We think it’s important to create a cohesive event “concept” for your wedding. Some people may use the term “theme” but we don’t really love the associations made with that word, so let’s call it “creating a cohesive event concept.”
Some couples become leery when we bring up the need for an event concept. Often they mistakenly think we are talking about a cheesy prom theme like “Love Under the Stars.” We assure you, this is not the case! Creating a concept for your wedding really means coming up with something that is unique to you as a couple; something that is presented to your guests at every turn. It can be as simple as a color scheme, a custom monogram, or a specific pattern set. The most effective way to introduce a concept into your wedding and have it play out from start to finish is through printed details.
Once you have selected your wedding date and location you are able to let those two details inspire your concept. If you’ve chosen a rustic, outdoor location, take note of the flora and fauna that surrounds your venue and choose colors, patterns and textures that speak to it. The same applies to a wedding taking place in an urban loft space or chic city hotel. The use of clean lines, colors and a modern patterns in your pre-wedding printed items gives your guests a little taste of what is to come and will help build the excitement for your big day.
So, what do we mean by “printed details?” We are not just talking about your save-the-dates and invitations … Oh no, this goes much deeper than that, although they are the perfect place to start. Depending on your interests, budget and personality, consider a fun mailing just before your guests’ arrival. Perhaps that’s a little letter or note to get them excited. Include some details about the ceremony and reception venue. Tell them about the local restaurants, where to get a great spa treatment, or who has the best cocktail!
When it comes to your guests’ arrivals be sure to welcome them in style. Depending on budget this can be as simple as a welcome letter presented at check in, or a fabulous swag bag with treats that represent your style and personalities.
If you’re letting the small details stand out in print, as we suggest, this is the time to let them start shining. Programs, place cards and menu cards are not the only way to wow your guests with print. We are big fans of signage for events. Make signage (large and small) interesting, eye catching and fun. Highlight your sweet treats, favors, coffee stations, popcorn bars, or anything your beautifully creative mind can come up with.
- Personalized napkins designed by Courtney Callahan. Photo by Belen at Orange 2 Photo.
Consider parting gifts or treats to thank your guests for making an effort, traveling and spending a great deal of money to celebrate with you (let’s face it, it does cost guests a lot of money to attend a wedding).
As for your reception, there are a countless number of ways to use printed details throughout the night. If you’ve chosen to have a traditional, seated dinner for your guests, one the more obvious print item needs you’ll need are place cards. We admittedly love this small but important detail! There are so many different ways a place card can look, feel, be presented … It may seem silly, but we look forward to being inspired by them at every event we produce! You can easily take whatever printed details you’ve used on your invitations and ceremony programs and pull a piece of it onto traditional, small tent cards. If you’ve offered guests a choice of entrée, don’t forget to somehow indicate each guest’s selection on their individual place card. This in itself is a fun way to keep your theme going! We absolutely love the tiny animal that was stamped in the upper right corner of one of our recent couple’s place cards that indicated a chicken, fish or vegetarian dish (a small heart indicated a vegetarian dish).
For couples who are either working with a tight space (not enough room in the venue to display their place cards) or are going for a more non-traditional vibe, there is always the option of a seating chart instead of place cards. Instead of having several small cards printed with your theme of choice, show guests to their seats via a creative, well produced seating chart that fits in with your theme. The more creative, the better! We love the idea of having the seating chart professionally painted onto a vintage, framed mirror, a chalkboard, or just about anything you can imagine!
Your custom print details definitely don’t have to end with place cards or a fun seating chart; depending on your venue, guests might need more direction than just to their assigned table. Sometimes, directional signage to things like your cocktail hour location, dinner and dancing location, restrooms, bars, etc. might be helpful (or just plain fun) for your guests. Or, perhaps you’ve selected some yummy cocktail hour bites and beverages that you’d like to call attention to with menu signs. Keep this in mind during any walk-through appointments you have with your venue, and take the opportunity to create fun signage that will further enhance the theme you have going on.
Let’s not forget table décor – just like place cards, we’ve been inspired by a wide array of table numbers and names. Whatever your preference, numerical or something unique to you as a couple, keep it in line with your theme in order to keep the tone you’ve set in tact when guests are seated. We also adore a beautifully crafted menu card that slips into or sits on top of each guest’s napkin (for traditional, seated dinners of course). For couples that have chosen the food station route, creatively themed signs or individual food labels at your buffets ensure that your creative vision is seen in every corner of the room.
We used two larger menu cards on each table for this romantic terrarium wedding. Designed by Anne Benjamin from Mok Duk. Photo by Chad Husar Photography.
We think printed details are a great way to create a long lasting, cohesive concept for any event. Hopefully our ideas have inspired you! Still having trouble coming up with a theme for your big day? Our creative team at Greatest Expectations would be delighted to help you create a vision for your “I Do’s” from start to finish!