Ensuring your celebration stays private is surprisingly simple.

By Aleesha Thomas
December 07, 2020
bride and groom exchanging vows on the beach
Credit: Meg Smith

After all the work that went into planning your wedding day, the last thing you want is for strangers to gather around your ceremony and reception and pull focus from your festivities. Unfortunately, that's often the case when you tie the knot somewhere open to the public, like a park, beach, or hotel. Whether it's beachgoers watching your ceremony or other hotel patrons trying to sneak into your ballroom reception, passersby at public weddings can quickly cause a stir. That's why we asked Emily McMahon of Soiree Wedding and Event Planning to share her tips for keeping your public wedding a bit more private.

Let It Be Known

Post a few signs around the location of your wedding as a visual cue that something private will be taking place. For an added level of cohesion, work with your stationer to create signage that matches the rest of your wedding paper goods. "These signs will be helpful in more ways than one," says McMahon. "Hopefully it will keep people passing by at bay, but it may also help your guests who really are welcome at your wedding know that they are heading in the right direction."

Hire a Wedding Planner or Coordinator

"If you have someone around who is responsible for making sure the day runs smoothly, they can make sure that the people who are not supposed to be there do not interfere with you or your guests," advises McMahon. "A planner or day-of coordinator can politely and effectively tell strangers that it would be appreciated by all if they leave well enough alone."

Ask a Friend or Family Member to Keep an Eye on the Crowd

Pre-ceremony, friends or family members who are not part of the bridal party can quietly and politely ask passersby to not linger near the wedding location, or else ask that they kindly move a little further away if they are insistent on watching. Everyone love weddings, even if they don't know the bride and groom, so there's a chance well-meaning people will want to watch from afar. As for cocktail hour and the reception, the main concern would be wedding crashers, so ask trusted guests to keep an eye out for anyone who doesn't look like they belong. They may spot someone who isn't quite dressed appropriately, is hanging around the room alone, or lingering by the door, all of which are signs that they likely shouldn't be there at all. At that point, a member of the staff should be able to take over and confirm whether or not they are an invited guest or else ask them to leave.


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