If you are planning your wedding, you may be stuck with the decision of selecting escort cards or place cards for your reception. Even though these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they actually have two distinct meanings. It’s important for you to have a clear understanding of the difference when you are planning for your wedding, so you can choose the option that works best for you.
First things first, you need to be aware of the key differences that exist between place cards and escort cards.
Escort cards are used to inform your guests of their table number at your wedding reception. Usually, these cards are displayed at the entrance to your reception. That way your guests can easily see them as they walk into the event. They list each guest’s name and the table number that person is seated at. That guest can pick up their escort card and take it with them to their table. Usually, this means there are no assigned seats, as long as they are on the correct table. They can put down their card at whichever seat they like.
Place cards, on the other hand, work along with seating charts. A seating chart has the same objective as escort cards: both these methods focus on directing the guests towards the tables that are assigned to them. Place cards, however, offer a specific seating assignment for guests at each reception table. If you want guests to be seated in predetermined seats, this is the best option for you to consider.
It is possible to use both escort cards and place cards if you want to (one to direct them to their table, and the other to tell them where to sit once they get there), just be aware that guests will end up with two cards.
Usually, all the guests who come to the wedding are going to be allocated to specific tables. This will actually help your guests, saving them from wandering around to figure out where they should sit. It also helps make the most of the seating. If there are no assigned tables, most people will look at a half-full table, assume it is full, and start looking for another table. This can mean you need at least a third more seating than the number of people, just to allow for people wanting to sit together and avoiding people they don’t know. The question, then, is whether assigning guests to a table is enough for you or if you’d rather assign them to specific seats.
If you are planning to host a plated dinner, it is usually recommended that you use place cards. Place cards signal formality and are almost always included at black tie events and other formal weddings. You can do this in conjunction with escort cards as well if you want to have both.
For a more casual event, escort cards alone might be more up your alley, since they give guests the flexibility to choose their own seat while also limiting the amount of seating you need and giving you some control over the grouping of guests.
At the end of the day, place cards and escort cards are two different ways of solving the same problem and helping your guests find somewhere to sit easily. It’s the gateway to a fabulous wedding reception, either way, so feel free to just choose what feels right for your event.
This was a guest post by Maddison Wallace from Paperlust. Maddison is head of content at Paperlust. She is a communications professional who loves words and drinking cups of tea.