It is very important that you be aware that by having a money tree at your reception, you are breaching one of the fundamental basics of proper wedding etiquette: never, ever ask for or expect gifts, including money. Keep in mind that while the money tree might be perfectly acceptable in some cultures, it is definitely not the norm in America and is seen by most as being in very poor taste.
If you have your heart set on breaking the etiquette rules and you decide to go forward with having a money tree at your reception, following these tips might help smooth over its presence:
- Never make announcements regarding the money tree or draw attention to it. In fact, the bride and groom should never even mention it in conversation during the reception.
- Stage the money tree in a place where it is not the center of attention (while, at the same time, keeping it visible enough that someone will not take off with all of your money!).
- Put some sort of explanation near the tree for those of your guests that have never seen one before. Make sure you stress that the donation is optional.
- Tie or pin some of your own money to the tree before the reception so the guests know what to do.
Even by using all of the tips above, it is still strongly advised not to use a money tree unless it is culturally significant to either the bride or groom. Otherwise, it is incredibly tacky and in poor taste. If you already have everything you need and your gift registry is pretty slim, it is far more advisable to have your close friends and family members, when asked what you would like, drop the hint that your household is fully stocked and monetary gifts would be appreciated.
If your partner’s culture calls for the money tree and you are not comfortable with it, instead, try the money dance. It is equally as distasteful to most of your guests, but, at least there is some interaction with them instead of them just clipping money to a tree!