Menus, programs, escort cards, place cards, table numbers, favor tags, wedding itineraries/timelines, thank you inserts, signage - it can all be a little overwhelming when planning your stationery for your big day. Often times, brides will run out of money in their budget to really focus on these items, and end up having to rush around and DIY many of them. This post will dissect what is needed, what is optional, what is really great to have, and what these items are used for.
Resource: The Wedding Planning Guide & Checklist
I offer design services for all of the following items; to view pricing and how to order, you are welcome to visit my weddings page.
Programs are essential for any wedding - it lists the wedding party, the ceremony details, and can give an informal thank you to the guests for attending. As a wedding stationery designer, I feel that out of all the wedding day items, your programs should be designed by a professional. Other than photographs and wedding favors, the invitation and program are the two items that you guests will have as a keepsake from your day, and are the two most important items to budget for when working with a designer. Most designers offer a flat program, and I also offer a small folded version as well as booklets for more traditional ceremonies.
Not all receptions call for menus (i.e. offering a buffet) but in most circumstances you would either need one for each guest, or post 2-3 menus in the center at each table to save on costs. Menu wording is mostly provided by the caterer, and can be done in many ways. You will see a custom example that I did below, and we used icons to separate the choices.
Escort + Place Cards
Unless you are having a very small, informal ceremony, one or both of these cards will be used. Escort Cards are placed on a table or posted in the foyer of the reception area to let guests know which table to sit at. Each person will receive there own card (couples do not go on the same card) and has the name and table number on it. An alternative and less expensive way is to create 5x7 or 8x10" signs of each table with the guest names underneath, and these can be hung in frames and posted.
Place cards are put on the actual table for assigned seating, and include just the name, or sometimes the entree selection as well. This helps the wait staff to determine what person has ordered which meal if they chose in advance. Place cards can either be flat, folded, on a tag tied to a wine glass, or in a belly band format to wrap around the utensils, and are a great way to get creative! If you are planning on DIYing these, allow plenty of time; these can be pretty time consuming.
For a more intimate wedding, often times only place cards are used (i.e. if you only have one or two long tables) or to reserve a spot for the bridal party and parents.
Wedding Itineraries / Timelines
Optional, but awesome
One of my favorite things to design are wedding itineraries. Commonly used for destination or larger weddings, it breaks down the times and locations for all of the events happening during the weekend.
Generally, these are distributed in a few ways:
- Left at the hotel front desk to give to guests as they arrive
- At the rehearsal dinner, if all are attending
- Mailed separately to arrive 1-2 weeks before the wedding
This is a great way to communicate all the activities you have planned during your wedding weekend!
Favor Tags (optional)
Favor tags are generally used with the favor bags or boxes given to your guests at the reception. Most tags have the bride and groom's name and wedding date, matching their other wedding stationery pieces. Depending on the size of the tag, "thank you" can also be added as a simple way of thanking your guests for attending. Usually they are hole punched and tied with twine or ribbon, depending on the decor of the reception.
Thank You Favor Bag Insert Cards (optional)
These insert cards are placed in the wedding favors bag/box, and just has a personal note from the bride and groom to their guests. This can include a "we are so blessed to have you in our lives" or "thank you so much for attending our special day", etc.
Another great touch: scan your signatures and send this to your designer to include on the card, so it will look as if you signed each one in your own handwriting!
Table Numbers and Signage
Don't forget about the table numbers! Most wedding receptions use table numbers at each table to let their guests know where to sit. Other signage could include items such as restrictions on flash photography, funny sayings, signing of the guestbook, cash bar, etc.
I hope you found this post helpful with creating your wedding day stationery. Ensure to communicate with your designer in advance so you know how much to leave in your budget. Some of these items may not be as expensive as you think, and will save you time when trying to do everything right before the wedding!
Do you have any other tips or items that you found beneficial when creating your wedding day stationery?