The Ultimate Card Box
So I've tried to look up wedding card boxes, and they are these weird things that look like wedding cakes — except on Offbeat Bride, where they most often look like small monsters or TARDIS. (True observation, I swear!)

However, I'm still not sure exactly what a card box is for! Is it for people who want to give you cards, so you don't have to hold onto them? If so, are these “congratulations!” cards, or do they include money? We're trying to discourage people from giving us presents, but I'm totally down with handwritten notes of support.

I guess what I'm trying to figure out is – do I need one of these? Are people going to expect it, in the “I brought you a card, where do I put it?” sort of way? Because if it's going to make everybody's life easier, I guess that makes sense, but honestly the whole thing confuses me.

Thank you. I feel like a dunce, but I honestly haven't been able to find a satisfactory answer. It's like the whole wedding universe assumes I already know this thing.

Generally, cardboxes are a place to put any cards you receive at the wedding. Many of them are meant to be somewhat secure so that if you receive money in a card it won't walk away. I used a box I happened to have that looked like a little suitcase because we had a small wedding, easy enough to monitor who was walking in the doors, and I hadn't had time or energy to be more creative about it.

You don't have to have one. You could use a basket, just collect them by hand, or tell people to set it on a table. It is utterly up to you. Guests probably will expect some place to put any gifts they might get you despite your preference or any cards they might choose to give.

Now, if you've decided you want to make a cardbox, of course we have no shortage of inspiration. And we're guessing readers will have even more in the comments!

Weigh in: are card boxes worth your time, or are they just one more “not worth it” DIY project?

Comments on Do I need a card box?

  1. We had a black leather box. We didn’t even label it. People put cards in it, so they seemed to understand it’s use even though it wasn’t unique or labelled. 🙂

  2. I decorated a regular grey metal mail box and am setting that up for “marriage advice” but it would totally work as a card box too.

  3. I plan on having/making a card box, and am gobsmacked by how expensively some former brides are trying to resell theirs! If not for the potential for thievery(this is a thing?), I’d just use a simple basket on a table. I have no elaborate DIY plans, just to make a cardboard box a little pretty!

    • Not sure what your theme is, but Micheal’s has some great boxes that could be used for this purpose. I purchased one that is a cardboard box but has hinges and a handle like a suitcase. I also got some wood letters which I painted and spells out CARDS to put on it and make it cute. It was cute and different and you are right, the card boxes are crazy expensive.

  4. We’re using my Mums old 70’s suitcase. We have asked for money towards our honeymoon in place of gifts so people will be expecting somewhere to put cards.
    I did go to a wedding not to long ago where the bride and groom did not have a box to put cards in and it meant that cards and gifts were left in all sorts of places. It looked really messy and meant that gifts/cards might go a wandering.

    • How did you go about asking for money instead of gifts? We are thinking about doing this as we already have everything we need in our house. I’m not sure of the etiquette.

      • This was something I struggled with for a while. My FH and I will be moving in together next year and then the wedding will be a year afterwords. Anything we don’t have now we’re sure to have by then and we really would prefer money to put toward a honeymoon. This is what I’ve come up with and was posted on the registry page of our wedding website:

        “Thank you so much for your generous thoughts and checking out our registry. The two of us have been very fortunate in our time together in that we have everything we could think of to start our life together.

        As you may know both of us love to travel and share new experiences. We talked about it for a long time and decided that in lieu of a traditional registry it might be more fun for our friends and family to help make one of those new experiences a reality.

        One of the places we have always talked about visiting was New Zealand. The beauty of the land calls to us and there could be no better place for us to relax and start our new life together. If you were thinking about getting us a gift we would love for you to share in this experience. Oh, and please, please, please make sure we have your address so that we can send you a post card while we are there!”

  5. I was so DIY-ed out by the time I got to the cardbox thing. I just went to Home Goods and picked up one of the many decorative boxes they always have there. They’re made out of a cardboardy material and have different prints/designs on them and they come in all kinds of shapes & sizes. Mine had a rounded top with a latch closure. Looked nice, easy, & cheap! It probably depends on your guests but pretty much everyone gave us a card so it was nice to have them all centrally located and not have to worry about forgetting any on a table or something.

    • Yes, they are kinda like hat boxes. But now they are in all sort of shapes/sizes/not hat boxed shaped, lol. Seems like the easiest idea!

  6. I’ve been two a couple of weddings that didn’t have card boxes, and guests had no idea who to hand their cards to. We didn’t want to burden the bride and groom with a stack of 100 cards, but we wanted to make sure that they received them. At least in our part of the country (New York City) it’s expected that people will give the couple a monetary gift to help offset the cost of the wedding.

    We used a picnic basked that we happened to find at a thrift shop the week of the wedding for $6. It was totally perfect for our laid back picnic reception, but if we hadn’t found that we would’ve just put out another box or basket that we had on hand. It doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to be visible!

  7. I was at the wedding of my future brother in law and they hadn’t set up a card box, just asked those who brought cards to put them on the table. At one point, a couple of guests were refusing to just put their cards on the table, that there must be a place to put them in, so I swooped in, found an empty box and a couple table runners that hadn’t been needed and wrapped it up prettily and set it on the gift table. They ended their griping. I learned a lesson: it doesn’t have to be elaborate, it just has to keep it from falling off the table or being mixed up with someone else’s gift.

  8. I wasn’t going to do a card box, but then my friend offered to lend us the gilt bird cage she’d used for cards at her wedding. I’m really glad we took her up on her offer, because tons of people brought cards, most with cash in them. It was nice to have them all in one place. For the same reason, we also had a little table where people could put any gifts they brought to the wedding.

    • My dad painted a black birdcage gold and I put a ribbon on it.

      It was great – the whole thing opened up when we wanted to get the cards out, but everyone could just slot cards in between the rails. Just make sure if you buy a cage that the rails are far enough apart to allow for a reasonable size card.

  9. We did the whole TARDIS cardbox thing and I’m happy we did for a lot of reasons others highlighted above. Also, what was great about it is that it is now a decoration in our house! I tried to use objects from the wedding as decoration/art or other uses throughout our house, so that there are little reminders of that day in our daily living. The cardbox is one of them!

  10. Birdcage I found at Goodwill for $4; wove some ribbon that matched my colors around the bottom, BOOM! Done.

    I think it is a good idea; even if you don’t ask for gift, you might have an aunt or uncle who will ignore that and stick $ in a card. It just seems a good idea to have them all in a place that IF someone decided to try and sneak off with the cards, it would be pretty noticeable. Of course, this is not something you HAVE to do, but I worked weddings for 4+ years and if there was not a birdcage or box or whatever, people seemed confused about where to put the cards. If I could avoid that easily and cheaply, I would (and did!).

    My cousin get married recently, and she got a huge cookie jar with their new last name engraved on it; she used that for the cards, then just put the cookie jar in the kitchen to use for cookies! I thought that was a cool idea.

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