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Etiquette for cardbox/gift table?

Maybe I am odd, but I am not comfortable with the idea of having a gift table and card box at our reception.  It wasn't done where I grew up (it was understood to send a gift, if one chose to do so, ahead of time to the address on the back of the invitation) though I now live in an area where it appears to be the norm to place some type of gift receptacle and card box out at the reception and even wedding location.  Since the boards often discuss the fact that gifts should not be expected, then can you explain the practice of placing out a table and cardbox with the expectation of the receiving of gifts/cards/money?

FMIL already has ideas to decorate an oversized real mailbox (pole, stand, and all) for the cardbox (it was used in both FSIL's weddings). Can I get away with just having a table for the guest book, hoping that any guest who was inclined to bring a gift would just place it there?  The last thing I want to do is appear ungrateful for gifts or inconvenience those who brought one, I just feel "gift grabby" putting out a separate table and cardbox (um, massive mailbox) for gifts that I'm not supposed to expect.

I haven't been to many weddings and I just don't fully understand this concept.

Re: Etiquette for cardbox/gift table?

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    It's really just a practical consideration, IMO.  People bring gifts to weddings.  If your wedding is in Chicago (like mine is), people will bring an envelope with a check/cash as a gift.  It's just stupid to leave them laying around randomly--they might get lost or stolen if they're just left all over the place.  A cardbox is kind of a safety measure--it's a lot harder to walk out of a reception with a huge decorated box than it is to tuck a few cards into your jacket.  I understand your train of thought, but the fact of the matter is that people will bring stuff and it's just not practical to not have a safe location for them to put it.

    That said, that mailbox sounds hideously tacky.  I'd find something small and tasteful and tell FMIL that it's already been taken care of.
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    sucrets4sucrets4 member
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    edited December 2009
    It really depends on the area.

    In my area, cards and checks/cash are given AT the wedding.  It would have been tacky for me NOT to have one.

    Our card box was on a pedastal right near our sweetheart table.  It was out of the way and not by the guest book at all - to me that would seem more in your face and obvious.  People also handed us cards, too.
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    It is very easy to make a pretty and tasteful card box that will also double as decoration. Guests are going to bring presents and cards, its a given, so its a polite thing to give them space for the gifts. It doesn't have to be obvious, like a table that says "gifts go here", but just an empty space that can be used. Then someone can ask "where are the gifts going" and get it started.
    Also something to think about, if you don't have a gift table/card container, where will they go? Most likely people will start handing them to your parents or your fi's parents. Will they be able to have fun while keeping track of many cards or boxes?
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    I'm trying to find a pic of my card box...I think there's one in my married bio, under details.
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    Wow I never thought of the fact that guests would swipe the cards.... okay I now understand the purpose of the cardbox.

    And yes the mailbox is hideous. There are no words to describe it.

    Good point that the gifts sitting by the guest book would actually be kinda tacky.
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    Ditto KatieWhompus. 

    I assume in your FI's family it's common to bring gifts, so many will bring them. I often send a gift ahead because many weddings I go to are out of town, but I've never thought, "Oh my god, I can't believe people are bringing gifts and the couple provided a TABLE for them!" 

    Maybe you could decorate the gift table with a few family pictures. I'd compromise ith FMIL and do a gift table, but think up another idea for the cards. 
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_etiquette-cardboxgift-table?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:f5ef1ef0-1dc1-499a-b08a-6d6f6eaa878cPost:2b5ced49-8a92-4688-8f0c-4b311739beb1">Re: Etiquette for cardbox/gift table?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Wow I never thought of the fact that guests would swipe the cards.... okay I now understand the purpose of the cardbox. And yes the mailbox is hideous. There are no words to describe it. Good point that the gifts sitting by the guest book would actually be kinda tacky.
    Posted by AlannaF[/QUOTE]

    It's not just the guests you have to worry about--in most venues there's staff walking through, vendors, delivery people, people from other weddings....it's happened. 

    There are a lot of cute ones out there!  They don't have to be hideous.
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    The table is kinda behind where my cousin is standing.



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    In general, I wouldn't put either by the entrance because:

    1.  It seems like it's an entrance fee
    2.  Things can be nicked easier

    But I agree, I wouldn't see a table and thought it was tacky...unless it was labeled with "GIFTS GO HERE!!!" or something.
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    hmm my MOH has a little gold birdcage she used at hers. That's way more appealing than a massive mailbox.

    Coming from the deep south where my mom and grandmother practically were Ms. Manners, they don't even want me to send rsvp's with the invites, for fear it will make me seem like the guests aren't intelligent enough to write and send the formal response themselves.  But the fact is, most people don't anymore, and I have to be practical and prepared for my guests.

    This is a big help. I'm going to stalk bios for pics of tasteful cardboxes and/or gift tables.
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    They're right, traditionally people would RSVP on their own stationary, but not everyone has their own anymore.
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    Sucrets thanks for posting that - it makes a lot more sense to me now, and I love your cardbox.

    MsMerymac - I didn't think of the fact that his family would probably bring gifts...you are totally right.

    I don't want to stress out family by having guests pass off gifts/cards to them since I didn't place a table out, so ok I am totally convinced to have one.  I just want it to be tasteful.

    I will tell FMIL that the cardbox is taken care of. That mailbox scares me. Think oversized mailbox with huge cardslot at the top, lined in white tape because the edge of the slot are rough. It has a padlock on the door, and lots of faux ivy wrapped around it. I appreciate her efforts, but, just...no.
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    I went to a wedding where the hosts had the gift table in a attached room, so that there was one there but it wasn't in your face. But on the other hand, people were a little confused as to where to put the gifts. 

    I would just tell your FMIL that you wanted to try and DIY your own card box, but that you wanted to keep the mail box incase your idea didn't turn out how you hoped.
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    you can make your card box look like anything. I never went to a wedding and thought the bride and groom were "asking" for a gift with a table. I am from NJ and while some people might bring physical gifts, it's customary for guests to bring an envelope only to the wedding/reception. It might be different elsewhere of course. So we're not having a table and are just doing the card box.
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    As a guest, I appreciate a card box. I went to a wedding recently where there was no card box, and I had no idea what to do with my card. Eventually I just asked the bride. It makes it easier for your guests if there's just a drop spot for the cards. I had been debating whether or not to have a card box, and being somewhere without one really sold me on the idea!
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    Have your cardbox and guest book on the same table, with room behind for gifts if they're brought, but not using the table solely for gifts. 
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