If you’re looking to make your wedding day cohesive with well-designed stationery items from place cards to welcome signage, this is your guide. I went through all of the key items you need to include on your special day for a complete look. And some items that are just fun to have like cocktail napkins or a custom drink sign.
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Here are the items you need on the day of your wedding:
A welcome sign is not strictly mandatory. Of course most people will know whose wedding they are attending. But it’s helpful to include if there are multiple events hosted at your venue. Or you can include at the entrance to your ceremony or reception location if there are multiple ways to go when you enter the venue. Then your welcome sign serves a directional purpose, helping guests know where to go when they enter.
In addition to the functional benefit, a welcome sign also creates an opportunity for decoration and incorporating more florals and other elements of your wedding’s decor theme. You can also think of it as a nice vignette for photos. If you decorate it with flowers and display it prominently, your guests can take a photo in front of it to remember the day.
A welcome sign typically includes your names or your new married name if you’re changing your last name and the date. It might also include artwork that relates to your wedding theme or location.
If you’re having signature cocktails or a unique bar set up, adding a bar sign is a great way to let your guests know! It functions as a menu or directional sign to let people know what they can order or where to find drinks as they enter the venue if it’s not obvious.
Typically a bar sign includes a list of the items you can order or highlights specialty items made specifically for the occasion that people wouldn’t know they can order. This is another opportunity to include personal touches like a watercolor rendition of the cocktails to give people a visual of what they’re ordering or a portrait of your pets who couldn’t make the big day in person.
I love the small details like these that make the wedding special and yours and set it apart from cookie cutter weddings.
If you have a loved one whose absence is particularly painful on your wedding day, leaving them a front row seat at the ceremony reserved with an in memoriam sign can be a wonderful way to honor them. My Dad died a few years after my wedding and I know if it had happened before the wedding I would have wanted to include in him in some way still.
I’ve seen this done as a small sign that reserves a seat at the ceremony or reception. And I’ve also seen lovely tributes placed on a table or piano during cocktail hour with photos of grandparents and other loved ones from their wedding days. And In Memoriam sign is a great way to pay tribute to family members and loved ones who are no longer with you but still hold a special place in your heart.
An unplugged ceremony sign is a way to kindly remind guests not to use their cell phones during the ceremony. There are multiple reasons why you want to ask your friends and family not to use their phones but the most common reasons are: so that they are fully present during your special day, to limit potential interruptions during the ceremony, and that your wedding pictures aren’t filled with cell phones ruining the shot.
If you want your guests to really experience your once-in-a-lifetime wedding, giving them a reason to put their phones away is a great way to encourage being in the moment. Making your ceremony unplugged also serves as a friendly reminder to silence and put away those phones before an obnoxious ringtone ruins the moment the bride walks down the aisle or another important ceremony moment. And lastly, the photographer you paid for won’t be competing with your amateur photographer uncle to get the shots they need or taking photos that are filled with phone camera screens.
Directional signage is often overlooked, especially in non traditional venues. I went to a wedding once where a shuttle bus dropped off a bunch of guests in a parking lot with multiple buildings surrounding it and we had no idea which direction to head! Make sure when you scope out your venue that you note if it was difficult to figure out where to go or if you needed instructions to get to the right building or room. If your venue hosts multiple events at a time or has a private room for your event, ask if there will be signage that points guests in the right direction. If not, ask if you can display your own signage that directs people where to go.
You can also inject some personality and your wedding’s theme into the signage by using florals, your wedding’s font, and your color scheme. You could even use portraits of your pets or something quirky and fun to point the way!
Place cards or a seating chart that we’ll get to next are almost always needed for a wedding. I’ve seen brides and grooms ask if telling your guests where to sit is really necessary. And I’ve attended enough weddings to say with complete certainty that when you have a room full of 50-200 people, it is required to tell them at least the table where they should be sitting. You can do this through a combination of a seating chart and/or place cards (also known as escort cards or name cards.)
Here’s why place cards with table numbers or organized by table number are so important: it creates a more organized flow when transitioning from the ceremony or cocktail hour to the reception and cuts down on any guest confusion. With an organized table arrangement, you know your guests will quickly move from one activity to another and know exactly where to sit. Without it, it will take your guests a lot longer to find the people they know and pick out a table. And you’ll have the added chaos of guests moving chairs and tables around to rearrange for their group size. Or even worse, people feeling left out or couples split up by the disorganization. And if your caterer is doing a plated dinner, it creates more of a headache for them as well if the tables are uneven or half empty.
If you are having a meal designated per person in advance, which is a standard procedure for many catering companies, place cards are even more important so you can print out their meal choices on the place cards in advance.
You can put each guest’s name (first and last or first and last initial) on the place card. You can then arrange them by table number or include the table numbers on the card. They are usually placed as you enter the reception area in alphabetical or chronological order by table number. The place cards can also be arranged on the tables themselves if you wish to designate a particular seat for each guest, not just table. This is especially useful to do if you have long tables or a u-shaped table so guests aren’t fighting over who sits closest to the bride and groom. And you can reserve those spots for your parents and wedding party.
Place cards also serve a decorative purpose like most of the day of stationery items I’ve mentioned so far. They can incorporate your theme and be part of your table decor as the place setting.
Looking for affordable but elegant place card options? Check out my Etsy shop for a variety of options to fit any theme.
Wait, who needs a place card? Check out this article to learn more about who needs to be included and who doesn’t when ordering place cards.
In addition to or in lieu of place cards, a seating chart serves the same purpose of telling your guests where to sit and directing the flow of people from ceremony or cocktail hour to the reception. You don’t need a seating chart if you are having a micro-wedding where it’s easy for guests to find their seats by the place cards or if you have prominent table number signs on each table that make it easy for guests to find their way.
You can simplify things by just having a seating chart that lists out each guest in alphabetical order with table numbers next to their names. This is what I did for my wedding so that I didn’t need individual place cards. This is especially useful if your wedding is outdoors and you don’t want to risk small items like place cards blowing away or getting lost.
I recommend adding a seating chart in addition to place cards if you have a large room or large table set up where it would be difficult to tell where you are supposed to go from the place cards alone. A seating chart can serve as a map.
Table numbers help identify each table so guests can find their places. You can make these part of the decor and include as much personality as you’d like. They can be numbered 1-10+ or have unique names to distinguish them from one another. I love when couples use their table numbers to tell a personal story – like all of the places you’ve traveled together, memories you’ve shared, or even pet names!
A small sign next to the card box lets guest know you appreciate their well wishes and gifts. And it also makes the box easier to find. I’ve been to many weddings where I had to search for the card box so a sign is a great way to subtly indicate where it is. It’s also a reminder in case someone forgot to bring a card or gift (it happens!) and they can quickly hop on their phone to buy something off your registry or contribute to your honeymoon.
I’m not a fan of putting your registry information or honeymoon fund information on this sign. It sends the wrong message about what you’re hoping for from your guests – which should be to enjoy themselves and celebrate your marriage not a gift or cash grab. And many guests, right or wrong, will find it tacky if you include a QR code or information about how you need money for a honeymoon or downpayment. I’m not an arbiter in what’s considered polite or not polite, just a messenger. 🙂
Many venues will provide cocktail napkins as part of the open bar set up so this is more for fun than mandatory. Personalized cocktail napkins are another way to put your unique stamp on your wedding and incorporate your theme. I’ve seen many elegant versions that include the name and date of the wedding, or fun ones that include a pet portrait or venue illustration. It’s the little details that really brand a wedding and make a theme come to life.
Like cocktail signs or bar menus, food table or dessert table signs serve a functional purpose of identifying each item or letting guests know what to order. These can go on the food or dessert tables in front of what they’re identifying. They can also include key dietary information like what items are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, or contain allergens like nuts or shellfish. If you know of guests with these allergies or restrictions it’s a nice gesture to point them out so they know what’s safe to eat and what to avoid. Many caterers will include these signs for you, especially if you’re having a buffet meal or dessert table. But if you want them to be in the same font and style as everything else at the venue, ask if you can provide.
Menus are typically displayed on the reception tables. You can have a menu for each person’s place setting and can even personalize it with their names to double as place cards. Or you can have one menu per table. This is especially common to have with family-style reception dinners where everyone is sharing from the same entrée plates.
Last but not least, don’t forget to thank the people who made your wedding great! At the rehearsal dinner, it’s traditional to give your parents and other key family members who helped out with the wedding a card and even a small gift to show appreciation. And the morning of the wedding is usually when you give your wedding party (bridesmaids and groomsmen) a thank you card and gift. You should also thank your vendors like your photographer, planner, dj, etc. with a thank you card and a tip if appropriate.
Now that you have your check list, you need someone who can make your vision come to life! Contact me or schedule a call to connect on how we can create the perfect items for your wedding day that create a cohesive event and make your theme a reality.
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Bread and Jaim is a stationery company located in Westchester, NY that specializes in watercolor wedding invitations and other premium illustrated stationery. Contact us for your custom stationery needs or visit the shop for semi-custom and ready-to-ship items.
designed by Gillian Sarah