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Box for gift cards at the reception?

Posted by chinchilla_queen (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 22, 09 at 20:26

What's the most sensible thing to do if someone gives you a wedding card at the reception? I know people frequently wait until the last moment to give wedding gifts, and may bring them to the reception. I have a spot set aside in case, but I'm not sure what the protocol is for cards to keep them from getting lost. I read somewhere that someone decorated a box and put a slot in the top. (This was for a very large ethnic wedding in New York where it's customary to give the bride and groom checks.) It's altogether possible no one will bring a card--we're certainly not expecting any--but I wonder if there's a better way to handle it than have the groom stick it in his pocket (assuming he has a pocket!).


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

I do see this occasionally, but I don't like it at all. I know I'm very picky, but I don't like to see any indication that the couple were expecting people to pony up gifts, let alone cash -- although I would feel different about an ethnic custom, like the "money dance" some ethnic groups do. You might well have at least one guest who would feel the same as I do. I would let the groom, a parent, or an attendant take care of envelopes -- or, if you have a coordinator, let him/her do it.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

I will delegate someone to wrangle any envelopes! Thanks!


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

As a wedding planner, I can tell you that you will receive cards. Some will contain money or gift cards; others will not. I always encourage my clients to provide a box with a slot or some other secure recepticle for cards. If I then see cards laying on the gift table, I put them in the box, then when the reception gets going, I remove the box to a secure location.

You would be surprised by the incidence of theft at receptions when small items like cards are left unattended. You don't know who the catering staff may be and if other events are occurring in nearby rooms at the reception facility, anyone walking by can grab something. I have had purses stolen in churches while a ceremony was in process and people walk into a hotel reception and order drinks at the bar, then exit. Don't give any opportunites for someone to indulge their baser instincts. Providing something as simple as a container for cards can eliminate potential problems.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

sweet pea is right -- you don't want to leave envelopes lying around loose on a table.

But I still wouldn't provide a box with a slot. I like your "wrangler" idea better. If there is a table where people who insisted on bringing gifts to the wedding are putting them, and people are putting envelopes there, maybe have your wrangler hanging around there as guests arrive and discreetly collecting them to move to a safe place.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

I think the box might be useful, because then NOBODY has to wrangle them--why would a guest, or bridesmaid, etc., want to be responsible for them either? And if they are responsible for them, where are they going to put them? Hold them in their hand all night? Stick them in a pocket?

But you could put that receptacle somewhere else. Like on the floor by your head table, and then *you* can slip the card in.

That way, you get the personal attention and the personal moment that comes when someone seeks you out to give you the card, but you don't have to carry them around. If the box is not terribly small it won't be easily carried off; if the lid is glued own or something, stuff can't be taken out. They'll all be together in one place, too, safely corralled.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

This is an excellent idea, practical yet avoiding the "crass" look of a box out in the open. Thanks you!


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

I see nothing wrong with a box that's tastefully decorated. I often give money when I don't know what to get and appreciate having the box at the door. No one I know thinks it is asking for money. It is only a place for anyone who is giving that in lieu of a gift to put it where it is safe.

It needn't be a tacky box. A round hat box decorated to look like a cake with a slot becomes part of the decorations. I would however have someone stand there until the reception gets underway and then spirit the box away somewhere safe. Many people--not just your guests-- will have access to the area and I know people who have had some stolen.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

It's just a matter of personal preference, of course. But beware of falling into the trap of "No one I know thinks it is asking for money." You don't know that; you just know that you have never heard anyone you know say they do. Good guests don't criticize their hosts to other guests. But as you can see, not everyone thinks these boxes look so nice.

I don't actually see these boxes as "asking for money," either -- just sort of a bit too much focus on anticipated gifts, especially if it looks like something someone put a lot of time into, not an afterthought for guests' convenience. It doesn't do much to keep up the polite fiction that we haven't given a thought to the notion that our guests will be giving us gifts. So I think that if there is going to be some sort of receptacle, actually I would prefer a nondescript box or basket to a box decorated to look like a cake or something. Anyway, you still have to have someone keeping an eye on those envelopes.

When we were planning our son's bar mitzvah party, a florist I talked to told me proudly how her signature item was a big box elaborately decorated in the theme of the party for gift envelopes. That was all it took for us to thank her for her time and move on; we knew we'd never see eye to eye with this woman. But I'm sure she gets plenty of customers, so it's obviously something some people like. Just be aware that some people find it off-putting, and, no matter how YOU feel about it, consider whether you want to risk having any of your guests get a (mildly!) negative impression when they are barely through the door.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

I was recently married on Sept. 12th, and I had this dilemma. We did not register anywhere, nor expect gifts. But knew people would be bringing cards(with or without money), and they needed a place to go. I did not want a corny(to me) birdcage or a box with a slot that I would never use again. I settled on a pretty cloth covered box with a lid that could be propped open(it had a mirror in the lid, maybe it's intended use was a jewelry box. I knew this box would look good in my home after the wedding.
We had 85 guests and everyone brought at least a card, so I was glad they had a place to go.
You can see it on the right side of the table with the mirrored lid propped open:

Hosted on Fotki


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

Traditionally, at least around here, it is the best man's responsibility to take care of this. But practically speaking, I think the MOH usually takes care of it. When a wedding is at a hotel the MOH can take the cards and have them put in a safe, either at the front desk or in her room, handing them over to the couple later (I've done this when I was MOH, or just assigned the task). Gift tables often have a silver tray or something subtle for the cards to go on (open basket, etc.). Or people just put them on the table and the BM or MOH collects them after all the guests have arrived (people here do it that way, they don't walk around with the card and hand it to the bride). In our case, I had the wedding coordinator for the function hall put them in her safe, she handed them to me with some other items when we were leaving (I had my father take the gifts).

The worse thing I ever saw was a wedding in NY where the bride walked around with a bag (like a decorated pillow case) collecting cards. I was embarrassed for her.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

I know there's a party planning store here in Canada that you can buy a box that looks like a little mail box that comes in three different patterned material wrapping. For me I'm marrying an American and will be moving there with him after all the proper paper work has been filed and so I've told my family no gifts unless it's cash or giftcard because i'll have enough to move without extra stuff


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

Part of the job of having a wrangler at the table is to protect the gifts and checks from being pilfered. So a box just sitting there would make it very easy for someone to make off with the contents. Set a time and place for that wrangler to move the gifts and cards for safe keeping and join the party.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

I thought you all might find the article at www.spokesman.com/blogs/sirens/tags/pamula-mcbride/ very fitting for this topic. The article is about a Spokane, WA woman who was arrested for stealing cards at weddings in Lewiston, ID and Spokane. She is currently serving 45 days in jail. The article talks about the events leading to her aprehension and how the stolen gift cards were traced. This illustrates the need for good security at weddings and any other event held in a public place.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

wow, sweet pea, what a story.

You're right, this does point up the need for good security if you have a gift table. Matters of taste aside, I sure wouldn't trust checks, money, and gift cards to a box (decorated or otherwise) that could easily be carried off, or leave them scattered on a table so that one or two could be pilfered inconspicuously.

More important than having security at the wedding, though, I think this underscores the importance of sending gifts, including checks, to the home (couple's or parents') before or after the wedding, NOT bringing them with you to the wedding or reception. It's just adding a burden to very busy people for them to have to worry about security (and transportation) of gifts.

That's the etiquette rule anyway, so it's a win-win situation.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

Unfortunately, that's not an unusual crime...

In the small town where I grew up, people were advised to use house-sitters during weddings and funerals of close family members. Apparantly, a group of burglars was using information published in the Weddings and Obituary sections to plan burglaries...

I was always taught to send wedding gifts in advance or (less-ideally) a few weeks after because handling gifts at the reception was burdensome. But it seems here lately, bringing gifts to the reception is more and more common. Generally decay of manners? Or is there an agreed-upon trend that this is OK?


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

I think part of the trend toward bringing gifts has to do with the fact that department stores even 30 years ago offered free delivery, so it was easy to purchase a gift and have it delivered to the bride or her parents. Today that is unheard of. Guests must either mail the gift or take it to the wedding with them. I am a huge advocate of mailing cards that contain checks, cash or gift cards.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

I bet you've put your finger on the reason, sweet pea. I don't remember stores delivering for free in general, but they did for wedding gifts purchased from their registry. It seems like it was only a couple of years ago that stores stopped that.

Von Maur has free shipping, and many online sites do, too, especially for a minimum purchase.


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

Thinking back, one of the nicest parts from the time before my wedding was when friends and neighbors dropped by in the preceding weeks to bring over wedding gifts. The gifts were nice, of course, but really, it was having the chance to visit for a few minutes with all of the lovely women I'd grown up knowing that was the best part. Weddings and receptions are so busy it's hard to make the time to chat with everyone. And having gifts delivered just doesn't have the same warmth...


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RE: Box for gift cards at the reception?

We are using a birdcage decorated in the wedding colors. There is an opening on the top, but discourages pilfering. It is part of the centerpeice for the gift table, and provides a safer container that is still in plain veiw.


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