One of my favorite details besides the actual wedding invitations are all of the matching paper goods that are used throughout the entire wedding day. Everything from menus, to welcome signs, to programs to all of the amazing bar details (napkins, cups, stick stirrers and more!).
There are a few items that are more necessary than others and serve a higher purpose when it comes to wedding day stationery. Those are generally seating charts, table numbers, place cards and escort cards. All of these items serve the purpose of making it easier on your guests when they are trying to find where they should be seated for the night.
I highly recommend that you have some sort of seating assignment at your wedding, even if you aren’t having a plated dinner. It still makes it so much easier when your guests know what table they should be at and they aren’t guessing or hoping there are enough seats for their friends at the table.
When my husband and I got married back in 2009 we had a day-of planner who helped with some of the logistics, but one thing she never mentioned to me was having a seating assignment for our wedding and of course I didn’t know anything about it then not being in the wedding industry yet.
I knew I had 140 guests coming so I only had 140 seats. Womp womp. But since I didn’t assign people to those seats, we would have 10 chairs to a table, but some tables would only have 9 people there and unless we had a stag guest, there was no one to fill that other seat, so therefore I didn’t have enough seats for everyone in theory. We made it work, but it was an annoyance that could have been avoided.
So now that you’ve learned the importance of seating assignments, I wanted to chat about the difference between place cards and escort cards.
Place cards are used when you have actual assigned seats, not just assigned tables. They are name cards that are placed at the exact seat your guest needs to sit. This is often done when there are plated dinners and the servers need to know ahead of time which seat gets which meal. With place cards, you will also need a seating chart that tells them what table to go to first, so they can then find their place card at their seat. They place the guest in their seat.
Escort cards are used to tell the guests what table to go to when they arrive at the reception and are usually arranged alphabetically at a central table where the guest can find their name with their table assignment on it. It escorts the guest to their table.
You generally do not have a seating chart and escort cards as they serve the same purpose. I also don’t recommend that you try to double up your escort card and use it as a meal indicator for the servers, because more than likely your guests will stick them in their purse or pocket when they get to their table and will not put it in front of them visibly for the server to see.
I hope that this has answered your questions when it comes to seating assignments and the difference between place cards and escort cards.
And if you’re interested in chatting about working together for your wedding invitations or day-of stationery, just hop on over to my contact form and let’s chat!
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