If you have been living together for a while, you may already have everything you need for day to day living. So, when it comes to your wedding, you may opt to have a wishing well rather than leaving it open for people to buy you gifts, or choosing items from a gift registry that are really just updated versions of what you already have.
Wishing wells can be a great way for your guests to pitch in to help you with an expensive purchase you’ve always wanted but was out of your reach, or to help to fund your honeymoon or even put towards a house deposit. All of these things and more are definitely more practical than three toasters, a crystal decanter, and two sets of silverware.
But, there are a few things you need to know before committing to a wishing well.
They can be divisive
While you might work out a wishing well is best for you and your partner, some of your guests might not be so excited about it. Some people just love buying gifts (and may very well choose to do so anyway) and revel in the opportunity to show creativity in their choice of gift for you. Others may simply feel a bit funny about giving money or may stress out about what “the right” amount to give is. (Answer: there isn’t one. It is simply what you want to give and what you can afford.)
Communicate its purpose
Traditionally, couples who choose to have a wishing well will include a separate card with their invitations with a generic or more personalised poem explaining their decision. It might help to allay some of the weirdness for those who don’t usually like to give money to also include something about what you intend to use the money for, so they don’t think it will pay for the next quarter’s electricity bill.
Place it in a quiet corner at your reception
Avoid placing the wishing well (or money tree, or whatever other version you have created for your wedding) in a prominent place at your reception. While some guests may have come prepared with their gift already tucked inside a card or sealed envelope, others may have visited an ATM on the way in and will put loose cash into it. If you place it in an area where there is only a small amount of foot traffic, those who fall into the latter category will feel a little more comfortable. You may want to consider leaving blank envelopes near your well for this reason.
Don’t be offended by what you find
While there are some etiquette guidelines that say guests should give what the couple would spend on having them at their wedding, this is a very grey area. Worst still, other guidelines say to gift what you would normally spend on a wedding gift, and that can be difficult for those who haven’t been to a wedding before. A good rule to go by when opening up the cards after the wedding is to be grateful for what you have been given, as you will find as little as $20 in one card and as much as $300 in another. Don’t be offended by those who give less, it’s not a reflection of how they feel about you and your partner.
Show guests where the money went
Now that they have all chipped in, make sure you keep them updated on how you spent it. If it was for your honeymoon, send them an email or tag them on social media to show them all of the amazing places you visited or experiences you had. If it was for a bespoke art piece for your living room wall, send them photos! And if it was to go towards your house deposit, include them in photos of you with a SOLD sign or even invite them to a small housewarming to thank them all at the same time.
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