How Big Should a Wedding Menu Be?

Of all the things you have to consider when planning a wedding reception, the size of the menu should be low on your list. But you still have to decide…

 

How big should a wedding menu be? One side of A5 is sufficient for a simple menu (three starters, three mains and three desserts). If you want a picture of the couple, a frontispiece that features the couples’ names, or a design, then a 4-sided A5 menu is suitable.

Which of these designs you go for is up to you. It depends on many menu items the kitchen will let your guests choose from, whether you want to include pictures and designs, and more.

How Big Should a Wedding Menu Be?

There are lots of things you have to consider when thinking of the size of your wedding menu. In some circumstances, you won’t need a menu at all, for example if your guests have decided what they want in advance. The same goes if you’re serving a buffet.
But more often than not, you’ll need a menu. Most couples opt for a single side of A5, which is more than enough to feature both the menu choices and any design you choose. But if your menu has lots of items on it, you might need two sides of A5.

The main issue is if the menu items aren’t easily legible. Certain typefaces (like swirly, elegant wedding ones) can be difficult to read when they’re small. So, print off or order a sample before you order your wedding menus to see how easy they are to read.
So, that’s the short answer. The long answer is that there are lots of things to think of when you’re designing your wedding menus.

Wedding Menu Formats

There are three formats that wedding menus commonly come in. The first of these is a simple A5 sheet with a front side and a back side. It can be printed with the couples’ names on the front and the menu choices on the back.

Alternatively, you can have a four sided menu made from an A4 page folded in half. Lengthways, and the menu will be thin but tall (like drinks menus sometimes are at menus). This is compact and effective with a nice design.

You could also choose an A5 size menu with four sides. This is made from an A4 sheet folded in half, so that each side is the size of an A5 page. On the outside front and back, you could have a large design. You could have the menu spread out over both of the inside pages. This is perfect if you have more menu items, or you want to feature a large photograph of the couple, or a large design.

But which should you pick? And do you even need a wedding menu? Here’s what you need to think of…

Does The Menu Feature The Couples’ Names?

Something that many wedding menus have is a front page which features the couples’ names, perhaps plus the date of the wedding and any other details the couple wants to include. This normally takes up an entire page on its own, so that it’s the main focus of the menu when anybody first sees it.

How Many Items Should You Have on a Wedding Menu?

The size of your wedding menu will be dictated by what’s on it. And taking up more space than anything else will be all the items that your guests will have to choose from. So, before you think about the size of the menu, you have to pick the menu items being served at your reception.

There aren’t normally many items on a wedding menu. Venues like to keep it that way, because the kitchen will have to cook lots of food all at once for all of your guests. If they each ordered something different, the chefs would have the impossible task of cooking lots of individual meals rather than making anything in bulk (e.g. soups and pasta).

As such, there shouldn’t be too many menu items. Three starters, three mains and three desserts is what most couples go for. This can all comfortably fit on one side of A5, plus a design.

What Design Should You Use for a Wedding Menu?

Most couples opt for a simple design for their wedding menus. This keeps printing costs down and makes the menu look elegant. But you can opt for whatever kind of design suits you and your wedding day.

Basic designs normally only include a simple border. You can opt for a line border or something more elegant if you like, but this won’t mean you need a bigger menu.
Of course, you may want a bigger, more detailed design. A big geometric heart, an anchor, a large photo… Anything you like! If that’s something you’d like, then you’ll need a front page. This means your menu will have to be a little bigger. You could have the picture or design at the top of the page with the couples’ names at the bottom. Or, you could have the couples’ names on the front and the picture on the inside page.

What this means is that you have options. But you shouldn’t need more than a four-sided A4 menu.

How Much Space Do Your Guests Have?

There’s no point picking the biggest, best menu you can if your guests don’t have any space at the table. Some venues have large tables; others have smaller tables, so they can accept more guests. The more guests a venue can accept, the more money they can make, so most will pack in as many tables as possible!

If that’s the case, there may not be much room on each table. A regular wedding table will have a full place with a large plate, a place card, and cutlery including steak knives and soup spoons, so there’s already limited space. And most wedding tables have centrepieces, candles and so on as well.

This means that space is at a real premium. A normal-sized menu may be too big to sit comfortably on the table without being in people’s way. Consult with your venue to see how much room each guest will have so that you know exactly how big everything should be, from the place cards to the menu.

Do You Need a Wedding Menu?

Of course, all of this might be for nothing. Many wedding parties get by without having a wedding menu at all. Whether you need one or not depends on what kind of wedding reception you’re having. So, why might you not need one? Let’s find out…

Have The Guests Ordered in Advance?

Many wedding parties have the guests order the food they want in advance. Deciding the menu and allowing guests to pick what they want in advance has lots of advantages:

  • The kitchen can make sure they have exactly what they need in advance, so they don’t run out of anything.
  • The kitchen can plan what they’re going to cook when, so that nobody’s food is late (provided the kitchen staff know what they’re doing!)
  • Last but not least… You won’t need to print a menu.
    If the guests have already ordered, you won’t need to print off a menu at all. While it would be wise to remind guests what they’ve ordered before they sit down, they won’t need to choose again.
Is The Restaurant Using Their Own Menu?

Some venues/restaurants have a set menu for wedding guests to use. That’s especially the case if the venue regularly hosts wedding parties. They’ll have a particular menu that they give to all wedding receptions, and the chefs will be used to making everything on this menu to time and to a high standard. This is common practise.

Of course, not all venues do this. So, talk with the venue’s manager. Because if this is something that your venue does, you won’t need to print your own menus. They’ll have their own menus they’ve had made that they reuse. Or, they might print off their menus with the couples’ names on them. This will save you lots of time and expense.

Is The Meal a Buffet?

Another circumstance in which you may not need a menu is if the meal is a buffet. If that’s the case, the guests won’t need to choose what they want from a menu. And normally if a restaurant/venue has a buffet on, they’ll identify which food is which with a small sign next to each serving tray.

But in most cases, you’ll need one menu on the table to tell help people find what they want. In that case, you will need to design a menu. Consult with the venue beforehand to see whether you’ll need one.

And of course, if you’re not having a wedding reception, you won’t need one at all! If there’s one thing you learn from all this, it’s that consulting your venue is the most important step in this process… So, do so as soon as possible!