Wedding Planning Guide

wedding-day stationery

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

Ceremony and Reception essentials

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 created this guide to all of the stationery pieces you might need for your wedding day. But keep in mind that most of the items on this list are not mandatory—in fact, most of them are optional or can be done as a DIY project—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-day stationery.

For the Ceremony

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.

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.

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 On a table near the ceremony venue entrance; you could also repurpose the cards and gift station later at the reception.

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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"Reserved" Seating Cards

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" row or 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.

Wedding Exit Toss Tag or Sticker

Favor Tag
Will your guests be showering you with rice at the end of the ceremony? If you're providing tossing bags to guests, attach a tag or sticker printed with something like "Toss Me!" or "Toss and Shout Hooray!" so guests know what to do. One for each guest Fill bags or small envelopes with tossing elements (rice, petals, lavender, confetti, etc.) and affix a printed tag or sticker; place them on each ceremony seat or display a basket at the ceremony entrance. Shop: Wedding Exit Toss Tags or Stickers

For the Reception

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

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 the reception 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 describing the dish next to each display. 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: 57 Creative Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Want

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