At a recent Tampa Bay wedding a brawl broke out after the groom, Markeith Brown, began to throw money on the reception hall dance floor for the attending children to gather. A guest objected and soon fists were flying, a grandmother was put into a choke hold when she tried to break up a fight, arrests were made and what was designed to be a fairy tale wedding turned into a nightmare.
Here's how to avoid this situation happening at your wedding.
1) Ask bartenders to monitor guests' alcoholic intake. If they think that someone is overdoing and perhaps becoming belligerent, especially if they think they may have to cut that person off, ask them to alert one of the ushers or someone you may have asked to act as security or, perhaps, even a well-dressed and discreet security guard you hired to handle such situations. Off-duty police often can be hired if you think that you might have a guest or two who will potentially cause a problem but you have to invite them anyway.
2) Be proactive. If you know that an ex (girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, etc.) or an estranged, uninvited relative or other hostile person may try to crash the ceremony or reception, alert your security, your wedding planner, reception hall manager, ceremony site personnel or some imposing and authoritative figure that someone may try to ruin your wedding day. If possible, supply a photo so that they can be on the lookout for the intruder and can handle the situation before it becomes a problem even if it requires that they dial 911.
3) While money dances are common in many cultures, a money pinata or similar activity is never a good idea. Tossing money around is just going to be too much of a temptation for someone to behave badly, no matter how good your intentions.
4) Ask whomever is assigned to make a toast to be discreet. This is not the time to bring up past relationships or past bad behavior no matter how funny that person thinks it will be. And if someone does start to say something inappropriate, ask your MC to interrupt them. A trained DJ or MC, if given prior permission, will know how to diffuse the situation with humor, music or other distraction.
5) Avoid tacky behavior yourself. It's really not necessary for the groom to dive under the bride's gown, especially for a prolonged period of time, to retrieve the garter or for you to decide that the honeymoon can start at the reception.
6) The "Wedding Crashers" was a funny movie but your wedding isn't the time for someone to try to "score" with a lonely guest or to have uninvited guests. Use your instincts. If someone looks out of place, they probably are.
As the devastated bride and groom, Tasha Johnson and Markeith Brown would likely attest of their Tampa Bay nuptials, paying a lot of money for a wedding doesn't necessarily translate into ideal behavior by guests. Take a few simple steps to avoid having your fairy tale wedding story turn into a nightmare tale by the Brothers Grimm.
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