Alternatives to birdcage card boxes

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empty punch bowl
A punch bowl, or anything with a wide mouth, can stand in as a card box
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Birdcage card boxes aren't your only option for a custom card container

Card boxes, a fixture at many weddings, are necessary because so many guests bring cards, both with and without gifts, to communicate their good wishes to the couples. Birdcage card boxes began to appear as alternatives to regular tulle-and-ribbon-decorated boxes and baskets. Of course, others often pick up on creative ideas, until it seems like everyone is doing the same thing. If birdcage card boxes have appeared at many of the weddings you've recently attended, you may be interested in some alternatives.


Features of a Card Box


You can make a card box look like anything you want and are capable of making, but if you want it to be functional (instead of just another decoration), you will need to keep these features of a card box in mind:

  • Sturdy enough to stand up to use and abuse by many hands
  • Large enough to hold cards from all your guests, should they each choose to bring one
  • Decorative enough that you're not ashamed of guests seeing it


Crafted Containers


Did you ever participate in a valentine exchange where everyone decorated boxes to receive the little cards? You can create alternatives to birdcage card boxes by working along the same principles, except on a bigger scale. Any shapes that fit the theme of your wedding or relationship could be appropriate. For example, if the couple met at the beach or does a lot of sailing together, or for a beach-themed wedding, you could use a cardboard boat for the card box. You'll have to do a little of your own designing, but you can customize the project to look however you want.


You could also opt for a more traditional crafted container. See the tutorial on container making by California Paper Goods if you need help.


Decorated Containers


If you need an option that's less labor-intensive, consider decorating a ready-made container. This is the same thing you do with birdcage card boxes, but using a different container can make the idea seem fresher. What can you use to decorate besides ribbon, tulle, and flowers? Try scrapbook paper, twine or raffia, stamps, scrapbook embellishments, or paint.


Kraft Boxes


Another alternative to birdcage card boxes that requires even less effort on your part is to find a plain brown Kraft box. Try a basic shape like a circle or rectangle, or use a fun heart-shaped box at your wedding. Your card box can then double as a guest book. Have guests sign the outside of the box or lid and leave their cards inside.




For a balance between make it all yourself and leave the decorating to the guests, use a template to cut down on the creative work. Mel Stampz's list of box templates contains links to hundreds of templates. Not all are suitable for card boxes, but you can use many of them to create a unique card box for your ceremony. Look for the larger templates, or make several smaller boxes to group together in an arrangement.


Unadorned Items


You can also use simple, unadorned items in place of birdcage card boxes. Try a crystal punch bowl for a more elegant wedding or a large faux bird's nest for a natural or outdoor-type wedding. If the couple are horse lovers, set out an upside down cowboy hat or (clean!) riding boots to collect cards. Both musicians? Set out an empty instrument case next to a picture of the couple performing together.

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