Looking for something unique to display at your wedding reception? Consider a “wedding wish tree”! It is so much more exciting than a traditional guest book, which often ends up gathering dust in the attic. Plus, you can have tons of fun anchoring the tree’s design on the theme, motif, or color palette of your wedding celebration. In our example, we use white-painted branches and a palette of soft pastels to create a dreamy, fairyland-inspired “wedding wish tree”—that starts out as a “favor tree.” You’ll see what we mean!
What You Will Need
For the tree display:
1. Bare tree branches (e.g., manzanita, mitsumata, etc. – 4 to 5 pcs. about 3 to 4 feet in height) – look in your backyard for some tree branches, too!
2. Tree planter (vase or pot large enough to hold the branches)
3. Foam (for stuffing the tree planter)
4. Fabric in the event’s color scheme (about 2 to 3 yards)
5. A bistro-sized table or a stand to hold the wish cards
6. Tablecloth in keeping with the event’s theme
1. White paint, paintbrush, and paint thinner
2. A mirror for the table top
For the wish cards: White card stock, single-hole puncher, colored felt-tipped or gel pen, ½-inch pink ribbon, and thin silver cords
For the butterflies: Colored craft paper (mint green, pink, and orange), scissors, colored and metallic glitter, craft glue, ultra-fine craft wire, and double-sided tape
For the decorations: a book-shaped ring pillow, flower-themed tealight lamps or regular candle votives, loose rose petals, clear crystals or sequins, and a fountain pen or quill
For the favors: 20 silk favor pouches that follow the color palette of the display.
How to Assemble The Tree
Step 1: Assemble the tree
To recreate this fairyland-themed tree, strip the branches of their leaves and paint them completely white. Of course, to suit your particular theme, you may opt to keep the branches in their natural color and to retain some of their leaves.
Stand the branches upright in the planter and secure them in place with foam. If they seem a bit unstable, you may add heavier fillers such as stones.
Step 2: Dress up the tree’s base
Use yards of fabric to conceal the planter, gracefully draped down the sides and “flowing” towards the table display.
Step 3: Prepare and display the wish cards
Cut the white card stock into 3×4-inch rectangles. With a colored felt-tipped or gel pen, write a heading like “A Special Wish” on each one. Then,punch 4 small holes along the top of each card with a single-hole puncher. Thread ribbon through the 2 middle holes and tie it into a pretty bow. Through the 2 outer holes, loop a length of fine silver cord to create a handle.
Alongside the tree, set up the bistro table and tablecloth. Place a circular mirror on top (optional) and arrange the wish cards in neat rows. Hint: You can also use a fancy marker in gold or silver to write the card headings.
Step 4: Create the butterflies
Create your own butterfly pattern from card stock or cardboard. Use this to trace butterfly wings on the colored craft paper, then cut them out. A stencil is also handy, but you can also find many butterfly patterns on the web to trace over. For the experienced craftsperson or the truly brave, you may do this freehand!
Use craft glue to outline whimsical patterns on the butterfly wings and dust these with glitter. Twist the fine craft wire into curly “antennae” and glue these to the butterfly heads. After making about 20 butterflies in various colors, attach them to the tree with double-sided tape. Depending on the theme, you can make other shapes such as dragonflies, leaves, or hearts.
Step 5: Present the favors on the tree
Take the favors you’ve prepared and hang them on the tree branches. For this fairyland theme, we used 20 delicately hand-painted pouches filled with some sweet goodies. These could be edible treats such as sugared almonds, candy-coated chocolates, or chocolate wafers; or for a garden setting like this one, dried-petal potpourri, rose-scented soaps, or flower-shaped tealights. Hint: The actual number of pouches to use will vary, depending on your guest list.
Step 6: Embellish the table display
Now for the decor elements! Take a memento from the wedding ceremony that’s in tune with your reception’s theme. This fairyland display, for instance, may owe its inspiration to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So a lace-trimmed ring pillow in the shape of a storybook is a perfect decor piece.
Embellish the ring pillow with dainty butterflies and flowers and, on the tabletop, add miniature tealight lamps with petal-covered “shades” surrounded by loose rose petals. As a decorative option, you can also scatter rose petals and sequins for a romantic look. And for a final flourish, set out an elegant fountain pen or quill pen and a sign saying “Leave a Wish for the Happy Couple” (hint, hint!).
Step 7: Make it interactive
At the start of the reception, have attendants guide guests to take a favor from the tree and replace it with a personalized wish card for the bride and groom. And there you have it—your “favor tree” is now a “wedding wish tree”!
Ready for your own “wedding wish tree”? What would you put on the tree?