Here's What You Need to Know About a Wishing Well Wedding

Rustic burlap bunting on wooden wishing well card box
Lora Mae Photography
elizabeth wieck the knot wedding style expert
by
Elizabeth Wieck
elizabeth wieck the knot wedding style expert
Elizabeth Wieck
Wedding Style Expert
  • Elizabeth Wieck is a freelance copywriter, content strategist, and editor.
  • Elizabeth has experience working for celebrated lifestyle brands and media outlets.
  • Elizabeth worked as a Style Intern for The Knot in 2015.
Updated Jul 16, 2020

What do you put on your wedding registry if you and your future spouse already have everything you want? After all, you only need so many crockpots and bath towels. More and more couples choose to hold a wishing well wedding, which is a charming way of asking for cash instead of gifts. Not every wedding guest will understand a wishing well wedding, so here's what you need to know to help them get on board.

What Is a Wishing Well Wedding?

As couples continue the trend of marrying later in life and living together before marriage, they may already have most of the homeware they need. In this case, there may not be much of a point to asking for another silverware set or extra pots and pans as wedding gifts.

Instead, couples can set up a "wishing well" at their wedding and ask guests to drop off checks or cash into the well (this can also be done digitally, but setting up a cash fund on The Knot Registry!). The wishing well can be a simple basket, a decorative box or it can be made to match the wedding's theme. We've seen wishing well mailboxes, money trees and many other creative versions of the wishing well.

Why Choose a Wishing Well Wedding?

  • There are many different reasons couples choose to request cash instead of gifts at their wedding. Some of the most popular reasons behind a wishing well are that the couple:
  • Simply has what they need and don't want additional home-related gifts
  • Would prefer money to finance an unforgettable honeymoon
  • Wants to save up for a big-ticket item, like a mortgage or home remodel
  • Would like to donate some or all of the money to a charitable cause

Wishing Well Wedding Etiquette

Not every guest has been to a wishing well wedding before and some may initially feel uncomfortable about handing over cash. Here's what you can do to help educate your guests and alleviate their concerns.

Explain Your Wishing Well in Your Invite
Include a personalized note in your wedding invitation explaining what a wishing well wedding is and that you are requesting a cash donation in lieu of a gift. To help win over uncomfortable guests, explain what you plan to use the money for like a down payment on a house or to adopt a puppy.

Put the Wishing Well Out of the Way at Your Wedding
Your wishing well doesn't need to be the center of attention. Instead, put it off to a quiet corner, but make sure you include a sign so that your guests know what it is. Some guests may forget to put their money in a card; it's a good idea to include envelopes and a pen on the table next to the wishing well. If you set up a cash fund digital on The Knot Registry, you can simply include the link on your free wedding website.

Be Grateful
There is no hard and fast rule on how much guests should give to a wishing well. If you are asked, the correct answer is, "However much you feel comfortable giving." When you open your envelopes, do it with a spirit of gratitude. Some envelopes will contain more money than others. Don't read too much into it. Some guests may be able to give more than others. Be grateful for every donation.

Show Guests What the Wishing Well Bought
You'll want to write a thank-you note to each guest who contributed to your wishing well, just like you would to anyone who bought you a wedding gift. For a wishing well wedding, however, take the extra step of showing guests what their money paid for. Include your favorite honeymoon pictures or a cute picture of you and your new spouse holding the key to your house.

Wishing Well Alternatives

Holding a wishing well wedding doesn't mean that you actually have to put a physical box or basket or other "wishing well" at your ceremony. An alternative option, as mentioned above,n is to use The Knot Registry to create a digital cash wedding registry. An online cash registry offers a lot of conveniences. First, guests won't have to come up with cash or figure out where they put their checkbook. Secondly, they can contribute at any time before or even after your wedding. Finally, guests may feel more comfortable paying securely online than putting money into a box.

Is a Wishing Well Wedding Right for You?

A wishing well wedding isn't the right choice for everyone, especially if you really need a crockpot. However, for the couple who already has all they need, a wishing well wedding can give you the cash you need to buy what you truly want.

Up Next
  • Bride and groom in a party bus
    Our Top Wedding Transportation Tips for a Smooth Ride