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. My friend that recently married just wrapped a medium sized cardboard box in simple wrapping paper. They cut a large slit on top to make it clear this was the “card box” and not just another gift on the table. It was subtle but clear in its purpose, and I think that was the best way to go for them as a very laid-back and “don’t give us gifts” couple.

  2. We had a circus themed wedding and I found a lady on etsy who made custom circus tent pinatas she cut a trap door into the bottom and a slit in the top and we used that as our card box.

  3. Ours was a white mailbox I bought from Home Depot for $17. We spent another $5 on paint to put our hand prints on it, ala Ellie and Karl from Up. It was cute, went with our theme, and we can actually use it as a mailbox if we get a house someday. You can use anything that can hold stuff, from boxes to baskets to bird cages….whatever you have around the house or would use again.

  4. I bought a vintage-looking wooden box with a key shaped hole cut in the top for our wedding. It does double duty as decor in my house, and one feature I really liked about it was that it had a magnetic closure that was so strong that it actually SEEMED locked – I think it would have (may have?) discouraged thievery because if you just give it a tug to see if it will open it seems locked. In fact, someone tried to carry it out of a wedding a couple of weeks ago by using the opening like a handle and I had to warn her that it wasn’t actually locked, just magnetic! It was kind of pricey, but like I said it’s doing double duty, plus I have loaned it out to several friends for their weddings, and they all sign the bottom of it afterwards which is neat. It’s like sisterhood of the traveling card box 🙂

    For the curious:

    • I got that same one and I love it…we use it at home now to throw all the mail in that we don’t feel like immediately looking at.

  5. You can always double a card box and advice/note box, but you should probably have something. It’s super confusing for people if there isn’t one, even if it’s just a shoe box wrapped in a scarf or something you picked up real fast.

    • I’ve been thinking of doing just this! Getting some blank cards and pens or pencils so that people can write things even if they didn’t think ahead.

      Our card box is going to be one of the few big DIY projects we’re tackling–we want a papercraft postbox from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. (Looks like this: ) Not only are we both huge Zelda fans, but the postman and postboxes are used in the story to reunite a couple separated by a curse! If you go through their storyline correctly, there’s even a wedding at the end. So it’s cute and thematically appropriate at the same time…even if only about 5 other people will understand what it even is. 🙂

    • Oh, I’m so glad someone else brought up the shoebox idea. My plan is this:
      One of my pairs of wedding shoes (because my feet don’t like heels for very long, but the rest of me does) is an adorable pair of green ankle boots from Poetic License. Poetic License decorates their boxes in adorable ways, with a pull out drawer for the shoes, so I figured I’d just reuse the box with a new label saying Cards + Advice! No muss, no fuss, and no extra money spent.

  6. My wedding is Friday!! I used a large unicorn piñata. Can’t wait to smash it Saturday morning 🙂

  7. We bought a clearance wire basket at Joann Fabric that fit with our home decor. We dressed it up with a little bit of leftover ribbon, a peacock feather, and a $1 sign from the wood-craft section with the word “Cards” drawn on it in paint marker… and once it served its purpose, the ribbon got cut off and it is now holding potatoes!

    It was also a relief being able to text someone at the end of the night and get an immediate response of “Yes, your mother has the card basket.” It might sound gauche to say it, but that basket was worth a LOT more than the $7 we paid for it by the end of the reception. I’m glad we had something to contain them and make them easy to locate when I panicked.

  8. The card box worked really well for me, mostly to separate the things that were “just cards” from cards that were supposed to be stuck to boxes, but fell off.

  9. We used a silver tray my mom already had, and I designed a little sign for it and printed it out. Simple, elegant, and free! If it hadn’t been for my pre-wedding OBB reading I probably would’ve spaced out having somewhere to put the cards altogether.

  10. We had a card box that was just an open mailbox. That wasn’t good enough for some people. I was told that it wasn’t “safe” to leave an open box full of cards at a wedding because it might be stolen. I felt a little shocked that someone would think any one of my 100 closest friends and family would steal a box full of well wishes. In the end we got about 50 cards, most of them were well wishes and other cute stuff. Some people also put their kids coloring book pages in there. Only 2 people insisted on personally giving us their cards, we just put them in the box when they weren’t looking.

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