7 Paper Wedding Items You Really Don’t Need

A wedding reception menu at a place setting.

There are so many different products you need for your wedding, from decor to dresses to decorations—and they can add up quickly. But there’s almost nothing that can overwhelm your entire planning process like all of the wedding-related paper products that somehow accumulate in your home or venue and take so much time, effort, and money to create. What are a few of these products that might make sense to take off your list? Here are seven paper products to consider nixing from your wedding budget altogether.

1. The Reception Dinner Menus

The perfectly-pinned look of a gorgeously designed menu on top of your reception place settings is an alluring thing, but in reality it’s much more practical to either create one large sign that shares your menu plan, or skip the menu list altogether. If you’re having plated meals, the guests have likely already made their dinner choice, and if you’re having a buffet, the items will likely be labelled on the buffet line. Save yourself the time and make one large sign or nix this step—it’s doubtful that anyone will even notice it’s missing!

2. A Wedding Planning Binder

A young woman planning her wedding on her laptop instead of with a planning binder.

The second you get engaged, you’re going to immediately get inundated with ads showing you exactly what you “must have!” to make your wedding planning process go smoothly. One of the things that is bound to show up on your sidebar is a wedding planning binder. Now, if you are a person who works better by putting paper to pencil, then this actually might be a great purchase for you, but for many folks it’s just not necessary anymore. There are so many great apps and websites out there that will help walk you through the important “to do’s” of the process without wasting paper or forcing you to carry a binder around to every appointment. If you know you’re not a person who needs to have things physically written down in front of you, then nix the paperwork and use an app instead!

3. Save the Dates

Depending on how close to your engagement you decide to get married, save the dates just might not be necessary for your wedding. If you’re having a short engagement, ditch them and just send out your official invitations instead. You may, however, still need them if your engagement is on the longer side or is a destination wedding (or there’s some other special circumstance). Skipping save the dates can save money for other important wedding details.

4. Individual Reception Place Cards

A wedding reception seating table chart that takes the place of individual place cards.

Consider creating one large sign at the entrace to your reception to indicate your seating plan, rather than individual place cards that tell people what table they should head to. This plan actually has a few uses; it not only saves you the paper goods and time in creating small, individual place cards, but it’s also easier for folks to read since all the names are in one place, and they can even find out where their other friends are sitting without having to wander around your reception area searching. Win-win!

5. Rehearsal Dinner Invitations

Unless you’re having a particularly fancy rehearsal dinner, or unless many people are invited who might not otherwise be aware of their desired attendance, you can probably skip formal paper rehearsal dinner invitations, or at the very least include them as a small card with the rest of your wedding suite and save on postage, excess envelopes, and the like. Most of the time, you’ll be able to easily communicate your rehearsal dinner plans with your wedding party and other attendees when you’re discussing other wedding logistics, and there won’t be a need for a separate formal invitation.

6. Bachelor or Bachelorette Party Invitations

A group of women on a bachelorette party laughing by a pool.

These parties are fun pre-wedding events, but a physical paper invitation in the mail is completely unnecessary. Nowadays, it’s much more likely that your wedding party has begun planning this the second you sent out everyone’s contact information, so bachelor or bachelorette party invites are a paper product you can definitely skip.

7. The Ceremony Programs

Wedding programs are adorable and something many couples want to have for their big day. It’s something on which to give guests basic information about the wedding party, officiant, order of the ceremony, and the couple themselves (as well as something to entertain guests while they wait for the event to start). But this same effect can easily be achieved by using a single large poster or chalkboard at the entrance to the ceremony that indicates the important people, order of ceremonies, and other information without handing out individual pieces of paper that may very well simply be recycled the next day.

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