wedding stationery 101

A complete guide to all of the paper elements you might need for the big day.

We get it—wedding stationery can be confusing. What’s the difference between an escort card and a place card? Do you really need to pass out ceremony programs? Are menus necessary? To help answer those questions and so many more, we will review and provide a wedding stationery checklist of all the stationery pieces you may need before, during, and after your wedding celebration. But keep in mind that most of the items on this list are not mandatory, so pick and choose the right stationery elements to complement your overall wedding style and vibe. From welcome signs and ceremony programs to place cards and favor tags, here is everything you need to know about wedding stationery.

Ceremony and Reception essentials

Stationery for Pre-Wedding Planning

It’s important to keep your wedding guests informed about your engagement and all of your wedding plans. Create a memorable first impression with your family and friends by sending luxe wedding stationery intended to build excitement for your upcoming celebration.

Stationery Type Purpose How Many You’ll Need Where to Put It Additional Information

Engagement Announcements

Classic Date by Shirley Lin Schneider
An engagement announcement is sent out to family and friends (don’t forget to tell your closest loved ones personally first) letting them know your exciting news. This announcement may be sent out before wedding details have been solidified, especially when weddings are going to be much further in advance. During the times of COVID-19, some recently engaged couples use the announcement without knowing how or when they will be wed, but because they want to share their exciting news. Depends on how many friends you want to inform. Send engagement announcements by mail. Article: Top 25 Engagement Photo Ideas

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Save the Date Cards

Convey our Love by MC Designs
A save the date card is mailed out before the wedding invitation to announce the wedding date and location. This gives guests a jumpstart to block the date on their calendars and to start getting excited for the upcoming wedding celebrations. Depends on your proposed wedding guest list size. Send save the dates by mail. Article: Save the Date Wording & Etiquette

Article: 38 Cute and Unique Save the Date Ideas

Article: Save the Date Mistakes to Avoid

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Change the Date Cards

Meet Us In Miami by Laura Hamm
Wedding postponements and date changes sometimes happen, whether it’s an unanticipated emergency or something on a global scale like COVID-19 that impacts what group gatherings look like. Either way, sending a change the date card provides guests with the information they need to know about a new date or location, so they can reschedule travel. Should match the same total as your original order of save the date cards. Send change the date cards by mail. Article: Change the Date Card Styles

Article: COVID-19 Wedding Planning Guide

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Wedding Invitations

Gilded Palm by Melinda Denison
A wedding invitation is the formal invitation asking recipients to attend your wedding. It should provide the exact details around the time, date, and place of the wedding so guests can confirm their accommodations. Most invitations these days include a link to the couple’s wedding website for more information. They also typically include an RSVP card and an insert card. Order about 10 extra invitations above your guest list count to be safe. An invitation or two may get lost in the mail, you may think of a new guest to invite, or you may want to save some as souvenirs. Send wedding invitations by mail. Article: Wedding Invitation Wording & Etiquette

Article: How to Assemble Your Wedding Invitations

Article: Wedding Invitation Sizes

Article: Addressing Envelopes

Article: How to Use Miss Ms Mrs

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RSVP Cards

Evelyn by Nicole Walsh
RSVP cards give guests a chance to formally respond to the wedding invitation. Guests fill it out and send it back, indicating whether they can attend, if they’ll bring a plus one, and what food option they would like to select. Sometimes couples will include a spot on the RSVP card for something fun like song requests for the DJ. Order the same amount as your wedding invitations. Send RSVP cards by mail, enclosed in your wedding invitations. Shop: RSVP Cards

Insert Cards

marble majesty by Hooray Creative
Also known as “enclosure cards,” insert cards are meant to include additional information that would otherwise clutter a wedding invitation. You can add an insert card to select invites to invite special guests to an intimate ceremony before a reception, to provide directions to a wedding that’s hard to find, or even recommend hotel options. Varies by use case and purpose. Send insert cards by mail, enclosed in wedding invitations. Shop: Insert Cards


When guests arrive at your wedding venue, ceremony signage is a key part of ensuring your wedding runs smoothly and guests make it to their seats easily. Using our wedding stationery guide, you can ensure the right signage is in place and fits your wedding theme. Coordinated wedding stationery throughout your ceremony enhances the guest experience and maintains a luxe look and feel.

Stationery Type Purpose How Many You’ll Need Where to Put It Additional Information

Welcome Sign

Wedding Welcome Sign
A welcome sign is a thoughtful way to let guests know they’ve come to the right place; it’s also an opportunity to set the stylistic tone for the rest of the wedding day. 1 Display the welcome sign at the ceremony entrance and repurpose it post-ceremony at the reception entrance. It’s easy to forget this wedding stationery checklist item, so make sure to include it to set a cordial first impression. Article: Welcome Sign Ideas

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Directional Sign

Directional Sign
If your wedding venue(s) is a little tricky to locate, point guests to the various festivities with helpful directional signs to ensure they don’t get lost. Depends on your venue location. Put yourself in the shoes of one of your out-of-town guests and place a directional sign in any spot that might be potentially confusing. Shop: Directional Signs

Cards & Gifts Sign

Cards & Gifts Sign
Even though many guests will have already shipped their wedding gift to you, chances are some will bring a card and/or gift on the wedding day. Designate a station for this and display a sign so guests know where to drop them off. 1 Place this signage on a table near the ceremony venue entrance. You could also repurpose the cards and gift station later at the reception. Shop: Cards & Gifts Sign

Ceremony Program

Escort Card
A ceremony program gives guests an outline of what to expect during the ceremony and also often introduces them to your wedding party. As a general rule of thumb, you should order 75-85% of the number of guests attending. Many couples will share one program and not every guest will take one. Have your ushers offer programs as guests arrive to the ceremony; or, you can place a program on each seat (which means you might need to order more) or stack them in a tray or basket near the entrance. Article: Wedding Program Examples & What to Include

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“Chair Signs”

Reserved Seating Cards
If you’ve decided to reserve front-row seats for wedding VIPs (parents, immediate family members, grandparents, readers, etc.), then it’s helpful to designate their saved seats with "reserved" chair signs. As many as needed. You could indicate reserved rows by hanging a "reserved" sign from each of the chairs adjacent to the ceremony aisle. Or, you could indicate specific reserved seats by displaying a card with the guest’s name on their assigned chair. Shop: “Chair Signs”

Stationery For the Reception

The primary purpose of reception wedding stationery is to streamline logistics like finding your reception dinner table or locating the cocktail menu. However, it’s also important that this signage is beautiful and creatively displayed to fit your wedding color scheme and theme.

Stationery Type Purpose How Many You’ll Need Where to Put It Additional Information

Seating Chart

Seating Chart
A sign or display that indicates each guest’s name and assigned table number.

Or, instead of a large sign, you could display individual escort cards (see more below).
(If you have a very large guest list, then it’s a good idea to have two signs to help with traffic flow.)
Display the seating chart at cocktail hour and/or near the reception entrance. Article: How to Creating Your Wedding Seating Plan

Article: Wedding Seating Chart Ideas

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Escort Card

Escort card
Escort cards (also sometimes referred to as "seating cards") direct guests to their assigned reception table. Each card is printed with the guest’s name and table assignment. Escort cards are typically one per guest, couple, or family. If you would like to seat guests at assigned tables but give them the freedom to choose their specific seat at their table, then escort cards are all you need. Escort cards are typically displayed on a table near the reception entrance. Be sure there is easy access to the table and cards, which guests will browse and pick up on their way to the reception room. Arrange the cards in alphabetical order by last name. Article: How to Create Unique Escort Card Displays

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Table Number Card

Table number
Table number cards are usually displayed at the center of each table to help guests identify their assigned dinner table. But you don’t have to stick to numerals: Personalize your tables by naming them after meaningful details, like cities you’ve traveled to together, streets you’ve lived on, or favorite books or restaurants. One per table Display the sign in the center of the table so that it’s visible to all. It’s also a good idea to make them double-sided, if possible, so guests can spot them from all directions. Shop: Table Number Cards

Place Card

Place card
Place cards let guests know which is their designated seat at a table. One for each guest Display place cards on the folded napkin (which sits atop the dinner plate at each place setting) or on the table, just above the dinner plate. Shop: Place Cards


Menu card
Menu cards are a helpful way to communicate wedding-meal details to your guests so they know what to expect. Also, guests with dietary restrictions will appreciate knowing the ingredients so they can plan accordingly. But don’t feel like you need to list every ingredient; just provide a short list of the main ingredients, including foods that are common food allergies, such as nuts, dairy, shellfish, and gluten.

You can also order or create separate menu cards for cocktail hour (listing the beverages and hors d’oeuvres that will be served) and dessert.
One per table or one per guest; for a buffet-style meal service, order a small card for each dish. For cocktail bar menus, place one on each end of the bar. Display the dinner menu in the center of each table so that everyone can easily peruse; or display individual menu cards on each place setting (placed atop or tucked in each napkin). For a buffet-style meal service, place a small card next to each dish describing the ingredients. Shop: Menus

Favor Tag or Sticker

Favor sticker
If you’re sending guests home with a parting gift or treat, affix a favor tag on each one expressing your thanks. One per guest Tie a tag or affix a sticker to each wedding favor; place one at each place setting or display the favors near the reception exit. Article: Creative Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Want

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