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Our guide to paper on your wedding day with The Firefly Method

June 6, 2018

Have you ever wondered, “what’s the difference between a place card and an escort card?” Or “do I need programs? What goes into a program anyway?” Or even “when am I supposed to get all this printed?” You’re not alone!! Although paper is one of those things that’s relatively easy to do on your own these days, it can still feel a little intimidating when people start throwing around words and phrases that are rarely used in daily life, AND when it seems like there are so many bits and pieces to think about. Today we’re going down the list of everything you might want (or need!) to include in your on-site paper list. We’ve also put together an easy timeline for ALL of your wedding paper (including save the dates and invitations) plus a quick guide to your printing options and which ones work best for each piece. Check that out HERE!

(Photos by Heather Waraksa)

(Photo by Heather Waraksa)

If you would like to include ceremony programs for your guests, these should include the names of each member of your wedding party as well as any family or friends that will be a part of the processional. Next, you can list the order that the ceremony will be performed in. Don’t forget to include the names of any readings or songs that are a part of the ceremony, as well as the names of the people performing them. The program is also a great place to include a remembrance of any deceased loved ones, an additional prayer, or literary passage that fits the occasion, or a note to your guests from you and your partner.

Wedding program (photo by Rylee Hitchner)

(Photo by Rylee Hitchner)

Escort Cards
These are the cards that will tell your guests what table they are sitting at. If you have over 40 guests we highly recommend providing these for guests. Sometimes couples think their guests would prefer to seat themselves or they just simply want to provide a more “laid back” atmosphere. While we love to go with the flow, escort cards actually take the burden off of your guests from having to navigate the dining room, while figuring out who to sit with and where. Our number one goal for all weddings is to eliminate the chaos in any way possible and escort cards are an excellent way to do that!

Wedding escort cards

(Photo by Judy Pak)

Place Cards
Place cards are what are placed at each individual seat, telling your guests what specific chair they will be sitting in. Unless you’re giving guests a choice of entree ahead of time and your caterer has asked for a floor plan that includes each entree selection, we tell clients that these are optional. When you give guests a table assignment (with your escort card) that narrows it down to a choice or approximately 8-10 seats, which is a LOT simpler to navigate in the moment. If you do decide to use place cards, you may want to consider incorporating them in with the menu. Guests names can be easily printed or written by a calligrapher, at the top. We also like this option because it saves paper.

(Photos by Heather Waraksa)

(Photo by Heather Waraksa)

Table Numbers
Make sure to get a table number for each table. Even if you have a long table made up of multiple tables, make sure to give each individual table a number as opposed to one number for each long table. This will make it a lot easier for guests to find their seat!

Wedding table numbers ( Photo by D’arcy Benincosa)

(Photo by D’arcy Benincosa)

Dinner menus can be placed at each individual seat, or you could print one or two to place in the center of the table, or you could have this printed on a large sign and placed where everyone can see it! This will depend on the style and overall vibe or your wedding, but you want to make sure that people know what their eating, one way or the other. Make sure to list the ingredients just as your caterer has, and run the final proof by them to “ok” before going to print. If you want to add the wine being served, that’s always nice, but not a must. Your servers can let guests know verbally. Also, for dessert, you can put something simple like “wedding cake” or “assorted sweets”, or you can go into as much detail as you like! Lastly, it’s nice to include your names and the wedding date somewhere on here.

If you’re having a signature cocktail (or a few!) you’ll definitely want to print up a few bar menus to let guests know all about it. One or two menus for each bar should do the trick, but make sure to have some sort of stand for them or a frame.

If you’re doing a dessert bar, you may want to get labels printed for each item, but since these are usually laid out on a table for guests to easily see and identify, we tell clients that dessert menus or labels are optional.

(Photos by Heather Waraksa)

(Photo by Heather Waraksa)

Additional Paper
Depending on what you’ve decided to include in your wedding and the layout of your venue, you may want to consider adding these to your list!

If you’ve decided to do welcome bags for your out of town guests, it’s always nice to include a note from you and your partner, an itinerary for the weekend and possibly a map.

Are you doing favors at the end of the night? If so, you may want to include a note on them with either a thank you to your guests, or a description of some sort. For instance, if your handing out cookies baked with your secret family recipe, that’s a fun fact to share with guests!

Is it hard to find the bathroom at your venue, or do you want to give guests some extra help finding the cocktail hour or reception? You may want to include some directional signage around the venue to help direct traffic :).

Photo by Heather Waraksa

(Photo by Heather Waraksa)

Once you’ve decided on all the pieces you want to include on your on-site paper list, make sure to check our easy timeline for all of your wedding paper (including save the dates and invitations) plus a quick guide to your printing options and which ones work best for each piece. You can download that HERE!

We love talking paper, so let us know you have any additional questions in the comments!

Teissia + Alia

PS: Find more wedding planning tips using The Firefly Method here:
How to use Pinterest to create a wedding design

How to send gorgeous wedding invitations without breaking the bank
3 ways to put your wedding planning on AUTOPILOT

Creating and curating your guest list
How to create a wedding budget
3 steps to start wedding planning like a pro