Although the terms escort cards and place cards are often used interchangeably, they are actually technically quite different. When planning an event or wedding reception, it’s helpful to understand the difference, so we’ve put together a quick synopsis of when to use each.
What’s the difference?
Escort cards are used to assign guests to specific tables, but not to specific seats. These cards are usually displayed at the entrance to the reception area for guests to easily see and pick up themselves. They can be elegant folded tent cards, but escort cards are also a great place to get creative and match the theme of your wedding with unique materials.
Place cards are used to assign guests to a specific seat at a table, and can indicate formality — they are almost always part of a black-tie reception. They are placed at the guest tables before the reception is open and can be traditional tent cards, attached to favors, or tucked into a decorative little stand.
And don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Even folded tent cards can be unique by incorporating a variety of design elements, or even by utilizing meaningful places or objects in place of traditional table numbers.
When using place cards, it is helpful to have a seating chart on display in order to avoid guests wandering around tables looking for their specific seat. Sometimes seating charts are used on their own to display table assignments, but their purpose is the same as escort cards – for guests to easily and quickly find their assigned table.
What do I need at my wedding?
Choosing to do escort cards, place cards, or both is entirely dependent on the size and formality of your wedding, and your individual preferences. Most wedding receptions have escort cards or seating charts, while place cards tend to be optional for less formal gatherings.
If you have a specific place you’d like your guests to sit, you might want to think about having place cards in addition to escort cards or a seating chart. However, if you’d just like to direct guests to a certain table and let them choose their seat from there, then escort cards are the way to go. For intimate weddings with only a table or two, escort cards can be unnecessary if guests can easily find their seat without confusion.
Although it’s not usually recommended, skipping both escort and place cards can work if you are having a truly informal wedding where seating is ample and scattered. Assignments help to avoid confusion and the problem of guests wandering around stressing to find a seat.
Do I have to use paper tent cards?
Not at all! Both escort cards and place cards are an opportunity to be creative with unique materials to match your wedding style or theme. Think sand dollars for a beachside bash, polished stones for a garden party or driftwood for a lakeside soiree. You can also choose something that can do double duty, and have an escort card that’s also a favor, like ornaments or mini succulent plants. Your guests are going to love something special with their name on it and will guarantee they’ll remember your big day!
Photography by Zac Wolf Photography
All designs shown here were created by We’re Into It. All photography is our own except where credit is given.