When it comes to paper goods you have your essentials (invitations and save the dates) and your optionals (escort cards—not necessary if you're not having assigned seating—and menus). Of course, we love escort or place cards regardless of whether you have assigned seating—after all, it's the details that make your wedding all the more personalized and special! We feel the same way about menus; although they may not be a necessity, having a tablescape that has that extra touch (either individually on place settings or one larger one for each table) does make a difference, not just for your photos, but for your guests' experience.
One great thing about menus is that you can have a little more fun with them than you may have been able to have with your invitations. Understandably, many couples choose to have their invitations be a little more classic and understated, but your menus can be whimsical, colorful, and louder. Menus are also a great way to insert a little color to your table if you've been a bit more conservative with the rest of your color palette. We love a good watercolor menu, for instance.
Plus, many menus can double as reception decor (double duty decor is a great budget saving tip!). Not into having menus at every place setting, or don't have it in your budget? Try having your stationary designer (or perhaps an artsy friend) calligraph a large piece of plexiglass and put it on an easel near the front of your reception space. And don't forget about bar menus—setting up a couple on your bars with fun illustrations next to each signature cocktail is a great way to insert you and your partner's personality into the decor.
To get you inspired, we searched through Etsy and found some of our favorite menus of all different styles. Enjoy!