What does ‘on-the-day wedding stationery’ mean?
You come across a lot of jargon when you’re planning a wedding.
People bang on about wedding breakfasts when they mean dinner, favours when they mean gifts, and cummerbunds which… who even knows what that means?
But on-the-day stationery is one of the worst offenders; you know what on-the-day means, you understand what stationery is, but together it’s utterly nonsensical.
Are you giving everyone wedding-themed pencil cases? Or tiny notepads with the date on them, like hotels keep by the phone?!
It’s not quite that sensible. On-the-day wedding stationery refers to signs and paper pieces used at the wedding itself, as opposed to save the date cards and invitations, which are needed before, and thank you cards, which are sent after.
What is a welcome sign?
A welcome sign is a sign you position at the entrance of your venue which lets people know they’re in the right place – and gets them excited for what’s about to happen!
Why should I get a welcome sign?
In some cases, welcome signs are just practical; if your venue is hard to find from the nearest car park or if your ceremony is in one part of a larger building, a welcome sign is a good idea to make sure people don’t get lost.
But, more broadly, welcome signs get people excited.
It marks the beginning of a memorable day. People rarely walk past a welcome sign. They point it out to one another. They pose for selfies with it, the same way they would with the title sign of a West End show.
It tells them to expect something a little special from the day.
Orders of service
What is an order of service?
An order of service is like a theatre programme for your wedding.
They’re given to guests at the ceremony, traditionally by ushers or groomsmen as guests enter the venue, though it’s more common now for the wedding party to lay one out every few seats on the chairs or pews before the ceremony. Guests still get them as they take their seats, without causing a traffic jam!
They lay out what will happen through the ceremony or even across the full day.
Why should I get orders of service?
An order of service tells people what to expect.
If you’re having a religious ceremony with hymns you’d like your guests to sing, an order of service is the perfect place to give them the lyrics.
If you’re having a humanist celebration that many of your guests may not be familiar with, choosing to light a unity candle or receive a ring blessing, an order of service gives you space to explain its significance to you. (So you don’t have to tell everyone, over and over!)
They can extend beyond the ceremony, too; many couples use them to give their guests a rough timeline of the day, too.
While no one expects a wedding to run to exact times, knowing roughly when meals will be served helps guests with medical needs and parents of young children plan out the day – and enjoy it, rather than being anxious.
But orders of service aren’t just about what to expect – it’s a way for you to talk directly to each of your guests, right at the start of your day, and the perfect way to give them any information they might need to know.
You can tell them you’re having a phone-free wedding, so they’re not leaping into the aisle like paparazzi as you make your entrance.
Or as a way to give them the wifi details if you don’t mind a plugged wedding!
And it’s a chance to introduce everyone to your wedding party, and your partner, or even to each other! Last year, I made a yearbook style order of service, with a little bio on every guest, to help break the ice between people from different parts of the couple’s life.
But even if you don’t want to go quite that far, orders of service can give your friends a jumping off point to start chatting – and a wonderful souvenir of your day to take home with them.
Order of the day signs
What is an order of the day sign?
An order of the day sign lays out the rough timings of your wedding, telling your guests when you expect them to eat, hear speeches, see the first dance, and head home.
Positioned in your reception venue, it’s something all your guests can see and plan the day around – including evening guests who won’t have been able to pick up an order of service.
Why should I get an order of the day sign?
No one expects a wedding to be organised to the minute, but it’s useful for your guests to know the rough times things will be happening, to plan around.
If the day starts at 11am and you’re not serving food until 4pm, parents of young children, people with blood sugar issues, and the perpetually snack-y can plan for that.
And a rough outline of the big events – like speeches and your first dance – is useful, even if it’s all down with ‘ish’. People may need to leave before the very end of the night to relieve their babysitters or catch a train. If they know when your plan for the night, they can work around it and make sure they don’t miss anything important.
It may be worth getting an order of the day sign even if you’re printing your timeline on your orders of service, to make sure everyone has a chance to see it.
What is a table plan?
If you’re having a sit down meal, you’ll want a table plan.
A table plan is a large sign at the entrance to the dining room that tells people where they’re sitting, getting everyone organised quickly.
The alternative to a table plan is escort cards; rather than having one big sign, every guest has their own card with their name and table number on them. This is a great way of giving guests favours at the same time – since the cards need to be attached to something! – and it causes less of a bottleneck in the entrance to the dining room, since people can pick up their name and read the card as they walk forward, rather than stop to read a sign.
Why should I get a table plan?
Whether you prefer a table plan sign or escort cards, if you’re having a sit down meal, you’ll want to have something that tells people where to sit.
In fact, your caterers may require you to organise where everyone is sitting if your guests are ordering their meals in advance, so they know where to take each plate.
If you’re having something more casual, like a buffet, you don’t need to have a table plan, table signs, or place cards to organise your guests – though you may want to explain with a smaller sign or with a line on your order of the day sign that guests can sit where they’d like; people are used to assigned seating at big events.
Table name signs
What is a table name sign?
Used alongside table plans and escort cards, a table sign is used to display the name or number of each table at your reception dinner, so your guests know where to go.
Why should I get table name signs?
Table signs don’t just organise your guests, they’re an opportunity to make your wedding more unique, with nods to your hobbies and your history as a couple.
Since each table needs a name anyway, naming them after something important to you and your partner is a great way to bring in more of your theme or nod to something you both love, without it feeling forced or out of place, even in a more traditional or formal celebration.
Earlier this year, I helped some professional film makers with their wedding; they named each table after their favourite films and had each guest work out which table they were at by giving them a quote from that film on an escort card.
It added an element of fun – and a good ice breaker! – to the day, and brought something that was a huge part of their lives into the celebration.
I’ve also worked with a couple who named their tables after mountains they’d climbed together – using pictures from their hikes as the table signs – and another who used names of places from their weekend trips together; the names were important to the couple, and explaining why on the signs brought something unique and personal into the day. Their guests had the chance to learn a little more about the people they were there to honour, and the whole day felt bespoke – as it should.
Your wedding day is your wedding day. It shouldn’t be like anyone else’s. Bring your personality into it every place you can.
What is a place card?
Place cards, sometimes called name cards or name place cards, are created for every guest attending the sit down meal at your wedding reception.
They’re placed on the table in front of each chair, telling each guest exactly where they should sit.
Why should I get place cards?
If you’re having a more relaxed day, you may decide a table plan and table signs are enough, and let people choose where they want to sit by themselves after that.
Though they can still be useful to give each guest their favour – especially if the favour is something that might ‘accidentally’ be claimed by someone who already got theirs, like a cupcake or a box of sweets – or to remind each guest what they ordered for their meal.
Place cards are a way to keep things organised. (And a chance to make your tables look gorgeous!)
What is a menu?
Menus are part of each place setting for more formal wedding receptions, explaining what will be served for each course.
If guests haven’t chosen their own meals – or if they’re choosing their meals on the day, restaurant-style – a few menus are usually placed on each table to help guests decide.
Why should I get menus?
If you’re serving a buffet or a family-style meal, where platters are left on each table for guests to help themselves to, it’s worth having a menu explaining the ingredients and allergens. You don’t need to give each guest their own, but having two or three per table will make sure people aren’t slowing down the caterers with questions and special requests.
If your guests already picked their meals in advance when they RSVP’d, menus aren’t a requirement – though it might be worth putting their chosen meal options on their place card, so they remember what they ordered!
On-the-day wedding stationery
On-the-day stationery are the pieces you need to organise your guests and make your day run smoothly – while looking gorgeous. They’re the pieces that carry your theme across your entire wedding, matching your invitations and wedding website.
Check out our ranges of on-the-day wedding stationery, or get in touch if you’d like to get something made for your wedding for a free, no-obligation, no-calling-you-ten-times-a-day-afterward quote.