Wish for a Better Guest Book

by Denise Martinez, Director of Feature Sales and former Event Coordinator | Images by Sherman Chu

Tired of the traditional guest books? Mix it up with a Wedding Wish Tree!

Wedding wish tree with Manzanita branches and crystals

The Wish Tree is a Dutch wedding custom where guests write their well wishes to the couple on a piece of paper, either shaped like a leaf or made of cardstock, and then hang it on the tree. This creates a spectacular wedding centerpiece—especially when the tree is placed at the entrance to the reception to WOW guests right when they walk in.

I helped assemble a Wish Tree when I worked with Maxine Andrew of Instead of You at a beautiful Bently Reserve wedding.

→ Now, I'm going to show you exactly how it's done—so grab your bridesmaids and get to DIY-ing!

Helpful hint: give yourself plenty of time to assemble the Wish Tree. It must be done on site and can’t be moved once it’s assembled. The one in these photos took about two hours to complete, from wrapping the crystal garland inside each hurricane glass to laying out the wish cards for the guests to hang. Yes it takes a while, but the wow factor is huge.

By purchasing the materials to make your own Wish Tree, you’ll be able to assemble it again for other types of parties such as baby showers, birthdays, graduations, etc. After each event, you can create a scrapbook with the wish cards. Think of it as the Wish Tree that keeps on giving.

Here's what you need to recreate the tree shown in the picture:

Handwritten note hanging from a wedding wish tree

  • Manzanita Branches: You can spray-paint them gold or silver, or you can leave them the way nature intended. Look for ones with nice, thick trunks and lots of upward-reaching branches.
  • Crystal Garlands for use on the tree and in the vases
  • 2 Large Glass Hurricanes or Floral Vases
  • Ornament Hooks
  • 2 or More Pens for guests to write with
  • 2 Large Serving Trays which may be used to display the wish cards before the guests hang them on the tree
  • 1–2 Frames: The frames are placed between the hurricanes on either side of the table. Inside each frame, place cardstock with wording that instructs guests to write their well wishes to the couple on a card, and then hang it on the tree.

Wish Tree Notes: To keep it simple, you could have your invitation vendor create the notes in the same style and cardstock as your wedding stationery. Or, simply choose cardstock in any shape or color you want! Just make sure there's enough surface space on the card for the guest to write a heartfelt message.

Useful tip: Get 15–20 notes more than your total guest count. You can take the cards to Kinko’s and have them drill a hole in each one, or simply hole-punch the top of each card yourself.

Most of these materials can be found at Crate & Barrel and Target. You can pick them up while you're registering for your wedding gifts!

Here's how to build your Wish Tree:

Guests write their well wishes to hang on a wedding wish tree

1 }  Prep The Hurricane Glasses

Wrap the inside of the large hurricanes with the crystal garland in a circular direction so that you get a good base in which to place the manzanita branches.

2 }  Placement Is Everything

Place the two hurricanes about a foot apart from each other on the table on which the wish tree will be displayed. To get the most sparkle out of your tree, put it near a great light source or add a few votive candles around it. Arrange the manzanita branches in the center of each hurricane.

3 }  Bedazzle The Branches

Take the remaining crystal garlands and drape them throughout the branches. This could take some time and you might need to make adjustments. You don't want to have any huge holes.

4 }  Hook It Up

Place an ornament hook on each wish card and display them on the table. You can use the serving platter to lay them out (like in the picture) or you can just spread them on the table itself. (This step was the most time consuming for me.)

5 }  Make It Frame-worthy

Frame cardstock with simple instructions on it and place the frame(s) in the center of the two hurricanes. If you want your guests to be able to sign on either side of the table, put the two frames back-to-back.

6 }  Let The Well-Wishing Begin!

Place the pens on either side of the serving platter(s) and enjoy the sweet sentiments coming your way.

You’re done! You now have a show-stopping place for guests to express their good wishes.


Barn  |  Beach  |  Beauty + Hair  |  Bridal Fairs  |  Brides Want to Know  |  Alabama  |  Birmingham / Central Alabama  |  Budget Wedding Ideas  |  Cakes  |  Ceremony  |  Checklists  |  Destination  |  Arizona  |  Flagstaff / Sedona / Northern Arizona  |  DIY Wedding Ideas  |  Phoenix / Scottsdale / Central Arizona  |  Expert Advice  |  Flowers  |  Food and Drink  |  Central California  |  Forest + Wooded  |  Garden  |  Give Back  |  Glossaries of Wedding Terms  |  Santa Barbara Wine Country  |  Great View  |  Green Weddings  |  Colorado  |  Historic  |  Denver/Boulder  |  Honeymoons and Travel  |  Invitations  |  High Rockies/Aspen/Vail  |  Mansion  |  Connecticut  |  Museums + Galleries  |  Music + Entertainment  |  Off Beat  |  Florida  |  Outdoor  |  Photography  |  Fort Lauderdale  |  Private Estate  |  Questions To Ask Your...  |  Miami  |  Receptions  |  Rehearsal Dinner  |  Palm Beach  |  Rustic  |  Sex Romance Relationships  |  Small Weddings and Elopements  |  Georgia  |  Unique  |  Urban  |  Waterfront  |  Atlanta  |  Wedding Dresses + Fashion  |  Wedding Registries + Gifts  |  Wedding Venues + Locations  |  California  |  DC Area  |  Savannah/Georgia Coast  |  Tri-State Area  |  Hawaii  |  Illinois  |  Downtown Chicago  |  North Chicago Suburbs / Schaumburg / Evanston  |  South/Southwest Chicago Suburbs  |  West Chicago Suburbs / Naperville  |  Louisiana  |  New Orleans  |  Maryland  |  Baltimore  |  Suburban Maryland  |  Massachusetts  |  Boston  |  Cape Cod and Islands  |  New Jersey  |  Central Jersey  |  Jersey Shore  |  Northern New Jersey  |  New York  |  Catskills  |  Hudson Valley  |  Long Island  |  NYC  |  Upstate  |  Northern California  |  East Bay  |  Napa and Sonoma Wine Country  |  North Bay / Marin  |  Sacramento and Central Valley  |  San Francisco  |  South Bay / San Jose  |  Tri-Valley and Livermore Wine Country  |  Yosemite / Gold Country / Sierra  |  Oregon  |  Columbia River Gorge  |  Portland  |  Willamette Valley  |  Pennsylvania  |  Philadelphia  |  Pittsburgh  |  Southern California  |  Los Angeles  |  Orange County  |  Palm Springs / Palm Desert  |  San Diego  |  San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena  |  Santa Barbara  |  Tennessee  |  East Tennessee / Knoxville  |  Middle Tennessee / Nashville  |  West Tennessee / Memphis  |  Texas  |  Austin  |  Central Texas / Waco / College Station  |  Dallas  |  East Texas  |  Ft. Worth  |  Gulf Coast  |  Hill Country  |  Houston  |  North Texas  |  San Antonio  |  Virginia  |  Northern Virginia  |  Washington  |  North Cascades  |  Northeast/Spokane  |  Olympic Peninsula  |  Seattle  |  Tacoma  |  The Gorge  |  Walla Walla Wine Country  |  Washington, D.C.