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Money Tree Etiquette

Must-read Money Tree Etiquette to Dodge Unnecessary Egg on Face

Having a money tree on your wedding or birthday party is a great way to get cash as gift and buy gifts of your own choice, provided you follow the etiquette given below.
Aastha Dogra
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
It is a tradition in some cultures to display a money tree during weddings. It is not uncommon to put up such a tree for occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, and retirements, especially when they involve the elderly. To some people, the whole concept may seem very absurd. They feel that putting up this tree on special occasions is like begging the guests for money. This actually is not true and can be avoided if proper etiquette is followed. In this Wedessence article, we will talk about the appropriate money tree etiquette for weddings and other occasions.
Etiquette for Weddings
  • If you are planning to put up a money tree during your wedding, see to it that you belong to a culture in which these trees are a tradition. In case you have planned a wedding around a cultural theme where they have this tradition, then this is another scenario in which they do not look out of the way.
  • In no case should money trees be mentioned on the invitations. Money is a gift, and just like no one asks for gifts on the invitations, no one should ask for money or mention it on invitations too.
  • When it comes to receiving cash as gift from guests, word of mouth is the best way to put the point across to them. So, tell all your friends, family, and bridal party members that in case the invitees inquire about the gifts for the bride and the groom, they should tell the guests about the money tree at the reception and also mention that cash gifts are acceptable by the couple.
  • At the reception venue, the bride and the groom should never mention it to the guests themselves. If they do that, it would come across as being extremely rude or blatant to some of the guests.
  • Ideally, a close family member, like an aunt, should announce about the tree to the guests during the reception. This way, it would seem as if the guests are participating in the custom voluntarily. If you have a DJ at your reception, he/she can also make the announcement in between playing music.
  • Make the announcement towards the end of the reception. You can even make it when the wedding reception is halfway through, but never before that.
  • Not all guests would want to contribute to the money tree. Some may find it embarrassing to gift money, while some may be unaware of this custom and its meaning. So, in order to let the guests know that money is welcome as a gift, you can put some folded bills or cash on the tree yourself. When the guests notice this, they will automatically know that you are expecting them to contribute.
  • Some guests would not feel comfortable with the idea of putting on display how much cash they are giving, which might refrain them from putting money on the tree. To avoid such a situation, it is suggested that you place a number of envelopes near the tree. This way, the guests can place money in these envelopes before putting them on the tree.
Etiquette for Other Occasions
For occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, or bridal showers, the etiquette more or less remains the same as it is for weddings. You should not mention about the tree in the invitation. Instead, spread the word around amongst the friends and family that you are going to put up a money tree through word of mouth. Place the tree in the corner of the room and never at the entrance, as it will end up looking like a charity box. Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, place envelopes near the tree so that your guests can put money in it rather than straightway hanging it on the tree.
If you follow the above mentioned tips, you would save yourself as well as the invitees from embarrassment and discomfort, which can otherwise arise due to cash gifts. One last tip before I sign off - if you are not convinced with the idea of putting up a money tree, you can instead put up a gift certificate tree. This way, you get to choose your own gifts and your guests do not have to hand you over cash as gift.