Annapolis is a Wedding Wonder of the World

Seafood. Historical homes. A prestigious campus. Boat rides on the Chesapeake. All these attractions make Annapolis a popular choice for destination wedding-goers. With its seasonal weather and crabcake delights, the city is drawing more and more couples to tie the knot amongst the activities of their guests.

At the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy, chapel weddings “under the swords” take place, in season, every hour on the hour on Saturdays. Any Academy grad may apply, and plenty do. Visitors will not only witness the wedding parties from these unions, but those of the more civilian variety, at local restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and hotels such as the new Doubletree or Waterfront Marriott. There are wedding packages, wedding cruises, and the ceremonies themselves are held in picturesque Georgian setting such as the William Paca House and Garden. Sailing buffs can rent a harbor and bay cruise aboard the 74-foot Schooner Woodwind, which appears in the sailing scene in the hit movie “Wedding Crashers”. Yes, Vince Vaughn and Jayne Seymour were here, and Woodwind Captain Jennifer Brest commanded the craft for the film’s “to the family estate” scene.

Such elements keep the city’s wedding planners busy, and its lodging booked. Despite all the bridal bustle, the capital remains an walkable, friendly destination, full of boutiques, galleries, and restaurants to every taste. For the latter, lunchgoers should try Irish-themed Galway Bay on Maryland Ave., and dinner groups will find the Doubletree’s Ports of Call restaurant (specializing in dishes from ports such as Charleston, Boston and New Orleans) and West Street’s trendy Kyma to their liking. Don’t miss a daytime stroll to homemade ice cream biz the Annapolis Ice Cream Company, where patrons have left signed plastic spoons of all covers in a collectively decorative wall display.

If the Wedding Crasher Comes

Movies quite naturally use nearly every aspect of our lives and traditions – often in odd ways. “The Wedding Crashers” – a pair of divorce mediators – crash weddings to find available women high on romance for one-night stands. Probably works better than lurking by the vegetable section. It was a most successful movie and it highlights an issue that few couples look at seriously: Just what do you do if a wedding crasher shows up?

For most weddings this is fairly low probability event, but it does happen. Receptions held in hotels and resorts with public traffic and often multiple simultaneous events can draw the simply curious as well as those looking for free drinks and food and a convivial atmosphere. They can also draw a variety of criminals more interested in what’s in people’s pockets or in making off with some of the gifts.

Another category is the ex-lover with a grudge who’s over the edge enough to cause a major scene or worse.

You should evaluate your situation to decide just how seriously you need to take the issue of security. If one of you has a problem with an ex-lover, talk it over and decide whether there’s a possible threat warranting hiring security. Perhaps having several friends aware of the problem and staying alert for trouble is all that’s required.

You need to remember that you aren’t going to be thinking about crashers or other security problems and you shouldn’t have to. All you really may need is to have several people who can – and will – be able to ensure that everyone attending was invited. Checking that attendees have invitations may be useful. Having a guest book for everyone to sign as they arrive creates another security barrier.

Obviously the best way to deal with this is before a crasher gets inside. Few churches have security personnel and generally there’s no reason. Crashers at the wedding itself can be usually be seated in back and basically ignored.

Depending on where you are holding your wedding reception, security may be provided or at least available quickly. So under most circumstances quickly notifying security and quietly asking the crasher to leave will solve the problem with little or no fuss.

However, if you have reason to believe that there may be a serious threat of disruption or violent behavior (that annoying and slightly psycho ex, maybe?), then consider hiring an off-duty policeman or going to a private security firm. A uniformed security officer is a powerful deterrent which won’t add much to your costs while the peace of mind it can offer is priceless.

Finally, to remove the temptation to swipe your gifts, you may want to have a specific area where guests place them. An area which is neither easily accessible to any non-invitees in the building nor obviously in plain sight. Unfortunately, this goes slightly counter to some practices where the gifts are essentially “on-display”. If that’s a part of your plan, remember that the location should only be accessible to your guests and it should be easily monitored.

Thinking and planning for crashers and security is unpleasant in the context of a joyful event like a wedding celebration. Some thought may convince you that this isn’t an issue you need to worry about. But if you do foresee possible problems, take care of preparing for it well in advance and then let whoever will be watching for crashers or handling security do the worrying while you relax, enjoy and do the wedding.