All of our wedding clients are wonderful, beautiful, sweethearts that invite the most gracious and enjoyable guests! Let's be honest for a second, this is not the reality. Although I wish this were true, we can secretly be honest with ourselves. Not all of our clients are angels, and no they don’t invite our city’s top business professional/socialite crowd.
Each of us as hospitality experts make it our daily responsibility that our clients have the most memorable experience throughout their entire process of their wedding, but sometimes during the planning of or the event itself we should better understand the difference between hospitality and our security.
Here is an example of a real happening in my career.
It was a wedding in one of our venues, fast forward past the ceremony, cocktail hour, and beginning of reception. I asked the decorator/planner to have all of the personal belongings in the annex rooms cleaned out as security was locking up the spaces. She didn’t have a problem with this, or so I thought…. She went and yelled at a groomsmen, who was the size of a professional football player. He stormed up to me, yelling about the rooms for several seconds, additional guests followed suit. In this very situation, I was fearful of my well-being and security.
Have you ever had moments with a guest, family member of the client, or even the bride or groom that you begin to question the safety and security of yourself and others?
After the event, a mentor of mine reminded me that there is a fine line between hospitality and security. As wedding professionals we always do our very best to see the event through with professionalism and showcasing our passion for hospitality, but there are times where unruly guests, over reactive clients, or dramatic parents force us into a whole new role. It’s our job to also protect the reputation and safety of our company and staff. If for some reason this comes up in your wedding realm, here is a three step process for a beginner’s success.
Clearly state to the individual what they are doing is wrong. In a calm voice, clearly and in a short statement let them know they are acting inappropriately. This can be a statement such as: “Stop. You are threatening myself and the guests of the party.” “Stop. I will not speak with you until you lower your voice (or) stop cursing.” This gives you the ability to make them aware that you are in control of the conversation as well as letting others that can hear that they are acting out, and you are feeling threatened.
Always, and I mean ALWAYS have someone with you. If you are about to confront an unruly guest, have someone with you to back you up. This lets you have someone there to back up our authority, at the same time someone there to back up your story if it is questioned later by others. At times you may not have the opportunity to have someone with you. This is when you establish someone on your team/staff as your go-to for high-stress situations. If they see you are in trouble, or if they don’t see you call them over/radio them to your location for additional assistance. It’s always best to have someone there to back you up.
Call the police. If all else fails, and the party/situation is getting out of control the police are always there as a last resort. It is our job to insure a fun and safe party for our clients, but there is a fine line between hospitality and security, and the party is getting out of control and guests aren’t listening or becoming truly threatening towards you or others, simply call the police.
If you feel like you could use more information about personal/company security take a look at this website to start and do a little more Google research. It takes a lot of practice to smoothly handle a high-stress and tense situation, but once we nail down the level of confidence needed we will be able to handle any situation a wedding throws our way with grace and poise.
Photo Credit: Siobhan Young Photography