You chose a dining style, hired a great local wedding caterer, and selected the delicious food that will be served at your wedding reception. Now, the next menu consideration you need to tackle is the wedding menu cards. If you’re like most couples, you probably have a few questions about wedding reception menu cards: Are they necessary? What should you include on them? What are the display options? Discover the answers and more in our guide below.

Are Wedding Reception Menu Cards Necessary?

Wedding reception menu cards are not a requirement, but they are great for communicating the details of the meal to your guests. If you’re serving a plated meal with multiple main course options, it’s common to ask your guests to choose the main course they would prefer on the RSVP card. However, in some cases, you may prefer that guests make their choice at the event—therefore it’s important to have a printed dinner menu on hand for them to refer to when making their decision.

If you opt for buffet or family-style service, menu cards are a quick and easy way to share the food options and give guests the courtesy of knowing what to expect. Guests with dietary restrictions and food allergies will appreciate the heads up about what’s on the menu so they can plan ahead and enjoy the meal without stress.

What to Include on Wedding Menu Cards?

What you include on your wedding menu cards is up to your preference and the style and tone of your event. Feel free to get creative and have fun with your wording, but your menu template should include the following:

1. Description of Courses (or List of Dishes Served)

  • Plated Meal: Outline the courses or meal options in the order they will be served.
  • Family Style Meal: List the food items or meal options that will be served to each table.
  • Buffet Meal: List the food items or meal options that will be served at the buffet.

2. Main Ingredients in Each Dish

While it’s not required to list every ingredient used in a dish, it is customary to provide a shortlist of the main ingredients, including foods that are common food allergies, such as nuts, shellfish, gluten, and dairy.

3. A Welcome and Thank You (Optional)

Many couples also use their wedding menu cards as an opportunity to welcome and thank their guests. This text is typically very short and is often found at the top or bottom of the card.

4. Your Names and Wedding Date (Optional)

To turn your wedding menu card into a scrapbook-worthy memento, include your names and your wedding date on the card.

Wedding Menu Card Wording Samples

Menu Sample Wording: Plated

APPETIZER

Assorted Empanadas
and
Gazpacho with Fried Almonds

SALAD

Kale Salad with Spicy Quinoa
and
Jicama and Mango Slaw

MAIN COURSE

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri
or
Snapper with Avocado Salsa
or
Charred Street Corn Risotto

DESSERT

Gelato Sundae Bar
and
Local Pie and Tart Bar

Menu Sample Wording: Buffet

Thank you so much for celebrating this special occasion with us! Please eat, drink, and be merry.

Braised Pork Shoulder
Bacon, Apple, Sausage, Cheddar Stuffing
Brandied Cream Sauce

Hot Smoked Salmon
Dijon Cream Sauce

Whipped Russet Potatoes
Garlic & Chives

Roasted Local Vegetables
Fig Tapenade

Seasonal Green Salad
Balsamic Vinaigrette

Whole Grain Baguette
Honey Butter

Menu Sample Wording: Family Style

Welcome to Our Wedding Reception. Please enjoy this family-style menu as you get to know everyone at your table, and thank you for being part of our special day.

First

Local Cheese & Charcuterie Platter
Olives, Crostini, Apples, Bread & Seasonal Garniture

Second

Mixed Green Salad
Port Wine Poached Pears, Stilton Cheese, Walnuts
Aged Sherry Vinaigrette

Third

Pan Seared Duck Breast
Blood Orange Gastrique

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Mushrooms, Peas, Parmesan, Carrot Sauce

Rice Pilaf

Seasonal Roasted Vegetables

Fourth

Passed Local Sweets

Wedding Menu Card Display Options

There are many different ways to display your catering menu at your wedding, but here is a look at the main styles you’re likely to encounter:

  • Individual Menu Cards — For formal or elegant weddings with plated dinner service, it is typical for small menu cards to be placed at each place setting. This option adds a nice finishing touch to your design and individually welcomes each guest. In some cases, couples might have the menu card do double duty as a place card by including the guest’s name as well. That way, guests can find their seat, read your welcome message, and peruse the menu in one go.
  • Large Display or Signage — If you prefer not to invest in individual menu cards for each place setting, a great option is to display a large sign at the reception. From chalkboard signage to calligraphy on gilded mirrors, there are limitless ways to get creative and elevate your decor at the same time.
  • Small Buffet Sign — For a sign that gets the job done but is more inconspicuous, many couples opt to place a small menu sign beside the buffet or at each food station.
  • Table Sign — To retain the intimate feel of individual menu cards without straining your budget, we recommend posting a menu sign on each round table, or a displaying a menu per every 4 chairs if you’re using rectangular tables.

Your wedding stationery isn’t really complete with wedding reception menu cards. Follow our menu template above to create stunning and informative paper products that let your guests know exactly what they can or will eat for dinner at your wedding.