A Guide to the Paper Goods Featured During Your Nuptials

Read over our checklist of the various paper products you'll likely include in your big day.

Though we’re well on our way to a paperless world, modern weddings still incorporate many paper-based elements into the design and décor of the day. Whether you’re receiving an official save the date in the mail or gazing at an artful dinner menu at the reception, some of the most pertinent items of your nuptials will come in the form of paper goods.

Most couples are aware of the more recognizable aspects, such as invites and thank-you cards, but often forget the smaller details that really make a wedding shine. Below, we’ve provided a checklist of the paper goods you’ll most likely need for the duration of your engagement and nuptials – and even after you’re back from your honeymoon. Be sure you check them all off!

Before the Wedding:

-   Pre-wedding celebrations. This is a little tricky, as you do not host your own prenuptial parties. However, if a friend or family member is kind enough to host an engagement party, wedding shower, or something of the like for you and your partner, they’ll need to send out invitations! Per etiquette, these should be sent out on paper. The exception to the rule is the bachelor and bachelorette soirées, which are far less formal affairs. Typically, a digital invitation – or a well-organized & private social media “event” or group – will do the trick.

-   Save the dates. Though these are by no means a requirement, they’re great to have if you’re hosting a destination wedding or you’re inviting many out-of-town guests – especially if they’re out of the state or the country.

-   Invitation suites. This encompasses the two envelopes, the invitation itself, the reception card, additional directions or maps, and the reply card. Click here to find out how to assemble your invitation suite.

For the Wedding:

-   Decorative signage. These are the sweet and sentimental signs – entrance signs, quotes, sweet thoughts, etc. – that bedeck both your ceremony and reception.

-   Informative signage. These items are there to inform and include “unplugged ceremony” signs, directions, and any other information – not denoted in your invitations or programs – that you and your partner believe is pertinent.

-   Guest book. Should you so choose, you can display a traditional guest book, or even smaller guest cards, during the ceremony or cocktail hour.

-   Ceremony programs. These are also not a mandatory good, but they can be helpful if your vow exchange includes themes and practices that some guests may be unfamiliar with – especially for an interfaith or religious-based ceremony.

-   Escort cards/place cards. Whether you present attendees with escort cards – a collection of cards at the front of your reception with each person’s name and table number – or place cards – signage already placed at their specified seat at the reception, you’ll typically be utilizing paper.

-   Table numbers. Denote each table's number – or given name – clearly and visibly. We recommend a frame!

-   Menus. If you’d like to feature your culinary options to each individual guest, menus can be included at each place setting.

-   Buffet food descriptions. If you’re providing a buffet set-up for your friends and family, be sure to clearly identify your fare.

After the Wedding:

-   Thank-you cards. Per etiquette, sending out physical thank-you cards to your attendees should be a priority after you return from your honeymoon.

Read up on the dos and don'ts of wedding invitations, see nine creative displays for your escort cards, and get inspired by artful menu designs.

Opening photo by Arden Photography

Authored by: Megan Simpson