How to Tell Guests They Can’t Take Everything Home


wedding guests who take centerpieces steal

I recently received an email from a colleague who wanted to know why guests sometimes think they’re entitled to take home centerpieces, flowers, candles, etc… from events. This colleague had also seen guests take other guests’ favors. Now that’s some nerve!

I once had a guest walk out of my event with a seven-foot-tall candelabra. I simply could not believe my eyes. So I completely understand my colleague’s frustration. People often assume that an event’s flowers and centerpieces will be trashed afterward. What they don’t realize, however, is that the vases and votives have usually been rented. They are most definitely not going in the trash!

Nonetheless, guests are guests and should be treated like so; there’s no delicate way of telling them to stop stealing your goods. Here’s what I suggest:

1. Consider having a member of your staff stand near the exit at the end of an event. If a guest tries to go home with an arrangement, have your staff offer to wrap the flowers in tissue paper — without your vase!

2. You can also add a paragraph to your contract, which states the client will reimburse you for any vases, candelabras, candle holders etc… that are missing after the event.

3. Don’t overlook the waitstaff! Ask them to be on the lookout for guests with sticky fingers and ask that they gently remind those guests that the centerpieces, flowers and arrangements are not favors.

Dear Readers, have guests ever taken any of your inventory? Do you think guests have the right to take the flowers? Please share your opinion in the comments below.

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