Although it's proper etiquette to send a wedding gift to the couple's home in advance of the ceremony, it's still customary in some regions to bring it along to the wedding. Create a decorated gift table at your reception so your guests have a designated area to place the present -- all while keeping the safety of gift cards and presents in mind.
Wedding gift tables should be placed just outside the main reception area if possible because opening the presents is part of the reception festivities. If the table needs to be placed inside the reception area, set it apart from the rest of the tables so it does not interfere with guest traffic or distract from the other decorations. Do not place the gift table close to the building’s main exits since that makes it easier for thieves to sneak in and snatch presents or the cash box from the table.
The wedding gift table should be decorated simplistically but complement the other reception decorations. Most couples choose to place a tablecloth and runner on the gift table. The colors for these items only need to match the reception colors if the table is placed in the main reception area. Otherwise, couples can choose any color combination they desire. While most of the table should be left open for the gifts, you could place a vase with a floral bouquet matching the wedding flowers in the center of the table. Other ideas include stringing lights around the table, decorating the edge with floral garland or sprinkling glitter on the tablecloth. Placing framed photographs or photo albums of the couple on the table for guests to examine as they drop off gifts and head into the reception is another good idea.
As part of the decorations, include a box, bird cage or other receptacle for cards, gift cards and monetary gifts. According to American Express, about one-third of wedding guests give cash gifts, so make sure your receptacle’s size is sufficient to hold those gifts. You can find a wide-range of designs for these receptacles, including mailboxes painted with the newly married couple’s initials, luggage, miniature homes and boxes that feature photos of the couple. When selecting a card receptacle, choose one that only has a slit for dropping in cards. Boxes that are too open can be tempting to thieves and provide them with easy access. If you’re on a budget, tape together an old cardboard box and cover it with fabric, ribbons and flowers, then use a box cutter to make an opening in the top.
The wedding gift table should not be labeled as such. Instead, post a thank you message on, above or near the table. The message might say “Thank you for sharing this wonderful day with us,” along with your signatures. Another option is to use fabric paint to write your married name on the tablecloth or on a piece of fabric framed and display it immediately behind the wedding gift table. If you are concerned that guests will still not notice or know to place their gifts on the table, ask a close friend or family member to arrive early at the reception location to greet guests.