When it came to guest books we fancied something different, something which would make for a pretty display. After trawling through the internet for ideas we found the wishing tree. But like with most wedding things, it comes with a rather large price tag. So we thought, “we can do this”- essentially all we needed was some branches, a vase, tags, some patience and of course our trusty helpers!
The main obstacle was the branches. Manzanita branches are the gold standard and gorgeous but also ridiculously expensive. Apparently they only grow on the West coast of America- who knew! So we decided to find an alternative (but if you’re interested in Manzanita branches one of our friends tells us they bought some from the New Covent Garden flower market for £50)
Anyway, we were on the hunt for branches. I quite like the natural tree shape and searched the florists and garden centres for some alternatives but they only had twisted willow which didn’t fit the look I was going for. So I resorted to keeping an eye out in friends and families gardens. As luck would have it, my mum’s a keen gardener and had an overgrown plant which she told me would work. I’m not gonna lie, I was skeptical; it was covered in leaves and weird berries, but she let me hack at it (literally) and lop a good few branches off. I took them home and sat in the garden ripping off the leaves (much to the amusement of my husbands Gran who thought I’d gone mad) and after filling a bin bag with leaves, I had my branches. Step 1 complete!
Putting it together
We grabbed a glass vase (we used one from the house but you can get ones in Ikea) and arranged them to create the tree shape we wanted. Now we needed to decorate them. We went with a simple natural look, using thin garden wire we twisted iridescent beads (£4 for a box, florists) into a garland and then wrapped them here and there along the branches.
We needed the tree to be transportable and as flat pack as possible so rather than cementing the branches as some people do, we decided to use decorative stones (Florera white stones £1.39 per pack, Ikea) to hold the branches in place.
Our tags were made out of the off cuts from the card stock used to make our invites (I told you we liked making things). We were left with bookmark sized bits of lovely card which we just guillotined into the right size, punched a hole through with a hole punch and threaded through some ribbon. We made around 200 whilst watching TV. But you can just as easily buy some ready-made, or if you fancy some shaped ones: buy a shaped paper punch from Hobbycraft.
The finished product
And that was that! We were able to wrap the branches up, put them in the boot along with the vase and bags of stones and arrange the tree when we got to the venue. And when it was time to leave, we just packed it all up again. When it came to the tags, we had great fun reading them afterwards and people had great fun writing (and drawing) us messages, especially the kids.
All in all, it probably cost us about £15 using things we had lying around. I would have loved to have kept it as a decoration in the house but we have no space, and no house so we actually ended up selling it on Ebay for £60. Not too shabby.