You’ve selected your wedding invitations. Approved them for printing. Dropped them in the mail. Phew, what a relief to be done with stationery, amiright!?! Well, not exactly. We have so many clients who want to check invitations off of their list that they forget to consider reception stationery. While it’s true that you likely don’t need to tackle this until closer to wedding day, it’s something you should mention you’ll need when you’re discussing wedding stationery with your designer.
So what is reception stationery (also often called “day-of” stationery)? It’s literally all the other paper things that no one thinks of! Programs, menus, table numbers, place cards, seating charts, bar menus, food cards & signage just to name a few. The thing we love about reception stationery is that it’s an opportunity to carry the esthetic from your invitations into your wedding day. You know that beautiful watercolor greenery on your invites that you fell in love with? Let’s plop that on the corners of your seating chart and make a happy little cohesive stationery family! Or that gorgeous monogram on your wax seals? Wouldn’t that be the perfect graphic detail on the top of your menus? We think so.
I know what you’re thinking “…shoot! I thought I was out of the woods with stationery!”. I’m here to give you the play-by-play on the pieces you need for your reception. This list is not all inclusive, but it’s what we most commonly see requested by our wedding clients.
Programs come in various shapes and sizes. We most often see them flat (4×9 is a great size), folded (hamburger style) or as a fan which is nice for outdoor ceremonies. Your program layout will vary based on the format of your ceremony. Is your ceremony short and sweet? Include a note to your guests, order of the ceremony, bridal party and call it good. If you’ve opted for a religious ceremony, you may have scripture readings, prayers & even communion that needs to be included. Often the amount of text you want included will determine the style of program you go with (you won’t be able to fit a religious ceremony on a flat 4×9 program, for example). It’s up to you how you display the programs. We like them in a basket, flat on a table as guests are entering or even placed on each seat.
Seating charts are one of our favorite pieces to create for our clients. We encourage our clients to go big (24×36 is ideal) with their seating charts. They can be mounted on foam core (think poster board) if you plan on leaning it in an easel or printed on vinyl which can easily be framed. For larger weddings (anything over 100), we recommend listing your guests alphabetically versus by table. That way you won’t create a line of guests trying to find their name…they know their last name, they don’t know what table to look for themselves at. Alternatively, if you reallyyyy want to list your guests by table, have two seating charts made to avoid a traffic jam of guests entering the reception. Seating charts have become a popular alternative to place cards in recent years.
A more traditional option for telling your guests where to sit, we have a lot of guest who still go this route. It’s classic and there is something about it that feels special for your guests. The excitement of finding your place card, arriving at your table and waiting to see what high school friends you’ve been matched with. We also have clients to do a combo of seating chart & place cards. They will have a seating chart at the entrance of the reception space and place cards at the table designating what seat each person is in.
This one is fairly self explanatory. Some venus will provide this for you, so be sure to ask ahead of time. If not, let your designer’s mouth salivate over the gourmet delights you’ve selected while they layout your menu. 4×9 is a nice size if you plan on placing them on top of each place setting. Another growing trend is a larger (think 8.5×11) framed menu at each table. A nice option if you’re looking for some additional visual interest for the table-scape. You may also want additional menus placed throughout the venue. Most importantly at the bar. Have a bar menu created to save your bartenders from having to list the beverage options to each guest.
There are lots of fun ways to display table numbers these days. A few of our favorites are on wine bottles, rustic wooden numbers or acrylic numbers. A classic calligraphed 5×7 piece of cardstock also gets the job done.
Whether you have goodie bags for your guests when they check into the hotel, or a jar of honey from your beehive as they leave your wedding, favors are a kind gesture to thank your guests for celebrating and spending the day with you. Don’t forget to attach a clever tag or personalized note to show your appreciation.
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