Make the Couple's Wishes Come True With a Bridal Shower Wishing Well

A wishing well is a great way to collect cash, gift cards or other small gifts.
Guests putting cards into a decorative box
Photo: Surachetsh / Getty Images
christin perry the knot
Christin Perry
christin perry the knot
Christin Perry
E-Commerce Contributor
  • Christin specializes in writing gift guides and shoppable articles for The Knot.
  • Christin is a freelance writer, also covering lifestyle, health, and parenting.
  • She has written for such publications as The Bump, Parents, VeryWell, Parade and LittleThings.
Updated Apr 26, 2024
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A bridal shower is often the first opportunity for friends and loved ones to purchase a gift from the couple's wedding registry. But what if they've chosen to keep a very small registry because they already have everything they want? After all, you only need so many Crock-Pots and bath towels!

If you're hosting a bridal shower, consider holding a wishing well bridal shower, which is a charming way of asking for cash instead of gifts. What is a wishing well at a bridal shower? Not every wedding guest will understand a bridal shower wishing well. And it's important to understand how this fits into traditional bridal shower etiquette. Here's what you need to know to help get everyone on board.

What Is a Wishing Well at a Bridal Shower?

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, they may not want to ask for another silverware set or extra pots and pans as wedding gifts.

Instead, set up a "wishing well" at the bridal shower and ask guests to drop checks or cash into the well (this can also be done digitally, by 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 shower's theme. We've seen wishing well mailboxes, money trees and many other creative versions of the wishing well. A bridal shower wishing well can also be used for gifts other than cash, too: consider incorporating a theme into the wishing well, like kitchen gadgets, lottery tickets or barware. As you plan the bridal shower, it's totally up to you how you'd like to include a bridal shower wishing well into your plans for the day.

History of a Wishing Well Shower

Incorporating a wishing well into a wedding or bridal shower is a relatively new concept. But the history of the wishing well itself extends back to ancient history, where people believed these whimsical wells could grant wishes or exert a type of divine power. Perhaps it's this notion that brought about the use of a "wishing well" as a way to collect money or other small items that could grant the couple's every wish.

Bridal Shower Wishing Well Wording

Include a personalized note in your shower invitation explaining what a wishing well bridal shower is and that you are requesting a cash donation in lieu of a gift (if that's how you'll be using the wishing well). When you shop The Knot Paper, you can find note cards that coordinate with the rest of your wedding stationery, like save-the-dates and invitations. This is a great way to introduce the idea of a bridal shower wishing well.

If you'll be using the wishing well to collect monetary gifts only, help win over uncomfortable guests by explaining what the couple plans to use the money for. Perhaps they'll use it for a down payment on a house or to fund the honeymoon. Wondering how to present the idea to your guests? Here's some sample bridal shower wishing well wording you can include in your bridal shower invitations.

  • Your presence is the greatest gift we could ask for. But if you'd like to give a small gift for the upcoming wedding, please consider contributing cash to the wishing well.
  • Their biggest dream is to own a home in which to spend their lives and raise a family. If you'd like to give a bridal shower gift, we would love it if you would gift them cash in their wishing well.
  • We are so excited to celebrate with you today! However, in lieu of a physical bridal shower gift, we encourage you to contribute to the couple's wishing well, which will surely help them accomplish some of their biggest wishes as they begin their lives together.
  • Thank you for coming to the bridal shower. No gift is expected, but if you'd like to give a gift, a small contribution to the couple's wishing well would be deeply appreciated.
  • Instead of gifts, feel free to add to the wishing well if you would like to wish the couple well.

Bridal Shower Wishing Well Ideas

If you're planning a bridal shower wishing well, you'll need to get yourself a wishing well, of course! There are a number of ways to do this: You could make one or buy one, or you could opt for something more simple, like a box or even a basket (an especially nice touch if your wishing well will hold small gifts instead of money).

Make Your Own Wishing Well

It's simple to craft your own wishing well for guests to drop in envelopes or gifts. Wondering how to make a bridal shower wishing well? Take a cue from this cute creation by the Basket Lady, which comes together easily using a wicker basket, cardboard tubes and a few pieces of flat cardboard. Her website includes a handy tutorial for making a wishing well that you can decorate any way you'd like.

Purchase a Wishing Well

Etsy is a great place to search for a wishing well if you're short on time or you're not handy with a glue gun. We love this one from Etsy shop Wishin U Well, which is perfect for collecting cards and cash.

Decorate a Box

If creating or buying a wishing well seems like too much of a lift, and you'll just be collecting money or gift cards for the shower, consider simply decorating (or buying) a box for the occasion. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you'd like to make it. A quick search on craft sites like Michaels or Etsy yields plenty of beautiful options. Making a card box yourself allows you to customize it to your bridal shower decor or your bridal shower wishing well theme.

Use a Basket

If you'll be collecting small gifts that fit a certain theme (we've got 10 great suggestions below!), you'll need something larger than a small card box to collect your bridal shower gifts. A laundry basket makes a great option as a bridal shower wishing well idea. Not only is a great basket a gift in itself, it makes a handy place for guests to place their gift when they arrive at the shower. Decorate the basket with ribbons, bows or any other decor that matches your shower's colors or themes.

Go Digital

Throwing a wishing well bridal shower doesn't mean that you actually have to put a physical box or basket or other "wishing well" at your shower. An alternative option 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. And guests may feel more comfortable paying securely online than putting money into a box.

Bridal Shower Wishing Well Themes

If you're looking for some bridal shower wishing well ideas, aside from simply using it to collect money, consider incorporating a fun theme into it. Below, we've listed 10 great bridal shower wishing well themes you can consider. This is a creative way to help the couple stock up on something they really need, or simply to add a dash of excitement to the bridal shower.

First Letter of Their Married Last Name

This bridal shower wishing well theme has all guests choosing a gift that starts with the first letter of the couple's shared last name (if they'll be sharing a last name, of course). This cool theme allows your guests to get pretty creative in their gifting! A great way to do this is to request that guests keep the gift under a certain amount, which allows them to also purchase a gift from the couple's registry, if they so choose.


Will the couple be heading off on an adventure after they exchange vows? Items like a leather passport holder, sunglasses, flip flops, a great beach towel (we love this one from Cozy Earth!) or even a popular book make great gift ideas for this theme.

Kitchen Gadgets

Even if they've been living together for awhile, a refresh of small kitchen gadgets is always a welcome gift, and one of our favorite bridal shower wishing well gift ideas. Opt for handy tools they may not have purchased for themselves, like a garlic press, a pizza cutter, a set of wooden utensils, a beautiful salad bowl or a veggie slicer.

Beauty Supplies

This one's for the bride! Have your guests choose one of their personal favorite beauty supplies to drop in a beautifully decorated basket for the bride to enjoy. Not only will this gift be a hit, it's a personal touch, as well - she'll certainly think of each guest when she uses the product they gifted her.


Having a bridal shower that takes place around the winter holidays? Have each guest bring an ornament to add to the bridal shower wishing well. What a sweet way to help the new couple get started with their holiday decorating!


This one's similar to kitchen gadgets, but focuses on helping the happy couple obtain everything they need for a fully functioning home bar. Have each guest purchase a small item for their bar, like a shaker, a set of shot glasses or even a bottle of spirits. This bridal shower wishing well theme works especially well for a couple who has registered for barware. If not, you can come up with your own list of suggestions for guests to use while shopping.

Time of Day

One of the most popular bridal shower wishing well themes is to have each guest bring a gift that's symbolic of a particular time of the day. Morning could be a bag of premium coffee, a set of mugs for two or a delectable pancake mix gift set. Afternoon? A wonderful collection of teas would be a great choice. This is another theme that allows your guests to get super creative!


Similarly, assign each guest a letter of the alphabet for this bridal shower wishing well theme. This works particularly well if you have 26 guests coming to the shower! Since guests might also want to purchase from the couples' registry, this is another theme that works best with a price maximum to avoid busting guests' budget.

Gift Cards

If the couple feels uncomfortable asking for cash or checks, consider setting up a gift card bridal shower wishing well. You could place a limit on the amount, specify which stores the couple would like (only dining establishments, only Visa/Mastercard, movie night, etc), or just let each guest choose their gift. There are lots of different ways to do this bridal shower wishing well theme.

Choose a Color (or Use Wedding Colors)

With this theme, guests bring wishing well gifts for the bridal shower in a certain, specified color. This could be the bride's favorite color, a color that matches the bridal shower decorations, or the color of her bouquet or bridesmaids dresses (if that's been decided already). Either way, guests will love coming up with great gift ideas for the assigned color.

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