Creating a money tree for your wedding can add a charming touch to your decor, but at the same time, you may feel like you're demanding that everyone give you money. But if done tastefully, it can serve as a beautiful and subtle option for guests who wish to give money, easing any concerns you might have while adding an elegant touch to your celebration.
What Is a Money Tree?
A money tree is a centerpiece where guests can pin or clip cash onto a "tree" as a gift to the happy couple. You can make money trees from wire or real wood, and use pins, paperclips, clothespins, or ribbons to decorate the tree while providing a means for money to be easily attached. Some couples prefer to provide small envelopes so guests can give cash gifts more discreetly, and adding small notes or pens gives guests a way to add their wedding wishes to the tree as well.
Is a Money Tree Appropriate?
Money trees, or any way to directly solicit cash gifts, are not always considered appropriate. Done properly, however, a money or cash tree can be tasteful and acceptable. Circumstances that make money trees more appropriate include:
- Destination weddings: Couples cannot easily transport bulky gifts from a wedding abroad, and cash is more convenient.
- Shower trees: Use a wedding shower money tree, where the purpose of the event is to "shower" the couple with gifts, rather than at the wedding itself, where the purpose is to celebrate the couple's union.
- Themed trees: If a couple has other impending expenses in their soon-to-be-married life, such as a new baby or purchasing a new home, the money tree could be specially themed to help support that cause. Simply paying for the wedding or honeymoon, however, is not a suitable choice.
- Cultural expectations: In some cultures, money trees are fun traditions that have been used for generations. Couples who are close to their ethnic roots and wish to incorporate this aspect of their heritage into their celebrations can do so easily, provided it is done in the proper cultural context and not just as an excuse to solicit cash.
If you have questions about money trees in general, or your own specifically, give a wedding planner a call. Most will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Make Your Own Money Tree
To make your own wedding money tree, you will need the following:
- A clay pot
- Spray paint in white, gold, silver, or coordinating wedding colors
- A sturdy branch
- Sand, marbles, or floral foam
- Clips or ribbons
Here is our step-by-step guide to creating your wedding money tree. Of course, you can alter this process to make it suitable for your unique idea, but this should at least get you started.
- Trim the branches into a suitable shape and file any rough or sharp edges so they will not be dangerous.
- Hot glue extra branches to the main structure to fill out the shape if necessary.
- Decorate the clay pot if desired, then place the branch upright in the center of the pot.
- Fill the pot with sand or marbles to hold the branch firmly in place. If using floral foam, insert the foam into the pot before inserting the branch.
- Spray paint the branch white or any color to coordinate with the wedding decorations. The pot can match, or the branch may need to be painted separately.
- Add ribbons or other decorative accents to the tree.
- Add clips or place them nearby for guests to use to attach money to the tree. Consider adding envelopes and notepads to the tree table as well.
- Attach a few bills randomly to the tree so guests will understand its purpose and see how to attach their gifts.
Tips for Using a Wedding Money Tree
If you choose to have a money tree as part of your nuptial celebration, make it discreet and elegant, so it's a pleasant part of your event rather than a blatant expectation of giving.
- Make it subtle: Place the tree in a location near other gifts, but don't put it front and center as if all guests are expected to contribute.
- Never announce it: Don't call attention to the tree via announcements or toasts. The bride and groom should never call attention to the tree themselves.
- Explain what it is: Place a lighthearted poem or verse near the tree to explain its purpose to guests who may not have seen one before, but make it clear that any cash gifts are optional.
- Customize: Choose the type of tree to use to coordinate with the wedding festivities. A pine tree, for example, is a fun option for winter weddings, while a palm tree can be used for beach weddings. Ficus trees, grapevines, and miniature arbors are other creative money tree options.
- Decor: Decorate the tree with more than money. Add small ornaments that match the wedding colors or theme to make the tree a more suitable decoration.
Small fairy lights can add some extra flair to your tree without being overly flashy.
Present the Tree Tastefully
A money tree is a clever and classy way to allow guests to leave money for the bride and groom if they choose to do so. Sometimes, guests prefer to give cash instead of a physical gift, and a money tree is not only a stylish option for this, but it also helps to keep their contributions safe amidst the hustle and bustle of the celebration. Personally, I would rather my wedding guests have this option. It's so easy for cards and cash to get lost.
Money Tree Alternatives
Couples who like the idea of a money tree but aren't comfortable with the cash being clipped to a plant can use other creative options, such as:
- Wishing wells
- Decorated bird cages
- Wedding card boxes
- Themed containers, such as a cowboy boot for a western wedding
- A money dance
Whether you use a money tree or an alternative, keep it in a secure area to ensure it isn't accidentally taken, grabbed by children, or somehow lost.
A Creative Way to Help With Expenses
Cash is a wonderful wedding gift, and using a wedding money tree can help guests give cash discreetly and creatively. As long as a money tree is used appropriately and it's not a solicitation for donations, it can be a fun part of a couple's wedding festivities.