It's not the type of welcome most wedding guests expect before they get into church — background checks, ID verificationand a security sweep.
But then again, Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding on Friday is no ordinary affair.
Britain hasn't seen a royal wedding of this size since Prince Charles married Diana in 1981 — there were actually 200 more police on duty for that wedding, which had a longer procession route and a guest list of some 3,500 people, including foreign royals and heads of state.
Friday's wedding will offer much of the same pompand circumstance with its 1,900 invited guests, but it also presents a modern security nightmare for the 5,000 U.K. police officers on duty.
A wide range of police will be on patrol for as the couple ties the knot Friday: officers on motorcycles, escort specialists, dog handlers, search officers, mounted police, protection officers and firearms units, although only a fraction of Britain's police officers are armed.
Thousands of people are expected along the parade route Friday, a snakingpath of less than a mile from Westminster Abbey — an iconic cathedral near London's Big Ben and Parliament buildings — to Buckingham Palace, where the new royal couple will appear on the balcony for the anticipated kiss.