If you thought wedding card boxes were simple, think again.
I never meant to turn this blog post into such a comprehensive guide, but here we are. You’d be surprised how many mistakes you can avoid when you know the proper size, design, and placement of a wedding card box.
But we’ll get to that later. ;)
First, let’s cover the basics: in this blog post, you’ll learn what a card box is, find out if you really need a wedding card box, and explore wedding card box ideas and alternatives.
Finally, we’ll discuss the biggest mistakes to avoid including one blunder that is far too common. Yikes! It makes me nervous just thinking about it.
Let’s get started. :)
• What Is A Card Box?
• Do You Need a Wedding Card Box?
• What Happens Without One (dun dun dun)
• Wedding Card Box Ideas + Alternatives
• Mistakes to Avoid
• Where to Place It at the Reception
• What Size Card Box Do You Need?
• Where to Buy Card Boxes for Weddings
Wedding Card Boxes: Do You Really Need One?
First, what is a wedding card box? It is a vessel in which guests place their greeting cards for the newlyweds.
But do you need a wedding card box or can you skip it?
To put it bluntly, if you want your wedding cards to get misplaced or stolen feel free to skip it. ;)
In other words, yes, it is necessary to have a wedding card box at your reception.
And while I’m a professional wedding planner (so this wouldn’t happen to my clients), I have heard horror stories from couples who could have avoided one common pitfall.
Here’s what happens WITHOUT one.
What Happens Without a Card Box
Your guests will arrive at your reception, card in hand: a stack of cash inside, a gift card, or perhaps a check of money is inside the card.
They’ll enter the reception space, look for a box, and, when they don’t see one, they’ll typically just place the card on a table somewhere. This may turn into a large stack of cards, as more guests add to the pile.
They’ll proceed to find their seats and not think twice about that card all night. Maybe months will pass by and they’ll wonder why a thank you note never arrived.
They’ll assume you put that money to good use, but in reality, it never reached you at all.
Now you’re left wondering if they never gave a gift at all or if they did, but you just did not receive it.
Now that you can see what happens as a result of omitting one, isn’t it a nice thought to have a designated card box for wedding guests to utilize?
Yep, that’s exactly right. :)
Now that you know its purpose, let’s discuss what kind of wedding card box ideas are available, including some alternatives you can use. Also, you’ll want to score perfect placement, so you’ll discover where to put the card box at your wedding.
Wedding Card Box Ideas
A card box doesn’t have to be complicated: in itself, a card box is pretty simple in design. It is typically constructed from cardboard and then decorated with flowers, paint, pictures, lights — you name it, it’s been done.
The most popular type of box at the moment is the style with pictures. After the wedding, you can use the box to display photos on a table or shelf. This particular style features a slot on the top for cards and is made by KellyMarieCollection.
You may also be familiar with wedding card boxes that look like cakes, like this (by ThatsSoLovely). They are a classic look that has been popular for decades.
They can be round in shape or rectangular. Here’s a larger cake style card box that is designed with a rectangular shape (by ExoticWeddingBoxes):
Most boxes are decorated with the couple’s names, the wedding date, and some element of their decor. Here’s an example of a decorated wedding card box by MerryExpressions:
Acrylic or Glass
Some card boxes aren’t made of cardboard at all, but rather acrylic (a hard type of clear plastic) or glass. Here’s an example of a plastic box that is handmade for you by BlackYakCustoms:
If you prefer glass, you may like a terrarium style box that you can re-use after the wedding day. This popular wedding card holder has a flip top lid and black-painted brass with glass base. By NCYPGarden.
This brass style that looks lovely and works for nearly any type of wedding theme. Also by NCYPGarden.
The box can — and should! — match the theme and aesthetic of your reception. Here are some examples.
► For a modern wedding, choose a chic glass box or acrylic style with modern appeal.
► For a rustic wedding, a wooden box works beautifully.
► If you’re planning a garden wedding, yours could be adorned in faux flowers and greenery or painted with a floral motif.
► Planning a vintage style? Opt for an antique birdcage as a homemade wedding card box. This small birdcage is a lovely addition to your shabby chic or vintage decor (by ThoseDays):
Rustic or Barn Theme
For a rustic wedding, a personalized wooden flip-lid box like this from PersonalizationMall works beautifully.
Need a larger or darker wood style? Opt for this card holder by RedHeartCreations, available in multiple sizes.
Need something more minimalist? This style looks perfect (via Heather & Willow Store):
For something with a bit more decoration, opt for a combination of wood and acrylic with personalization on the front. Your card box can even be painted in a shade that reflects your wedding color palette. This is a popular style that works well in boho, rustic, or modern themes. By BridalPoetry.
Go big on the initial and personalize yours with a large motif or design, like this example featuring a large monogram letter. By WeddingByEli.
As you can see from the examples above, there’s no right or wrong design for a wedding card box.
If you want to try your hand at making your own, here’s some info on ways to DIY the box.
Wedding Card Boxes You Can DIY
Many couples create homemade wedding card boxes, which is a nice DIY you can tackle if you’re feeling crafty.
To make a stacked box that looks like a cake, you would need round gift boxes with lids, like these:
Or you could opt for a stack of rectangular boxes, like this:
Next, you would need to attach the boxes together and cut the inside to form a large solid vessel. Don’t forget to add a thick card box slot to the top. Finally, you’ll cover the box in paper or paint the outer exterior however you see fit.
If you prefer a wooden box, another easy wedding card box diy project is to purchase this wooden box, paint the exterior, add some decals, use a stencil and paint for your monogram or motif, add the wedding date, etc.
You can really make it your own! You can find card box decals here.
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Whether you’re buying a card box or designing your own, here are some common wedding card box mistakes to avoid including one major blunder that most people make (shown below as #5).
Mistake #1: Putting the Card Box in the Wrong Place
Where do you put the card box at a wedding? It should go on the entry table of your reception nearby your seating cards or chart. Avoid placing the box on the end of the table near an exterior door, as this is one major way to get a wedding card box stolen.
Instead, place it on the opposite side of the table so guests need to walk down a bit to reach it after finding out where to be seated.
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Mistake #2: Using a Card Box Alternative That Is Too Small
How big should a wedding card box be? Many couples purchase a card box under the assumption their cards will fit inside, but most times it’s too small.
It’s OK to have a box that is too big, although it may be too bulky for your table or look silly if your guest list is small.
As a rule of thumb, the card box should be large enough to hold approximately the number of cards from 75% of your guest list. This allows for the cards to fit but also additional buffer room so the cards do not get all bunched up and smashed together.
How Big Should a Wedding Card Box Be?
Here’s a guide to what size wedding card box you’ll need based on your guest list size.
|Guest List Size
|Card Box Should Hold…
For very large weddings, you’ll be best suited with a gigantic card box, like this.
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Mistake #3 No Wording on a Sign Nearby
The card box should always be clearly labeled with “Cards & Gifts” on or near it so your guests know what it is for.
While traditional card boxes are more obvious, unique vessels like terrariums, acrylic boxes, or trunk-style card holders can be a bit confusing. It is important to clearly label the card box so your guests know where to place the cards in a secure place.
It also reminds them to place the card inside so they’re not running around the reception with it stuffed in their purse all night. ;)
Here’s a nice example of a cards sign by Willow and Barn.
If you prefer, the box itself can be labeled as simply, “Cards”, like this example by Twenty3Design:
Mistake #4: Forgetting a Lock on the Box
This mistake happens far too often, but it is easy to avoid. You should always purchase a wedding card box with lock.
I know, it feels strange even imagining it, but cards get stolen all the time.
It’s not necessarily your beloved family and friends who are to blame, but a wedding card box is stolen (or cards from inside of one) most often at large event centers where multiple weddings take place at one time. For instance, if there is a banquet hall hosting three weddings on a weekend. There are too many guests from different parties in the same place, so it’s easy for someone to sneak in and grab the cash if there is no lock on the box.
As an alternate to an actual lock and key, you can select a card box that is hard to reach the contents inside, like this one. It’s so tall and difficult to open, so you’ll be rest-assured no one will take the contents from inside.
In addition to a lock, you’ll also want to do this next thing, #4:
Mistake #5: No One In Charge of the Box
Have someone in your family set to be in charge of the box.
This is the one mistake most couples make and usually it’s because they don’t think of it.
The person designated as watcher of the card box should keep an eye on the box when it is out on the table, be mindful of anyone tampering with it, and ensure the box is locked at all times.
After dinner has been served, or immediately prior to, the card box should be removed and placed in a locked room or, if that is not possible, a locked car trunk to keep the content secure.
The box should be given to the newlyweds for possession immediately after the reception ends. In addition, the box should only be opened by the newlyweds.
Now that you know everything about it, you’re ready to buy a wedding card box of your own!
Where to Shop
Here are some of my favorite places to get wedding card boxes:
You can purchase from retailers listed above, or browse other finds here on Etsy.
You can also get card boxes sent quickly (most within 2 days) from Amazon here. Locally, you can buy them at craft stores like Michaels. I recently spotted some wedding card boxes Hobby Lobby has (this one in particular) that are nice for the day-of and afterward at home.
Hope it helps!
If you run into any questions on card holders, let me know in the comment box below and I’ll swoop in to help. :)