Weddings menus are one of those things we get asked about a lot when talking about day-of items. Most brides have a strong feeling about them one way or another. That’s what led me to sharing our take on them and maybe shed some light as to whether they are just a big sales gimmick or something that you really need at your wedding. If you aren’t sure what to do about your own wedding, read on. Hopefully you’ll be able to figure it out.
Your wedding is your day; it’s the time that all your family and friends come together to celebrate your love and commitment to your one special person. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the paper / stationery product there are available, especially if you aren’t sure what you really need. We are obviously big fans of stationery products and how they can be personalized to add those extra special details to your day. At the same time, they have to be selected and done in a way that is cost effective for each individual couple. The most simple answer we can give to the menu question is that in the majority of cases they are not a necessity. It is important to consider however, that they can often make your guests’ experiences more pleasant and comfortable.
Below are a few points to consider if you aren’t sure if you need / want them for your big day.
#1 Most couples we meet assume because they are having a buffet, they definitely do not need menus.
This is actually not true and one could argue this is when you absolutely should have menus. For example, a family member of mine is getting married in April. They live a few hours away and we only see them a handful of times a year. We don’t talk very often so the only information I know about their upcoming wedding is what came on their invitation. Because there were no meal choices offered, I am guessing the meal will be a buffet but I have no idea what my choices will be. We’ve all been in a situation like that, right? I’m not overly concerned because my husband and I don’t have any food restrictions and most buffets are pretty basic but catered food can also be not-so-great sometimes too. It would be nice, when we arrive at the reception, to have an idea of what will be on the buffet so when it’s our turn to go through the line, we have an idea of what we will want and what we will avoid.
If you are having a buffet at your wedding but don’t want the investment of time and money for individual menus or even a menu at each table, a great options is one, larger sign at the start of the buffet line which will give your guests a heads up as they approach the line, what to look for.
#2 Many couples think menus can be a big expense that isn’t worth it.
Providing your guests with a menu can come in many forms. Some couple love the idea of a menu at every place setting to help dress things up and / or add color. This is most likely the most expensive option but it doesn’t have to break the budget. Menus can be customized to many shapes and sizes and don’t necessarily have to be on the thickest paper available. If one menu per person seems excessive, consider putting just one on every table. This option can cut the costs considerably and be a great way to add a little extra decoration as well as be function. If adding one more thing to your tables seems like a bad idea, consider a sign. We’ve done hand-written chalkboard signs, we’ve done large format printed signs, we’ve seen people write on old window panes, etc. Be creative, do it yourself but don’t rule out a menu just for the money.
#3 Couples assume that because they provided meal choices, they have to do a menu of some kind.
This goes back to #1. While some guests may forget what meal choice they chose, if they are being served a meal that they selected, chances are they don’t need a menu. It may be a nice reminder but it really isn’t necessary.
So, based on above, is there a time when menus are actually a necessity? Our best answer is that there is one instance where we would recommend doing menus but would not say it’s an absolute need. If you are allowing your guests to make a meal choice while actually at the wedding (I have been to a couple of weddings like this) or if you want to acknowledge the chef and/or catering company behind your amazing food then it might be worth considering one of the options we mentioned above.
Menus are one of those things that can be argued either way. They are a fun and simple way to add a little extra detail or to simply let your guests know what they are having for dinner. When planning your wedding, prioritize what’s important and that will help you figure out where you want to spend your money and where you want to save. We are working with an amazing bride right now that is a chef; I’m pretty sure there are menus in her future!