Planning a wedding is stressful enough. You’ve got your hands full thinking about seating plans, outfits, timings, music, and food and then suddenly someone pipes up with “What about wedding menu cards?”
Wedding menu cards are an important element of wedding stationery that you can’t forget about during your wedding planning journey. These cards tell your invitees what food will be on offer at your wedding. They’re absolutely essential if you’re allowing your guests to choose their meal – but even if you’re not, it’s still a good idea to let your guests know what they’ll be eating in advance.
In this guide, we’ll explain everything from what menu cards are to how to use them, and why you really need them. We’ll also give you a rough guide as to how much they’ll cost, and provide some examples of beautiful menu cards that might be up your street.
What are Wedding Menu Cards?
First things first, what exactly are wedding menu cards? There seems to be so much wedding stationary to think about, that it’s hard to keep track of what is what.
Simply enough, menu cards are small pieces of cardstock which inform your guests of the food that will be on offer at your wedding breakfast. They’re usually somewhere around A6 in size, though they may be slightly bigger or smaller, or square rather than rectangular.
A wedding menu card may be flat, or folded like a greetings card. They come in a wide range of styles and designs, enabling you to choose one that perfectly matches your wedding invitations.
The whole point of a wedding menu card is:
1) To get guests excited about the food
2) To inform guests of what’s in the food, so that they can make you aware in advance if there’s something they can’t eat (due to allergies, dietary requirements, or food aversions)
Traditionally, wedding breakfasts feature a set menu. This means that there is only one starter, main course and dessert on offer, so each guest eats the same food.
However, these days, it’s becoming more and more common for brides and grooms to offer a choice of meals to their wedding guests. For example, you might offer a fish dish, a meat dish, and a vegetarian or vegan option.
If you’re doing this, then your menu card will also serve an important purpose as part of your invitation suite. It will allow your guests to peruse their options and get back to you with their menu choices before the RSVP deadline.
What Do You Do with Wedding Menu Cards?
Wedding menu cards are usually displayed at each place setting, or in the centre of each table. The goal of these cards is to show your guests what they’ll be eating, or what’s available for them to eat.
However, you may also send out wedding menu cards with your wedding invitations, as part of what’s known as an invitation suite. This is completely optional if you’re serving a set menu, but it’s pretty necessary if you’re offering guests a choice of food. They’ll need to see a menu before they order, just like they would at a restaurant!
Why Do You Need Wedding Menu Cards?
Many couples, when planning their wedding, wonder: are wedding menus necessary? If you’re looking to cut down your wedding budget, you may be tempted to skip menu cards altogether.
While you can technically do this, we wouldn’t recommend it. Having a place where the food is written down will be helpful for everyone – you, your guests, and your catering team. If guests aren’t told what the food will be in advance, they’ll be phoning you up and asking, or pestering the wait staff on the day to explain what’s in every course. It’s just simpler and less hassle to have menu cards, whether you send them with your invitations or simply place them on the table.
And of course, if guests are going to be given a choice of what they eat, menu cards are nothing short of essential. Otherwise, how are they going to know what their options are?
If you want to really work up your guests’ appetite, displaying a menu card at every guest’s place setting will remind them of what’s coming and get them excited about the food. Reading the delicious descriptions of the meal they’re expecting in anticipation is an experience that many wedding guests look forward to.
What to Include on a Wedding Menu Card
Wedding menu cards can be used regardless of what type of food you’re serving - whether it’s a sit-down, three course meal, a buffet, or a BBQ (or anything in between).
Simply write a brief description of each food that’s going to be offered, just as you’d find on the menu at a restaurant. Make it clear which options are starters, main courses, and desserts.
On the menu, be sure to clearly mark:
1) Which options are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free – usually indicated by a symbol such as V, VE and GF
2) If any courses contain any of the “big 8” allergens: milk, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nut, peanut, wheat, soy. (Of course there are more allergens, but these are the most common)
3) Which options are hot/spicy (if applicable)
Wedding menu cards are a good place to mention anything special about the food, such as premium ingredients used or the type of cuisine it’s inspired by.
You can also mention if any of the food is organic, locally grown or sourced. Of course, it’s optional, but people like to know this sort of information about their food before they order it.
If you’re using a catering company or the venue is catering your event, they’ll likely offer you a menu with the food descriptions already written, which will be helpful for you. You can simply copy their phrasing while you’re designing your own wedding menu cards.
How Much Do Wedding Menu Cards Cost?
Arguably, wedding menu cards are an expense that is one of the first to go when planning a wedding on a budget. But wedding menu cards don’t have to be expensive! You don’t have to order fancy menu cards adorned with ribbons, gemstones, bells and whistles if your budget can’t stretch to it.
There are hundreds of simple yet elegant wedding menu card templates out there that are professional-looking, fully customisable, and cheap to have printed and delivered. For example, this Lotus Flower menu card is beautiful, extremely affordable, and will suit almost any wedding colour scheme.
But if you’re not on a budget, then wedding menu cards are the perfect way to take the dinner portion of your wedding reception to the next level. It sends what can be the most boring part of the day over the top with extravagance and decadence - making your guests feel like they’re dining at a five-star restaurant. It’s a small but effective touch that can really elevate your wedding game.
For example, this Felicity wedding menu card features a gorgeous fleur-de-lis pattern, a high-quality satin ribbon and a heart-shaped pearl adorned with a border of rhinestones. This will set the tone for any formal affair, and get guests excited for a fine dining experience.
Where Can I Buy Wedding Menu Cards?
At Bride and Groom Direct, we’ve been printing high-quality, affordable wedding stationery since 1993, and are trusted by thousands of satisfied customers.
We have a wide range of wedding menu cards available, to suit any wedding theme or colour scheme. All of our menu cards are fully customisable, so you can input your details and edit the font style, colour and wording to your personal preference.
What’s more, many designs (such as our ever-popular Ribbons menu cards) are part of a set, with coordinating wedding invitations, save the dates, reply cards, table plans and RSVP cards available. This will help you to tie your wedding stationery together with a matching theme, and impress your guests.
We aim to print and dispatch all orders within 5 working days, so there’s no need to worry if you’ve left your wedding stationery until the last minute. With our easy editor, you can customise one of our wedding menu templates within minutes, and have your order in your hands in under a week. And thanks to our quality guarantee, you can shop with us safe in the knowledge that if for any reason you’re not happy with your order, we won’t rest until you are!