Wedding Menu Card Ideas

Want to add some spice and flavor to your wedding menu card? Here are some fresh wedding menu ideas to whet your guests’ appetites.

By The Zola Team

Wedding Menu Card Ideas
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

The wedding menu card adds an elegant (and necessary) touch to the wedding meal as guests gather together to savor the sweetness of the day and the deliciousness of the foods you’ve carefully chosen.

Wedding menu cards can sharpen your guests’ appetites and kick the next part of the reception into gear. If you’re looking for fresh ideas for your wedding menu card, look no further.

The Fundamentals to a Wedding Menu Card

When it comes to building your wedding menu card, first things first: What’s on the menu?

Depending on your catering options, the design of your card can vary. Popular options include:

  • Multi-course meals
  • Buffet style
  • Family style

Next, what’s the blueprint that you’re working with? We’ll cover the many ways that you can get creative with the design and execution later, but your basic wedding menu should lay out:

  • An outline to the courses, or list of dishes and options.
  • A list of the main ingredients or anything those with allergies or dietary restrictions need to be aware of.
  • A drinks menu (if applicable).
  • Personalized notes welcoming your guests (optional).

A menu can elevate your meal by providing structure and theme to the different courses and dishes. It’s also a valuable and practical tool for those with allergies or dietary restrictions.

There are tons of ways to get creative with menu cards, whether you want to match a wedding theme or bedazzle your place setting with something unusual and out of the box. To that end, use these ideas to inspire your own wedding menu cards.

Individual Menu Cards

Individual menu cards are fantastic for more formal events with plated multi-course meals. You can also personalize each menu with your guest’s name so that the menu can also act as an escort card.

There are many different ways that you can interpret the individual menu card so that it suits the theme of your celebratory day.

Dressing Up the Traditional Paper Card

Paper cards can be effortlessly elegant, even if all you have on them is the menu itself. If you have a busy place setting, a clean menu can contrast nicely without overwhelming the busy backdrop.

Simple doesn’t have to mean plain or boring, either. Whether you go with a thick, creamy stock or something with more texture to it, you have different options available.

Here are some options to paper stock to start you off:

  • Cotton Cardstock: This stock is great for a modern look and takes to ink and laser printing well. Because it’s “photo safe,” it’ll keep well in scrapbooks and keepsake albums.
  • Linen Cardstock: Linen cardstock has a more matte finish with a cloth-like texture. If you’re printing menus at home, it can be an excellent option to cover up imperfections.
  • Parchment: Parchment is a thinner paper that’s an excellent option if you and your partner are fans of a cozy ink and quill aesthetic. You could even artificially age the parchment so that it wouldn’t look out of place in a vintage themed event.
  • Vellum: Translucent vellum can provide a mysterious allure to your wedding invitations. If you layer your vellum menu over a thicker paper it has the effect of muting any colorful designs underneath to give it that wonderful, frosted-glass look.

If you’re sifting through different papers, the fun’s just getting started. To that end, there are tons of wedding stationery options, depending on your needs. If you’re looking for a variety of premium textures to choose from, check out Zola’s menu cards. Choose from multiple card textures, shines, and thicknesses including:

  • Smooth, a thin card with a bit of sheen and a clean, modern finish
  • Eggshell, a slightly textured thin card stock with a matte finish
  • Recycled, which is made from carbon neutral paper with a subtle texture
  • Pearlescent, a card that offers subtle shimmer on both sides
  • Linen, a paper that’s lightweight and offers a crosshatch texture
  • Natural, a thicker paper with a highly texturized feel and look.
  • Double thick, a thick card stock that offers a smooth texture
  • Triple thick, a paper type that’s triple thick and smooth

Not sure which will be right for your menu card? Order a custom design and enjoy a free proof by using code FREEPROOF.

Once you’ve decided the paper type, it’s time to put words on the page. The type of font you choose is an effective way to personalize the tone of your menu card. Fonts have a huge range that can effortlessly match whatever vibe you’re going for, whether you want the beautiful formality of Baroque or a nostalgic, vintage throwback font that mimics typewriter keys.

Play around with different fonts on a design program, or work with a professional graphic designer to figure out which font conveys the tone of your wedding best.

Next, let’s talk about some special effects that you can add to your paper menu card if you’re looking for something a little more elaborate.

#1 Add a Little Bit of Glam With Gold Foil or Embossing

What if you want to step it up with a little bit of glamour, while still maintaining the minimalist look? Gold foil and embossing are excellent ways to add a bit of luxury to your wedding menus without too many complications.

You can use these effects to highlight certain things on your menu, such as:

  • The header for the menu.
  • You and your spouse-to-be’s names
  • The date of the wedding

Decorating your menu card with gold is a versatile design option. Whether you want to gild the geometric designs of your Art Deco-themed wedding or match a rose-gold palette, gold is a timeless way to up your menu design glam game.

Hint: Looking to add a sparkle all your own? Zola offers custom foil options so you can add exactly the shine you want to your menu cards.

#2 Watercolors

Adding some splashes of color onto the backdrop of your wedding menu can be the perfect DIY bonding activity for you and your wedding party. Just make sure to use watercolor paper or stock that will absorb the watercolor without allowing it to bleed through (or bubble as it dries).

Not artistically inclined or too busy wedding planning to deal with arts and crafts? Never fear, you can collaborate with a graphic designer if you still want that dreamy watercolor backdrop to your menu.

#3 Dried Flowers

Flowers are an evergreen accessory at weddings. Not only are they the symbol of love in full bloom, but they come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors that there’s a broad range when it comes to complementing wedding palettes.

Pressed and dried flowers can be beautifully grafted onto menu cards for an extra special preserved keepsake. If your menu contains herbs or edible flowers, such as rosemary or pansies, pressing those onto the cards can be a clever nod to the food.

Think Out of the Box With These Ideas

Paper is a common option when it comes to individual menus, but it’s far from the only one out there. If you’re looking for something unusual or quirky to act as the centerpiece of your place setting, you’ve come to the right place.

Wooden Menus

If you’re going for a Tuscan-inspired aesthetic or something with the ruggedness of raw nature, wooden menus are all the rage. Wood is versatile, and can be cut, shaped, and stained to fit your needs while still preserving its natural element.

Is your wedding set in an earthy glade filled with greenery? Tree stumps can be cut into circular menus that won’t look out of place in a romantic forest ceremony. Looking for something more polished? Menus that can double as charcuterie or cutting boards are popular, too. Laser printers can print your menu right into the grain and have your guests “oohing” and “ahhing” at your ingenuity.

Paper Bag Menus: Practical and Cute

A simple paper bag can be dressed up with elegant calligraphy or blocky font into a menu that matches a rustic or casually artsy celebration. How you choose to decorate it can already elevate it beyond memories of school lunches, but you can go one step further by filling it with little goodies, such as:

Wedding favors to remember your special day by.

  • Demi-baguettes or other snacks to have with your drinks before the first course arrives.
  • Mints for those who want to freshen up after the meal or foresee post-dinner smooches.
  • Crayons, if your guests include children, so that they can doodle on the back of the menu.

Use clips or ribbons to close your bag off. Silk, velvet, or twine all convey different accents, depending on what you’re going for.

Large Statement Menu Displays

A large statement menu, placed picturesquely next to your welcome sign, can be both efficient and decorative. This type of display works well for family style meals or if set up by the buffet, but can be used for plated courses, too.

The type of statement display you go for depends on what statement your wedding is making. Are you romantic and elegant, or earthy and carefree? Let’s take a look at some ideas for ways that you can set the tone for your wedding reception with big statements.

#1 Easel Menus

An easel is a clever way to display a large menu on canvas or kraft paper. Clip it in place with clothespins or wrap twine, foliage, and string lights around the edges for a bit of intrigue.

#2 Marquee Menus

Could your wedding night use some old Hollywood style charisma? Make the reception dinner a retro experience worthy of fanfare with a light-up marquee style board that spells out the night’s fare.

Does your celebration go more for industrial chic than old school? Spring for a marquee board outlined with exposed light bulbs. They’ll be right at home next to the exposed brick and brass trimmings.

#3 Chalkboard Menus

Chalk doesn’t have to be messy or childish. With a clean blackboard and a deft, artistic hand, a chalkboard element can lend your dinner reception the joie-de-vivre of an open-air bistro.

You can still have a neat and professional sign, even if you don’t have a designated calligrapher in your wedding party. Simply design a template and print it out into a stencil. Then all you have to do is line it up against the board and fill it in.

Use chalk markers if you’re looking for clean lines. Chalk markers are liquid chalk, and will give you neater, more precise lines. You can work without fear of chalk dust making a mess everywhere on your big day.

#4 Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

If you’re serving a buffet-style meal or don’t want to deal with the expense and hassle of individual personalized menus, welcome your guests with a large menu display.

A mirror with a gilded, vintage frame is an excellent way to glam up your statement display. Add some romance to the air by decorating your mirror menu with:

  • Elegant calligraphy
  • Decorative foliage, such as flowers or leaves
  • Strategically placed fairy lights or candles

And, in a pinch, your mirror menu can double as disaster prevention if someone needs to discreetly check their makeup or teeth for spinach before hitting the dance floor.

If you’re hoping for that hint of elegance but want to keep your wedding to-do list simple? Browse through Zola’s elegant and classic menu cards. From gorgeous calligraphy-style font to intricate and timeless design details, you’ll find a menu card that is a feast for your guests’ eyes.

#5 Have a Banner Day With Your Wedding Menu

Printing your menu on a banner will give your display a softer feel. You can display it on a wall or door, like a tapestry, with ribbons or a macramé fringe if your wedding is more boho, or suspend it above the buffet.

If you’re having a forest wedding, a banner gently hung over a sturdy branch can be a way to display your menu while leaving the least lasting impact on the nature around you.

Table Menus

Are individual menu cards too small, and large displays too big? You’ll find that table menus are just right for those who want to go down the middle road.

Table menu displays provide intimacy, community, and small talk for the victims of your seating arrangement plans as your guests lean in to see what they have to look forward to. They can also be the eye-catching centerpiece to each table, while saving you more money and effort than individual menu cards.

Let’s take a look at some different ways you can display your wedding menu in tableside displays.

#1 Menu Stands

Menu stands are an all-purpose base that comes with a wide variety of styles and textures— perfect for adapting to your thematic needs. Let’s take a look at some common wedding designs and how a menu stand can mold itself visually:

  • Garden Party: Use a miniature artist’s easel to paint your guest’s imaginations of the feast ahead.
  • Rustic: A standing clipboard using weathered wood to evoke that DIY feel.
  • Vintage or Industrial Chic: Reappropriate copper piping into a menu stand.
  • Modern: Using a minimalist stand made of marble or glass to slot in your menu card.

Whimsical: A mossy log with carved spaces for your wedding menu won’t be out of place in your fairytale wedding.

#2 Chalkboards: The Sequel

Chalkboards are great for large displays, but they come in all shapes and sizes. Miniature chalkboards can provide extra charm to each table.

You don’t have to be restricted to traditional chalkboards to take advantage of that clean, black background, either. Chalkboard paint has been a popular way to jazz up café walls and kitchen backsplashes recently. Why not use it on unusual objects that you can then requisition for your tableside menu display?

Paint a label around a glass storage jar that you can fill with flowers or snacks, or turn the base of a table lamp into a makeshift chalkboard. Chalkboard paint will give you an endless supply of possibilities when it comes to surfaces to display your menu.

#3 Acrylic Menus

Acrylic will give your wedding menu cards an elegant and clean look of glass without the fragility or cost. Fitted to a stand, they’ll blend right in with the backdrop of your table decor without making it too busy and blocking your guests’ view of each other.

Pressed flowers can also be slotted between the layers of acrylic if you want to evoke the bloom of spring without going over budget supplying every table with fresh bouquets.

#4 Framed Felt Letter Boards

Take a page out of your favorite coffee shop’s book and use framed felt letter boards for your wedding menu card. Depending on the frame you pick, your letter board can be rustic or celestial, modern or vintage.

Include a bag of extra letters at each table so that your guests can arrange inspirational messages for the happy couple or make their own prop signs for the photobooth after the last plate is cleared away.

Browse Menus at Zola

When it comes to getting creative with your wedding menu card, the sky’s the limit. Whether you decide to get inventive with paper stock and ink, or acrylic and mirrors, there are so many ways for you to personalize your menu cards to match you and your partner’s personalities.

If you’re overwhelmed with options, don’t fret. Here at Zola, we have hundreds of different designs and templates to help you get started, as well as tips to creating the perfect menu card for your big celebration.

For everything wedding, there’s us.

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