Also, let us know if you saw anything odd.”

      That’s how we found out a relative was stealing at family parties to fund a drug addiction. I agree you shouldn’t hound, but sending out a quick family-wide email that says, “Hey, let us know if you saw anything strange that you might have written off at the time, but now seems weird under the circumstances.” In the immediate aftermath when people knew stuff was going missing, nobody said anything. But as soon as my parents sent out an email asking if anyone noticed anything, observations started pouring in. Lots of people noticed “odd” things, it turns out, and all of those odd things involved the thief.

      • A

        This is so often the case. Nobody wants to make trouble or rock the boat, and we’re all likely to second-guess ourselves if we think we saw someone we know do something wrong and give them the benefit of the doubt, but as soon as we have permission, or realise that we’re not the only one who went through X, or realise the information could help someone, we’ll speak up. It’s human nature. Give your guests that “permission” to voice their concerns. Of course, it still could have been a staff member, but as unlikely as it is you’ll ever find out the truth, that likelihood sits at around pretty much 0% if nobody actually knows this happened.

        • sofar

          Exactly. That’s why, when a crime happens, you always see the press interviews with the police saying, “Please tell us if you noticed anything, even if you think it’s too small or insignificant to matter.”

          • Amy March

            Right. That’s why I think she shouldn’t do this. Because it’s going to look like interrogating her guests like she is the vigilante police.

          • sofar

            It doesn’t have to be an interrogation, though. When a relative of mine was stealing from family years back, my parents sent out a family wide email saying, “[X object] and [x jewelry] aren’t where we put them before the party. Did anyone see these objects throughout the course of the party? Move them out of the way? Notice any of the kids playing with them? Notice anything odd? Don’t reply-all and drive everyone nuts with this, but just let us know by calling, texting or emailing us!”

            I think they were expecting it was the caterer. But it was only after that email that people started saying stuff like, “You know, all the cash was missing from my purse after aunt so-and-so’s birthday in the restaurant, maybe it didn’t just fall out …” and “I haven’t seen such-and-such valuable object since my last party …”

            You’re not going out to people and being like, “TELL US EVERYTHING YOU KNOW.” You’re inviting people to, if they saw something, to say something and giving people you care about a heads up. And then dropping it of nobody says anything, obviously. Even the police, when they put out these requests to call the tip-line aren’t interrogating anyone. They’re just saying, “hey, on a voluntary basis, call us if you saw anything, even something small” so they can start assembling a bigger picture.

            If I were a guest at this wedding, I’d actually appreciate an email like that, so I could follow up with the couple and make sure they got my gift (and take measures if I suspected a thief got ahold of my check, especially).

  • theteenygirl

    Not the same, but someone sent us sheets off our registry that they bought online from the store.. something glitchy happened and while we received the sheets the store had NO RECORD of who purchased them for us. I spent hours and hours on the phone with customer service reps and no one could help us. We had a small wedding (25 guests) but the registry link was circulated to all my in-laws friends – many of whom sent gifts despite not coming to the wedding – so there really is no way to know who sent them. What is still eating me up inside is that I can’t thank the person(s)! That’s why if you’re not sure that all the cards got to you, I would want to discreetly reach out to guests to find out if they did give a card/gift… to properly thank them, even if you did receive it.

    • Amy March

      But that’s so awkward if they didn’t give you a gift! Which is why I think it’s totally fine for a guest who hasn’t received a thank you to follow up and make sure it was received.

      • penguin

        Yep there were a few people who we didn’t receive gifts or cards from, and I wondered if they did leave a card and it went missing, or if they just didn’t leave anything (which is totally fine). There’s no way to reach out and check that isn’t awkward though.

  • A

    Oh man, this is interesting, and perhaps everyone’s a better person than I, because I have a thirst for justice and I would DEFINITELY inform my guests. I’m not a big Facebooker but this would definitely be one moment where I’d be posting (as well as calling around). “We had such a lovely time at our wedding and are so thrilled we could share our special day with so many of our loved ones. Unfortunately, we’ve recently found out that we’ve been the victims of theft – someone stole from us at our wedding and we’ll never get to see some of our beautiful cards from people like our grandparents which is devastating. We’re working with the incredibly professional staff to discover how this could have happened, but if anyone who attended our wedding saw anything out of the ordinary, please contact us. We just want those cards back.” I would possibly also add in a line about how the staff are hopeful they can recover security camera footage. Of course such footage is non-existent (otherwise it would have been mentioned) but if the person who stole from you happens to read it…they don’t need to know that. I disagree with those who think it was still more likely to be a staff member. If the staff is a small trusted team with no new employees, it does sound incredibly unlikely, but of course, still possible that someone had a change of circumstance and got desperate. It also sounds more likely that it was a woman because I don’t know how else anyone could remove the cards to a location to look at them without a handbag, unless perhaps they had a coat over their arms. Anyway, I hate drama and gossip but I would hate never knowing who did this to me more, and even if I intellectually knew I’d never find out, knowing that there was a strong chance whoever did this would find out that I at least knew and was looking into it, and also that everyone ELSE attending now knew too, would be worth it for me. That feeling of shame might just be what prevents this person from doing it again at another wedding. Speaking out will also mean anyone who might have guest-overlap will take precautions with their own gifts and card box at their wedding. It also means someone who needs help might – just might – get it. The idea that if I told people it’d stain the wedding day or become all anyone talked about just doesn’t bother me, though, personally. In five/ten/thirty years time people will still remember the good times they had at your wedding and the photos will still be just as nice.

  • Sarah Porter

    My parents’ friend was a wedding videographer for a long time. One time, a wedding he was working did a 50/50 raffle (half goes to the bride and groom, the rest to the winner, yeah, weddings don’t do this anymore) and someone stole all the money for the raffle from the father of the bride’s suit coat pocket, which was left on a chair during the father-daughter dance. A few weeks later the videographer was editing footage and realized from his second camera he had caught the thief in the act…. and it was the groom!

    • Waaaaat. Did he spill the beans?

      • Lisa

        This is what I need to know!

        • penguin

          Right, like what did the bride say when she found out? Did the groom just keep the money for himself? I have so many questions!

          • Sarah

            I’m going with second family that he’s trying to support. Only outcome that lives up to the hype.

      • PAJane

        The groom was his paying client. I suppose he could have told the bride, because so was she…but daaaaaamn, would you want to be the vendor who potentially blows up the marriage you JUST documented? But now I’m wondering if the bride was in on it.

    • HOLY CRAP

    • SS Express

      WHOA

    • Jan

      THIS IS LIKE A WEDDING LAW & ORDER EPISODE, I LOVE IT.

      • Riiight? it’s such a satisfying narrative arc.

    • louise danger

      OH MY GOD

  • SS Express

    Liz’s advice is spot on. I agree you’ve been too quick to discount venue staff. The fact that the police never had a complaint before doesn’t mean it’s never happened (not everyone gives a gift so most couples wouldn’t notice one or two missing cards – and even if they did notice, I think a lot of people wouldn’t go to the police), and even if it hasn’t happened before that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen this time. Presumably none of your friends have ever stolen from you before, but you can believe that on this one occasion someone who was desperate saw an opportunity and took it. Couldn’t that also be true of someone who works there?

    Even if it was a friend I don’t think letting everyone know is the way to go. Liz is right that the drama will overshadow the rest of the wedding, but more importantly it will sow suspicion and distrust in your family and friendship groups. Write the thankyou cards as Liz suggested, knowing that if there is a thief among your friends he or she will be tortured by receiving it, then go forward in your marriage with the knowledge that it was almost definitely not one of your friends but if it was they’ve been punished anyway and balance is restored.

    Sorry this happened to you at your wedding btw! I’d be very sad to lose any of our wedding cards.

  • ManderGimlet

    I have nothing to add other than that super sucks and I’m so sorry! I 100% understand your desire to go rogue vigilante (I probably would have been disowned by my entire family by this point were I in the same situation!) I hope you can find the mental peace to move past this and not let the behavior of others darken the memories of your wedding. I agree that telling yourself that it’s not personal can help, and if you aren’t quite ready to take the “they must need it more than me” high road, you can always travel the “there are some tacky, trash-ass people in this world and they’ll get what’s coming to them” low lane lol!

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  • J Swanson

    Unfortunately, at my brother’s first wedding (held at my parents’ house), her half-brother stole from her purse during the day. She figured it out because he blabbed to someone. If it’s a guest, you’ll figure it out. Trust me.
    At our wedding, someone wrote a nasty thing about “good luck with the deflowering” on our beautiful memory book. I awkwardly asked a few guy friends, until talking with my mom – it was one of my weird-ass female cousins who did it. Again, if you know them, at some point you’ll figure it out. (Needless to say, I don’t really talk to her anymore – but she was already manipulative and bitchy, so no big loss. And her dad has mommy issues with my mom and is constantly making her cry, so yeah…*snip* that branch of the ol’ family tree.)

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