Wedding Wishing Well: A Comprehensive Guide For Modern Couples

As a professional wedding photographer, I’ve seen all kinds of beautiful wedding wishing wells, each adding a unique touch to the wedding decoration. Today, I would like to share with you a comprehensive and easy guide on this intriguing topic.

The Wedding Wishing Well has emerged as a cherished tradition in contemporary wedding culture. This guide is designed to help you understand its relevance, etiquette, and practical application, thereby allowing you to infuse an additional layer of sentiment into your big day. We’ll journey through the history of this custom, uncover imaginative ideas for your wishing well, and share advice on handling this sensitive topic with dignity and understanding. Whether you’re a couple organizing your nuptials or a guest pondering over the appropriate wedding present – cash or a wedding gift – this guide, enriched with insights I’ve gathered over the years, serves as your comprehensive manual on all aspects of the ‘wedding wishing well’.

What is a wedding wishing well?

To start, let’s get one thing clear. This isn’t about tossing a coin in a water-filled basin and making a wish. The wishing well we’re talking about is a tastefully decorated box or basket where guests can place their gifts, often in the form of cash or checks.

Now, there’s no denying that wishing well weddings can be divisive. Giving cash as a wedding gift can be interpreted differently by different guests. Some may appreciate it as a thoughtful gesture, while others may perceive it as a straightforward request for money. Clear communication is key to avoiding misunderstandings.

Why Do People Have Wishing Wells?

Ah, the wishing well wedding. It’s more than just a place for gifts; it symbolises community support and shared joy for the newlyweds. The tradition of wedding wishing wells provides a way for guests to contribute towards the couple’s future, often in the form of cash. Whether it’s funding for a honeymoon, the down payment on a house, or an investment into their shared future, the purpose is to give the newlyweds a financial boost as they start their new life together.

Clear Communication: Setting the Tone for Your Wishing Well Wedding

If you plan to include a wedding wishing well at your reception, it’s essential to communicate its purpose. It can be as simple as a beautifully worded sign, or you should include a brief explanation in your wedding invitations. Either way, the key point is to ensure your guests understand that their contribution is a gift towards something meaningful for your new life together, not just an obligation.

Location Matters: The Perfect Spot for Your Wishing Well Wedding

Another tip I wish I’d known earlier? Place your wedding wishing well in a quiet corner at your reception. Positioning it front and centre may be tempting, but not everyone will feel comfortable with the concept. Placing the wishing well in a quieter, more private area allows your guests to contribute at their own pace without feeling under the spotlight.

Expect the Unexpected: Dealing with the Results

When it comes to a wedding wishing well, the key is not to take anything personally. Don’t be offended by what you find. You might receive less than you expected from some guests, while others may surprise you with their generosity. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Your guests are there to celebrate your love, not to fund your next big purchase.

Post-Wedding Etiquette: Show Your Appreciation

Finally, take the time to show your guests where the money went. Did you use it for a down payment on a house? Maybe you splurged on that dream honeymoon you’d always fantasized about. Or you decided to invest it for your future together. Whatever you choose, let your guests know. It’s an excellent way to show appreciation and let them feel part of your new life journey.

Wishing Well Alternatives

Not sold on the idea of a traditional wishing well for wedding? That’s perfectly okay! There are numerous other ways for guests to contribute to your life together. One popular alternative is a honeymoon fund, where guests can contribute towards various aspects of your dream trip, like a romantic dinner or a snorkelling adventure. Another option is a home improvement fund, where guests can contribute towards renovations or furniture for your new home together. Consider a charity fund where guests can donate to a cause close to your heart. The options are endless. Remember, the aim is to find something that aligns with your values and makes your guests feel good about their contribution.


Wedding wishing well can add a touch of tradition and convenience to your celebration. Just remember, the key is to handle it with tact and grace. Communicate its purpose, choose a considerate location, keep an open mind, and show appreciation. After all, a wedding isn’t about the gifts you receive, but the love you celebrate.

So, whether you’re a fan of the wedding wishing well tradition or not, I hope this guide has given you some valuable insights. It’s your special day. Ensure it reflects who you are as a couple, not just the latest trends or expectations. I hope by now you have a clear understanding on how to plan and set up your own wishing well. If you need to further tips and how to plan your wedding, you can refer to our easy-to-follow wedding planning guide. If you’re looking for a skilled photographer to capture all the happy and beautiful moments of your wedding, including the wishing well ritual, feel free to explore our wedding photography services (PRO Photo Video)

Frequently Asked Questions / FAQ

What Is a Wishing Well For a Wedding?

A “wishing well wedding” means having a special box or basket at the wedding party. Guests can put their gifts, often money, into this “wishing well” to help the couple start their new life.

Do You Put a Card in a Wedding Wishing Well?

Yes, putting a card in a wedding wishing well is common. This card often contains well wishes for the couple and, more often than not, a financial gift. It allows guests to give their gifts privately and with a personal touch.

Do You Put Your Name on a Wishing Well Gift?

While it’s not a requirement, you can put your name on a wishing well gift. This helps the couple know who the gift is from, especially when they want to send thank-you notes post-wedding.

How Much to Give for Wedding Wishing Well?

The amount to give for a wedding wishing well varies widely. It depends on your budget, your relationship with the couple, and cultural norms. Just remember, the value of your presence at their celebration outweighs the value of your gift.

What Does Wishing Well Mean on an Invitation?

A “wishing well” note on an invitation typically signifies that the couple is opting for a wishing well wedding. This is a polite way of indicating that they prefer monetary gifts towards their future together, rather than traditional presents.

How Do You Say Wishing Well Politely?

To ask politely for a wishing well gift, make it clear that it’s optional and explain what it’s for. For example, “We have a wishing well for our dream honeymoon if you want to give a gift. But just having you at our wedding is the best gift.”

Do You Put Money in a Wishing Well?

Yes, the primary purpose of a wedding wishing well is for guests to deposit money. This monetary gift is meant to support the newlyweds as they embark on their shared life journey.

How Do You Tell Guests About Wishing Well?

Telling guests about a wishing well can be done through your wedding invitations, your wedding website, or word of mouth. Clear communication is essential, ensuring guests understand it’s a preferred gift option, not a requirement.

What can I use instead of a wishing well?

There are many creative alternatives to a traditional wishing well. You could use a beautifully decorated box, a vintage suitcase, a large glass jar, or even a cute birdcage. The choice depends on your wedding theme and personal style.

Related Articles