What your guests need to know at your wedding

So you've been to a bunch of weddings already – that's a good start! However, sometimes when planning your own you tend to forget some of those little details. For example, wedding signage!

There are key things your guests need to know, and some they just want to. We'll dive into the top 5 of each here:

What your guests NEED to know:

1. Whose wedding they're at.

Although you know the venue, times, and every other tiny detail of your wedding, your guests probably do not. Especially if you're at a venue that caters to more than one wedding at once, you're having an outdoor wedding, or it's a little difficult to get to. 

With a large "Welcome to the wedding of ______ & ______" your guests can breathe a little sigh of relief knowing they won't need to bolt awkwardly if they sat at the wrong place!

Here Kayla & James have included their names as well as hashtag on their wedding welcome sign. Photo courtesy of Sarah Vaughan

2. Where they are sitting for dinner.

Unless you're having an open-concept free-for-all mingling party, your guests need to know where you want their pretty butts to sit for dinner. You can achieve this with a.... <drumroll>... seating chart! However, there's more to a seating chart than just names and numbers... see number 2 in the next list...

After a quick scan, Meaghan knows she's at table 5 (and also knows that cute guy Terri is at table 20 ;)

3. What can they drink (and what it will cost).

Whether you're having an open bar, a twoonie cash bar, or selling tickets - let your guests know as soon as possible. Not only announce it before cocktail hour, but ample signage goes a long way!

Here the guests know they can order beer and wine free of charge, but other drinks they'll have to buy.

4. The schedule

Having an itinerary both displayed and announced allows your guests to plan accordingly. If they have to make a quick call or spring to the washroom, letting them know how much time they have and when things will begin takes a load off - so they can get back to having fun!

"Only a 30-minute ceremony! Then some time before dinner - I can run back to the car and grab my wallet"

5. How to get there.

Hand-in-hand with the welcome signage, directional signs are key – especially for outdoor venues, venues with many rooms, or places that are off the beaten path... a simple arrow or two makes a huge difference. Not to mention is a fail-safe for those guests who are prone to getting lost (and showing up right when you're going down the aisle!) It's best to have your wedding directions fool-proof!


Multi-room venues require a bit of signage – it goes a long way!

Photo courtesy of Emily Exon

What your guests WANT to know:

1. Where they are sitting at the ceremony.

It's a little uncommon now for guests to sit on the side of the venue for the ceremony. Back in the day, you were to sit on either the bride's side or the groom. Nowadays that's not the case in most modern weddings. You guests want to know where they are to sit to avoid embarrassment (and to not take away from YOUR day!)

Cute rhymes and fun graphics can add that playful appeal – just remember to say it YOUR way :)

2. Who they're sitting with at dinner.

Guests also want to know who they're sitting with. Is it next to your awkward Uncle Merle? Or their best friend? Having seating charts arranged by table rather than alphabetically by name lets your guests know what kind of fun they're about to have and with whom :) A small detail, maybe. But isn't it all in the details? ;)

Organizing your seating chart by table rather than by name tells your guest what fun group of people they get to talk to at dinner!

3. What's for dinner.

With today's dietary restrictions, preferences, allergies, etc., having your menu displayed helps your guests and prepares them for your delicious meal. Put yourself in their shoes – if they fill up on the pate appetizer not remembering there's a decadent chocolate mousse dessert, it may mean more waste for you!

Get your guests going with a single menu when they walk in and save on the printing costs of having a menu for every guest! This menu is 2' wide by 4' wide and is only $165 including the chalkboard!

4. If there are any special rules.

What is SUPER popular right now (and super smart) is politely asking your guests to keep their cell phones in the pocket or purse during your ceremony. Why? Because you don't want your professional photographer to grab shots with everyone's arm sticking out taking blurry photos of you! Having this as an announcement and some prevalent signage goes a long way. And don't forget to be polite!

Please and thank you goes a long way - and having some eye-catching signage ensures everyone will follow the rules.

5. How to share their photos.

In the land of instagram, facebook, snapchat, and all the rest – gathering up those photos can be daunting, not to mention the desire to have every little candid shot after the day. The beauty part is that this is so easy to achieve – invent your own hashtag! Make it as unique as possible, adding in your year or something clever - that way it's unlikely anyone else will be using it (hashtags are public and anyone can use them). We suggest staying away from "#mikeandjen" and go for something like "MMtiestheknot2016". That kind of thing!

And how to get the word out? Announce it as well as placing hashtag signage in a few places at your venue - close to the photo booth, near the washrooms, or as part of your welcome sign. The sky's the limit!

Picking a simple but unique hashtag and letting your guests know what it is, ensures they can all post away with the fun and timeless memories. #makeitunique #makeitknown


There you have it. Let your guests know what they need to. Tell them what they want to know too. It's your day – but they'll be happier with these small considerations. Good luck!

(As a final note, it's always nice to have your signage match - match to your theme, your colours, your fonts, your choice of words, and match it to all other signs. OH - and don't forget to make it YOU. ;)




Working with a Professional Wedding Photographer

In the past little while I've worked with a professional wedding photographer by the name of Melanie Dawne. If you follow me in Instagram or Facebook you've probably seen me singing her praises. She's amazing and has given me some gorgeous shots of my chalkboards for things like magazine spreads and print ads.

I have met a lot of wedding photographers in Calgary and they all have such skill and technical talent. I admit that I haven't worked directly with that many, but as soon as I handed over my chalkboards to Melanie and 'let her do her thing'  - I was shocked. Not because I didn't think she could take beautiful photos, but because her creative brain sets up the most interesting and artistic photographs imaginable. I consider myself a creative person, but seeing what Melanie can do in 5 minutes is nothing short of mind-blowing. 

I'll let the photos in this blog speak for themselves now. I admit that when it comes to Melanie, I sometimes go on and on and on about her. If you don't already, please follow her or check out her Facebook page and Instagram page. You won't be let down :)

Take a look through the shots below and let me know what you think OR

My Own Hand-lettered Chalkboard Photo Shoot

So this weekend turned out being a little grey. The grass is still brown or yellow and the sky was nothing but clouds. However, I got to work with three awesome brides doing hand-lettered names and dates. I then applied the approved lettering to a chalkboard. A quick photo shoot over two days (one in a pretty back yard, the other at the Glenmore Reservoir) and I'm ecstatic with the way these look!

What I like best is that all of these weddings will be in the summer months. Two this year and one next year. I see the chalkboards as a kind of rustic ode to spring with their own sense of beauty in that mix of grey and brown. And even a countdown to the upcoming wedding season with its green and blues, yellows and pinks of June and July. 

Special thank you to Danielle & Trent, Kasandra & Richard, and Darlene & Sean. Best of luck to you all in the final months (or year) leading up to your wedding day!

Side note - Darlene & Sean will actually be using their chalkboard as a guest book! What a great idea :)

Click on any image to enlarge.


Boutique Wedding Market Profile

The Boutique Wedding Market is March 12th and 13th, 2016 in the Commons in Ramsay. I've been eager to get into this show since I heard about it late last year. The whole things looks so amazing and I really think it's my "market", so to speak. Sometimes edgy, always fun brides who want something really personal and special for their wedding!

I was asked by the BWM team to answer a few questions to complete my profile -- so I jumped on the chance. The answers may be a tad spontaneously written but hey, that's me. 


What inspired you to start your business?
It was my desk-mate at work. A couple of years ago she said “you have great handwriting! You should do chalkboards!” And I loooooove hand-writing things. I’m constantly doodling pretty words and tracing out phrases with my finger in mid-air.

I started doing work for local businesses (bars and cafes) for free, collecting a few gift cards as thank-yous (and a couple cocktails on the way). It wasn’t until a girl named Kayla approached me to do chalkboards for her wedding that I knew the wedding industry is where I wanted to be.

What’s your favourite part about working in the wedding industry?
I love working with brides and grooms so much! Like an insane amount. I have never met a bride I didn’t instantly fall in love with and wanted to create for them the best chalkboard signs for their day. I found my niche and love that I don’t draw up a design more than once. Every piece is unique and inspired by the couple! I get to be creative and draw chalkboards that make the photographs look so awesome, too. And when a bride sends me photos of the boards, and ecstatically tells me she’s hanging the boards in her house now, it melts my heart!

Share a piece of advice with our brides:
Everything on your wedding day should reflect you, especially the signage! So if you’re inspired by chalkboards you’ve seen with a specific message on it, spin the wording to fit you.
“Sit your cute butt down wherever you want” or “Y’all leave your cell phones in your pocket. Don’t worry – you won’t die” are a couple of examples of how to say things in your own words. I mean, that’s definitely the kind of thing you’ll eventually see at my wedding…

Do you have any fun news coming up that you’d like to share?
I’m going to buy a house soon! I’m so excited. I haven’t found THE house yet but the new criteria is to have a home with a DEDICATED studio space for my chalkboard art. To not have to clean everything up every night is going to be so sweet!

What’s a wedding trend that you’re totally in love with right now?
Using glitter on desserts at weddings. I just can’t even. It’s so beautiful. Like, how can you make donuts look that gorgeous?!


Read the profile here on the Boutique Wedding Market's website, buy your tickets for $5 (for the WHOLE weekend) and come see me at the show! There are always show specials and boards to buy on the spot! See you there

14 of the Best Wedding Chalkboard Messages

Chalkboard signage is so perfect for any wedding. They’re black, white, elegant, playful, with a bit of whimsy and magic. Chalkboard wedding decor is amazing both outdoors and in. And with new smudge-proof chalkboard markers (they come off with a damp cloth), you can’t go wrong. The best part? Those last-minute changes to seating charts or arrow directions can be made easily and quickly, versus printed signage that can take days to reprint.

After completing dozens of wedding chalkboards, we’ve taken the top 14 requests and put them all here to inspire you. Custom chalkboard art is great because you can get a few done (or more) and have them all look like a complete, matching your exact style. What a way to tell your guests something important while still maintaining a beautiful wedding.

 1. Choose a seat, not a side

1. Choose a seat, not a side

1. Choose a seat, not a side

Even though it’s the 20-teens, some people still think that they have to sit on a certain side of the ceremony. The best thing to do is to cover your bases with a “Choose a seat, not a side” chalkboard. This has been our most popular chalkboard request to date. There have been clever ways to express this, and very simple ones too. Even if your guests know they don’t have to sit anywhere specific, this chalkboard can create a comfortable welcome for those who are arriving to your ceremony.

 2. Please find your seat (the seating chart)

2. Please find your seat (the seating chart)

2. Please find your seat (the seating chart)

Pretty simple. Where are you sitting? Find your name on the seating chart and mosey your buns over to your table. For most weddings, it’s recommended that you include only the first name and last initial (but of course this can get sticky with 150+ people). Chalkboards make the best seating charts too because you can make late changes to the game – like when Uncle Bruce decides he’s bringing another new girlfriend with him ;)

 3. Welcome to our unplugged wedding

3. Welcome to our unplugged wedding

3. Welcome to our unplugged wedding

Ok, so everyone is bringing their phone to your wedding. That’s a given. And hopefully most guests will be courteous enough to know this: keep your heads up and phones in your pockets for the duration of the ceremony. “Unplugged ceremony” chalkboard signs are a perfect friendly reminder that the bride and groom have the photography covered. Guests don’t need to pull out their phones for photos (and be tempted to text while you’re saying your vows!)

 4. Instagram hashtag chalkboard

4. Instagram hashtag chalkboard

4. Instagram hashtag board

Once the bar opens, let the photos fly! Make sure you get your hands on each and every one of those gems by letting your guests know your hashtag. Last minute hashtag change? So easy! Just wipe off the old one and write in the updated hashtag – no sweat!

 5. Thank you (photo op board)

5. Thank you (photo op board)

5. Thank you (for photo ops and thank you cards)

Classy and elegant thank-you chalkboards go with any colour scheme! These are popular for the photo or cards that are sent out to thank the guests for sharing the day.

 6. Names and date

6. Names and date

6. The bride and groom’s name and wedding date (Welcome to our wedding!)

Having your names and date in all big and beautiful can really complete your whole day. Place it somewhere for the guests when they first arrive or put it in front of the head table! Also – consider matching the fonts/script for this chalkboard to your invitation so that everything ties in well together.

 7. Favours / Candy bar

7. Favours / Candy bar

7. Favours / Candy bar

Hey everyone! Don’t forget to take something home – from us to you. Simple and wonderful (and super popular right now!)

 8. Photo booth sign

8. Photo booth sign

8. Grab a prop and strike a pose (the photo booth sign)

Quirky and funny, these chalkboards are great for photo booths that are on or off the beaten path. Inspire your guests to be silly and make some memories!

 9. Sign our guestbook

9. Sign our guestbook

9. Sign our guestbook

There are a ton of clever ways for guests to write you a special note - let them know how with some bold white-on-black! Other ideas are “write a message in a bottle” or suggest other things guests can write to you.

 10. Coming down the aisle

10. Coming down the aisle

10. Coming down the aisle (Here comes your girl)

Imagine a niece, nephew, son, or daughter carrying this chalkboard down the aisle. Such a fun and adorable way to speak to your guests (not to mention the cuteness factor of your photo ops!)

 11. "This way" signs

11. "This way" signs

11. "This way" chalkboard

If you’re having an outdoor wedding, a wedding in a hotel, or have any other need to tell guests which way to the reception, chalkboard signage is a beautiful and rustic way to draw up arrows without looking messy. Make sure to use smudge-proof chalkboard ink instead of dry chalk in the high-traffic areas (because who likes chalk dust on their expensive tux?). Arrows can be changed last minute too if you decide to put your signage somewhere other than where you planned. Can’t do that with a painted sign or print-out!

 12. Drink menu or specialty cocktail

12. Drink menu or specialty cocktail

12. Drink menu or specialty cocktail

What’s stocked behind the bar? Is there a signature cocktail? Tell your guests what’s going to help them get on the dance floor! Another tip: name your signature drink something clever - but easy to remember. Tie it in to the big day with a spin on a last name, hobby, or where the bride and groom first met!

 13. In Memoriam

13. In Memoriam

13. In Memoriam

It’s terribly sad when we can’t spend our wedding day with someone we love. Lots of couples are dedicating a table or small area to those they’ve lost. With photos and special messages, the dear departed can still have a special place to remember them.

 14. Thank you message

14. Thank you message

14. Thank you message

For something a little more personal, a chalkboard thank you message is perfect for guests to read coming into the ceremony, reception, or before they leave. We’ve only had a few of these requested, but love the sentiment.

TIP: What to do with the chalkboards after your wedding?

  • Hang them up in your home. Simple welcome messages or name signage can be a great addition on a wall or mantle next to your framed wedding photographs

  • Pass them along to the next person getting married. Generic guestbook signs or “Pick a seat, not a side” chalkboards can be handed down from friend to neighbour to daughter etc. Chalkboards go with everyone’s colours!

  • Wash off the board and use it for weekly menus, to-do lists, or for a child’s play room.