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  • Christina Hubeli

Stationery & Signage for Your Wedding Day

wedding welcome sign with greenery
Photo: Brian Coss Photography

Beyond your wedding save the dates and invitation, there is a whole host of optional stationery and signage you may want to incorporate into your wedding day! Emphasis on optional – you certainly shouldn’t feel like you have to include all or most of the below items. Consider what makes sense for your day and what you want to spend money/time on.

There are a few different ways you can go about securing stationery and signage. The first is to hire a stationer and/or calligrapher to create the items for you. If you’re looking for a more frugal option, check out sites like Minted or Etsy that offer customizable options. And last but not least, if you’re a DIY couple, you can create some or all of your stationery or signage right at home.

A quick note on DIY-ing! While it’s a convenient way to add a personal touch to your day and cut back on design costs, be realistic with yourself about what you can take on. If you aren’t particularly artsy or haven’t used certain tools required for what you’re creating, give yourself enough time to do a few practice rounds before you make the actual sign or stationery.

Also keep in mind that certain items can only be created within a certain period of time. For instance, with place cards or a seating chart, you’ll have to wait to create these until you get back all your RSVPs and have put together your seating plan. This would typically be within the last 3 to 4 weeks leading up to the wedding when you might have a bit more on your plate. Think through if this is a project you’re comfortable taking on or if it will only add more stress. On the flip side, something like your welcome sign, can really be made at any point once you have your wedding date and a general idea of your design style.

Check out below some of the stationery and signage we commonly see at weddings and how you can make them unique to your day!

Welcome Sign

This of course welcomes guests to your wedding and is a good confirmation that they’re in the right place! These signs are especially useful for venues that host multiple weddings at a time or are more difficult to locate/inconspicuous.

Unplugged Ceremony Sign

These signs have grown in popularity over the past few years. They ask guests to not use their phones during the ceremony and remain in the moment (and hopefully cuts down on the phones out for photo purposes…you hired a professional photographer for a reason!). This is also an announcement your officiant can make prior to the ceremony beginning.

Ceremony Programs

Programs list out the order of events for your ceremony. Most couples we work with opt for a short and sweet ceremony (30 minutes or less) and typically don’t see programs as a necessity. If you’re having a longer ceremony or just like the idea of programs, go for it! There are some fun ways to make them unique as well, like attaching a wooden stick to the bottom of each one in order for it to serve double duty as a fan.

If you do want to have ceremony programs, there are a few options for distributing them. The programs could be placed on each seat; in this case, you’ll want to ensure you print or order enough programs to fill each seat (and always order a few extra just in case). Another option is to have your ushers or greeters pass them out to guests as they arrive for the ceremony. If you’ll be going this route, you’ll only need to order or print programs for about 75% of your guest count, as couples and groups will share or opt not to take one. Similarly, you can have the programs set out on a table, basket, etc. for guests to grab as they please.

Event Timeline

This is a sign that gives guests an overview of when certain festivities will be happening throughout the night, such as first dances, cake cutting, dinner, etc. This type of signage is commonly placed in the cocktail hour and reception space(s) for guests to check out. You can find tons of inspiration for this on Pinterest! And remember that this sign certainly doesn’t need to be as in-depth as your planner’s timeline; par it down to what’s most pertinent for guests.

Bar Menu and/or Signature Drinks Sign

Bartenders will commonly set up a display of what alcoholic and non-alcoholic options are offered at your bar, but you can also indicate this with a bar menu sign. If you’ll be offering a signature drink(s), a sign is a great way to illustrate what it is, the ingredients, and the name!

Gift & Guest Book Table Signs

Couples commonly have signs to show guests where to place gifts and cards. A card box sign is especially helpful if you’re using a holder that is more unique like a basket, lantern, birdcage, etc. Along with the cards and gifts, we typically set up the guest book on this table as well for guests to sign. If your guest book requires some instruction, a sign can be useful for guests to know what it is and how to sign it.

Memorial Table Sign

There are several ways to honor loved ones that have passed at your wedding. If you’re opting for a memorial table, you may want to include a sign describing what the table is for.

Dinner Seating

As guests transition to dinner, there are a handful of options for indicating where guests will be seated:

  • Seating chart: A seating chart is typically placed in an obvious location for guests to check their seating assignment as they move into the dinner space. With a seating chart, guests will be assigned to a certain table for dinner, and they’ll be able to select their preferred seat at that table.

  • Place cards: If you prefer to assign guests to a specific table and seat, you can couple a seating chart with place cards. Place cards are set out at each individual seat, so once guests find their table based on the seating chart, they can then find their individual seats based on where the card with their name is placed.

  • Escort cards: This is an alternative to a seating chart. Escort cards are typically placed either in the cocktail hour space or in the area as guests move from cocktail hour to dinner. The cards are each printed with the guests’ name and table assignment, and the cards are set out in alphabetical order. Once the guest finds their card, they’ll bring it with them to their assigned table; from there, they can select their seat at the table.

    • If you’ll be having a plated dinner where guests get to select their meal in advance, your caterer will likely require that you utilize either escort cards or place cards. On each card, you’ll use what is called an entree indicator so the server can quickly reference what each guest will be eating. This indicator could be a different color dot (i.e. yellow = chicken, red = beef, green = vegetarian), different shapes (i.e. square = chicken, circle = beef, triangle = vegetarian), different stickers (i.e. chicken, cow, or leaf), or even just the entree name written out.

  • Open seating sign: If you won’t be assigning guests to tables, it can be helpful to have a sign indicating this to guests so they know they are welcome to sit wherever they like. This style of seating is only possible if you’re doing a non-plated dinner, such as a buffet or stations. Overall, it’s not highly recommended because it tends to cause confusion for guests and make create situations where families or couples get split up because there aren’t enough seats left at a certain table. If you do opt for open seating, consider placing reserved signs on tables meant for your immediate family and/or wedding party.

For the first three options, you’ll also need to have table numbers set at each table so guests can easily find their seats. If you’re having open seating, table numbers can be helpful if you want your DJ to release tables for dinner (i.e. tables 1 and 2 get to go through the buffet first, and so on).

Dinner Menus

Menus that detail what is being served for dinner are another optional stationery item. They’ll typically list out each of the dinner courses, along with the dessert option(s). While menus are optional, they can be especially helpful if you are having multiple stations for dinner service that are scattered throughout the room. Having menus in this case ensures that guests don’t miss out on any of the yummy options!

If you want to have menus but want to cut back on costs, an alternative option is to just have one to two menus per table. These could be framed or just placed down on the table for guests to pass around.

Neon Sign

Another popular trend in the past few years is a neon sign! The wording of this sign can truly be anything but is commonly a cute quote/saying or your new shared last name. In terms of placement, this sign can be above your head table or sweetheart table, an addition to a lounge area, a focal point for a photo moment area, etc.

Favor Tags and/or Sign

If you’ll be offering guests favors, you may want to include a tag on these that thanks the guest for coming. If the favors will be placed out on a table for guests to grab, have a sign saying that guests can each take one.

Other Miscellaneous Tables

Think through any other tables or elements that you’ll be including during your cocktail hour or reception that may require signage. For instance, if you’ll have a basket of disposable flip-flops for guests to grab while dancing, consider making a sign for this so guests know they’re free to grab a pair!

Thank You Cards

You of course won’t use these on your wedding day, but you can order personalized thank you cards for sending to guests as your receive gifts. These can be created to match your invitation suite or just play into the general theme/color scheme of your wedding.

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