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May 17, 2010

Menus, escort & place cards

Lately my life can be measured in blog posts and this past weekend the posts were practically writing themselves.

In honor of the National Stationary Show that is at the Jacob Javits Center this week, I am going to start with the importance of paper at your event. I am not referring to paper products, as in plates and cups (which is a post for another time) instead I am referring to menus, escort cards, food signs and more.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of co-hosting a brunch honoring a friend who graduated from the Master of Professional Studies program in the Design Management school at Pratt. Being that she has a strong design background and an affinity for color, we knew going into this that it would be an excellent opportunity to create a beautiful tablescape. It’s true that custom couture paper items may not be necessary, but here are a few first hand examples of how they can enhance an event.

1. Setting the table with creatively designed and cleanly produced menus at each place is the glue that ties the table decor together. It is the finishing touch that takes a table from great to excellent. It’s decadent but a visual should.

2. Professionally printed paper items enhance the guests’ first impression, as they enter the room and find their seats, the right paper items will guide them along and make the experience more enjoyable.

3. Enlisting a graphic designer to create your paper items forces the host to plan the meal in advance. Knowing what will be served is advantageous when scheduling purchases, prep and plating.

4. Menus are an instant ice breaker. For guests who may not know each other, food is an easy conversation starter and it also builds anticipation for what is to come. I am a strong believer that the anticipation of an event is a huge part of the process, something I enjoy wholeheartedly.

5. Printing what is being served may help guests avoid allergy reactions. With a life long peanut allergy, I am not hypersensitive and hate being the difficult one always having to survey each ingredient of everything that passes my lips, but if I had the menu in front of me and it indicated something that is commonly prepared with nuts, that would alert me to inquire what kind of nuts were used in the recipe.

6. Paper items show the guest of honor that this event was planned in their honor. This was not a last minute effort, time was invested into marking this milestone and personalizing it in a thoughtful and creative way.

7. The thought that is put into the menu will be can be showcased when choosing to print a menu. For example we served cupcakes from Crumbs on Sunday. They are the guest of honor’s favorite, so the menu read, Avivit’s Favorite Cupcakes.

8. As much as place cards are good for orchestrating conversation, initiating new introductions and promoting good karma at each table, over all, who wouldn’t appreciate a little help remembering the name of your new friend sitting next to you? Especially after a few mimosas. It’s also a great place to indicate food preferences to caterers or servers, when there are options. This can be done creatively and doesn’t need to interfere with the design. I ordered chicken at the luncheon at Eventology and there was a small chicken illustrated in the corner of my place card. Adorable.

9. People have all had food and wine before. It is what they expect when being invited to an event. The menus, place cards and other paper touches aren’t expected from an intimate or informal party; what a great opportunity to surprise and impress guests.

10. Printed material is a great keepsake for the guests, the guest of honor and the host. Guests don’t always remember what they ate, some scrapbook, others just appreciate creative and personal details.

What are your thoughts on professionally printed menus?

Thanks to Ana Dolan who did a spectacular job designing and producing the printed material for the brunch. I am so happy Sofia Negron agreed to come and capture all the details.

Sincere congratulations to Avivit and big thanks to Gabrielle my partner throughout the process, she constantly inspires me to do better.

Credits: The menu and the pie sign were designed by Ana Dolan. The menu was photographed was by: the pie sign was photographed by: Andrea Paradowski of Marmalade Skies Photography and Larry Chua of Iloomin Images

  1. LOVE it! All of those details are so important to an event!

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