We calligraphers spend a lot of time addressing envelopes and designing invitations. Many couples choose not to focus as much time and energy on their wedding day paper elements. And, that’s a shame to me. These elements are the memorable, special pieces that send your ceremony and reception above and beyond the normal realm of beauty. Also, as you might learn, they can be very practical and helpful for your guests.

Wedding Programs

The wedding program is often the first day of paper element that your guests will see. Make sure the program matches the rest of your day-of designs very well. I can help you with the design, and even brainstorm a few ideas with you. Fans are popular for outdoor weddings, and a classic bi-fold program is elegant and effective. But, that’s not all! You might have the program's printed on a bag of rice for guests to throw. Or, you might go paperless and have a sign with the ceremony information!

I won’t go too much into the different customs because they vary fairly widely from ceremony to ceremony, but I can tell you one thing: it is always helpful to list the wedding party and order of events as a courtesy for your guests.

Escort vs. Place Cards

Escort Cards take your guest where they are supposed to go. A couple might have a fun display of all the cards, listed alphabetically, at the entrance to the reception. They give the table numbers alongside the guest’s full names: “The Clarke Family- 6” or “Anna Peterson - 2” or “Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lawson - 12” or “Mr. Frank Lee and Ms. Eloise Richards - 4”

A seating list/sign serves the same function. You probably wouldn't want both. But having one or the other is very helpful to guests.

Place Cards in Classic Black on White

Place Cards in Classic Black on White

Seating Chart Display

Seating Chart Display

Place Cards are the ones already at the table. If you have escort cards or a seating chart, the place card might only have guests’ first names. Place cards are very useful for caterers if there are several options for a plated meal. Color or an illustration can indicate witch entree the guest is supposed to have.

Having both adds a degree of formality to the event, but is not necessary. A buffet dinner might only have escort cards or a seating chart, for example.


Not all couples provide menus. And, that’s just fine. Often, for plated dinners, the guest has already chosen their option with their RSVP. For buffet or family style dinners, a menu can be very helpful. If you have guests with dietary restrictions, the menu might provide helpful insights into what they can and cannot eat. Not to mention, they can add beautiful styling to the tables or to the reception space with signage.

Favors and Thank You Cards

Photo by Audrey Rose Photography

Photo by Audrey Rose Photography

Some couples choose to include favors and thank you cards at the guest’s seat or on a table to take after the reception. These are a great way to remind your guests how much you appreciate and love them. Sometimes, they include a paper note, sometimes not. But, it’s the little elements like well thought out favors and thank you notes that make your guests feel extra honored to be a part of your wedding day.

Do you have any more questions about day of paper elements? Get in touch! Learn a little more about Why Calligraphy is important. Thanks for stopping by.