Escort Cards Versus Place Cards and Other Seating Items

Category: Beyond Wedding Invitations | Published on: August 7, 2016

A photo of a folded escort card on an empty plate at an elaborate wedding table scape, with words "Escort cards, place cards, and other seating stationery."
Escort Cards. Place Cards. Seating Charts. Oh my! | photo by Anna Bowser Photography

You’re done with the big stuff. Venue, done. Photographer, done. Catering, done. Now it’s on to the nitty-gritty details of your wedding day, including all the little bits of paper you’ll need for your reception seating. So what *do* you need, exactly? What's the difference between escort cards versus place cards? Seating charts? Table numbers?

Escort Cards

Close up of folded escort cards with purple flowers on a bed of moss.
Escort cards are usually used without a seating chart. Instead of one large sign, escort cards have the guest’s name along with which table they’re assigned to. The cards are displayed near the entrance, sometimes on a table and sometimes in a hanging display. Guests take their escort card to their seat with them.

Place Cards

A photo of a folded escort card on an empty plate at an elaborate wedding table scape, with words "Escort cards, place cards, and other seating stationery."
Place cards are used when guests have been assigned a specific seat on a seating chart, and only include the guest’s name. They are included in the place setting, such as on the table or tied around the napkin.

Seating Chart

Seating chart in burgundy and gold | Wedding Invitations by CharmCat Stationery & Design
There’s a couple ways to assign seating. By table means that you’ve assigned guests a table to sit at, but don’t care which seat they take. You could also assign individual seats if you want to make sure certain guests sit next to each other (or very far apart from each other).

The seating chart takes the form of a big sign near the entrance (like the escort cards would be). While you’ll see a lot of seating charts that list guests by table, you really should have your seating chart done alphabetically so guests can find themselves more quickly.

Table Numbers

If you’re assigning tables, you need some way of naming the tables! The traditional way is to simply number them, but don’t let the name “table numbers” fool you. You can name them after movie characters, geographic locations, anything you want.

Menu Cards

Menu cards can play double-duty as place cards or table numbers!

Unless your guests picked their meals on their reply card, you'll want to let everyone know what's on the menu. For a served meal, you may do individual menus at each place setting (and then you can also put each guests name on it like a place card) or do a larger menu at the center of each table (and it can double as the table number).

It’s up to you how you design your seating plan (or choose to do open seating) but make sure there’s plenty of signage so your guests know what to do!

— Ashleigh

See other posts about: escort card vs place card, escort cards, menu card, place cards, reception, reception sign, reception stationery, seating card, seating chart, seating plan, seating sign, table number, table sign, wedding jargon, wedding planning, wedding vocabulary

4 thoughts on Escort Cards Versus Place Cards and Other Seating Items

  • I’ve never seen the use of escort cards before but they seem a great idea. Table naming is great as it helps to theme your day. I had a couple who were heavily into cycling and named their tables after great cycle races.

    • Yes, I love creative table names! I’ve seen quotes, bible verses, names of cities the couple had visited, and I did my own as different types of tea.

  • Great tip about naming tables!

    And one additional tip for couples: Whatever you choose, *please*, for the love of all things wild and wonderful, alphabetize your seating stationery by guests’ last names!

    It’s been a cute trend to list out names by table – and sometimes starting with first names (“Table 8: Mary & John Smith, Maria & Juan Perez”, etc.) – but it takes a longer time for guests to find their names that way, as they have to search *every* table listing. Whether it’s a seating chart or escort cards, alphabetized by last name is quicker, and will start your reception moving on time and smoothly!

    • Yes, it’s definitely the best way to do them! You can put them into your spreadsheet in what ever order is easiest, but don’t forget to reorder by last name.

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