We often throw out the term "paper goods"when talking to our clients, which is usually met with blank stares as paper goods is a broad term in the wedding industry. We use this term to encompass a variety of items that can be used for the wedding day, all dealing with paper. Here is a guide to inform you on what we mean when we tell you to budget a few hundred dollars or more for "paper goods":
Save the Dates/Invitation Suites
Save the dates and wedding invitations are the most important paper goods to spend money on. Save the dates can be done online to save money, but invitations contain all the important information guests need for the wedding day. Be sure to bring an extra save the date and invite to the wedding so your photographer can shoot some detail shots on the wedding day!
Not every couple chooses to have a guestbook, and it is not necessarily always paper. However, it still falls into the paper goods category. A guestbook can be a traditional leather bound book with a pen or more creative with polaroids, engagement books, maps, etc. To get more guestbook inspiration see our post on guestbook ideas.
Programs are used for the ceremony to layout the timeline of the ceremony and processional. These are handed out to each guest, usually by an usher/helper. We often advise our clients to not spend money on programs (especially if the budget is tight) since many guests won't take one, and those that do discard it right after the ceremony. That being said, if the couple plans to have a religious ceremony or perform rituals that may require explanations of the symbolism, a program can be a nice description of any customs and traditions.
This category includes seating charts, escort cards, or place cards - whatever the couple ends up choosing to use to direct their guests to their seats. To learn more about these items and the difference between each, see our seating post.
In order to direct guests to their appropriate table based on the seating diagram, table numbers are used to label each table. This item doesn't necessarily need to be paper (sometimes they are wood or other material) and can be names rather than numbers. This is a necessary item included in the paper goods category, that every couple will need for their wedding.
Menus can come in many forms, and are not always necessary to have at a wedding. However if the bride and groom wants to provide their guests with the menu for the wedding day, it can be done in several ways. A menu can be a stationary sign in the dinner area, placed at each setting, or framed on the table for guests to view per table.
The last paper good item is signage. Signage is usually added decor based on the preferences of the bride and groom. Helpful signage could be directional (such as ceremony, restrooms, maps, etc.) bar signs (especially if there are signature cocktails), menus (as described above), and any other labels or cute signage you may want for extra decor (such as a framed sign for blankets or favors). Again these don't have to be paper signs, but many still fall under our paper goods category!