We asked our go-to Scottish wedding planner, Mercedes of Scarlett and Bell, to share her thoughts on on-the-day wedding stationery. She is wise.
One of the biggest (and most overlooked) design and logistical elements of a wedding is the on-the-day wedding stationery. This is where you are going to tell your guests:
- what is happening and when
- who is taking part in the ceremony
- what they will be eating and drinking
- where they are going to perch themselves for around 2 1/2 hours while they patiently listen to family anecdotes before inhaling some charcuterie…..
These are crucial details. Your guests need them. They need to be able to find them. They need to be able to SEE them.
We’ve all crowded around the opening of a marquee or dining room waiting for that guy in front who got a little too friendly with the Pimms station and can’t identify any of the tiny swirly calligraphical letters that make up his name. Looks cute, but maybe not so practical. So, here are a few suggestions to help your guests be winners at your weddings.
When writing up the wedding day timeline, one point my clients find most surprising is the 30 minutes I set aside for guests to find their seats. That’s right, three-zero minutes.
You have to assume there will inevitably be a bottleneck queue (think Paperchase at Christmas) as everyone lines up to read and re-read every table allocation before they find themselves. They will be trying to find their names while being grilled by Aunt Margaret about how they know the happy couple. It’s a challenge.
We can’t really blame the guests or Aunt Margaret. It’s the first time they’ve seen the seating chart, and there are probably lots of names to skim through.
Solution? The one I most often recommend is to have multiple copies of your seating plan. Have one on display during the drinks reception and then a couple more by the dining area entrance. This should hopefully half the time it takes to get everyone into their seat.
An alternative to your classic seating plan is the American staple – escort cards. This can actually be a great way of combining your table plan, place names, and a token offering such as favours, toast drinks, or table flowers.
You wanted calligraphy place names, but it wasn’t in your budget? Reallocating your table plan budget allows this to happen. All you have to do is add the table name or number somewhere on that card or print the name and table number on a label – then you can get creative…
-Add to bottles of your favourite home-made hot sauce (an excellent favour idea)
-Attach to the first drink (tequila shot? Bottle of your favourite IPA?), or onto the stem of the toasting glass of fizz
-Another version I’ve seen has been the escort card attached to a little bud vase of flowers, these look beautiful and make for a lovely tablescape.
You can have the escort cards on their own (so many display options with this!), or you could also display a table layout (without names) for an added opportunity to inject some awesome design into the day.
Keep it Simple
Keep it clear, keep it clean. Make sure you avoid hard-to-read fonts and tiny typeface, fussy backgrounds, and heavily textured material. That’s not to say you have to have a dull sans serif if you’re more a swirly calligraphy fan, nor in-your-face BOLD TYPE when clean nordic minimalism floats your boat. You just want to give your guests the best chance to quickly find their table and move on. And on the topic of clarity, if you’re numbering your tables, try to make it as coherent as possible. Avoid the utter chaos caused by Table 1 being between Table 7 and Table 23.
If you have a wedding website (you should), it’s a great idea to post a digital version of your table plan as soon as you have it. Chances are your designer will ask for this two weeks before your wedding, which is also when you’ll submit your final guest list to your caterer and venue, so it should be pretty safe to post the table plans without having to make too many changes closer to the time. Your guests will be checking the website for travel instructions and timelines in that last week, so you can assume at least half your guests will have an idea of where they’re sitting before they pull up on the day. It’s also a good idea to give your day-of suppliers access to the website in advance also.
Who says a seating plan has to be split by tables? You use this as an organisational tool for escort cards, or alternatively list your guests in alphabetical order on a table plan-type fixture, perhaps alongside a table layout, identifying the table they are placed at. As long as it is clear, your guests will speed through the seating plan and plop themselves down in no time. Oh, and use your guest’s actual names. Multiple “Mum’s” and “Granny’s,” and avoid nicknames (or pop them in brackets after their real name if you really want).
Cover photo by Claire Fleck Photography
To learn more about Scarlett and Bell CLICK HERE
To learn more about our on-the-day wedding stationery service CLICK HERE