What is the difference between place cards and escort cards?

When planning your wedding, the last thing you really care about is wedding stationery terminology and the subtle differences in what it all means. Why can’t it all be tasting champagne and cake, right?!

We often receive questions about seating cards for the wedding reception – mainly what IS the difference between a place card and an escort card and does it really matter?

While both cards designate where guests will be seated at a wedding, they really do serve two different purposes, promise!

Escort cards are used to direct guests to their assigned table, usually designated by a number, but sometimes a clever name personal to the couple.

They are almost always displayed near the entrance to the reception so guests can pick them up upon entering the space. Sometimes escorts are replaced by a large seating chart list, but we’re partial to the smaller cards ourselves.

Photo by Jesse Leake

Escort cards can also list couples on the same card, which is a slightly more traditional style. It is also perfectly acceptable for each guest to receive their own, even if they are married.

We also love that escort cards offer a way to be personal and creative with your wedding details. Getting married in Napa Valley? Use mini olive oil bottles that double as favors to anchor escorts. Have a love for travel? Gift guests personalized luggage tags with escort details and names inside.

Photo by The Edges Photography

Photo by Melanie Duerkopp

Place cards are a bit more specific, directing guests to a particular seat at their table after they have already picked up their escort cards.

Place cards will be displayed at each place setting and will sometimes have a meal indicator added to them to let the wait staff know the entrée each guest selected on the reply card. Meal indicators are for plated dinners only and can be denoted by using different colors or a small icon.

Menus can also double as place cards with the guest names printed on digitally or hand written by a calligrapher. This is a beautiful way to keep the place setting unfussy while still directing guests to their seats.

Keep in mind, place cards are totally optional! You can opt to forgo specifying seat assignments and allow guests to seat themselves at their designated tables for a more relaxed feel.

Photo by Michelle Beckwith

Whether you choose both an escort card and a place card, or opt solely for an escort card, both are designed to to keep the flow of the wedding day organized and guests happy!

Day of paper goods are the little details that make the day come to life. Here are a few ways to add that special, unique and customized touch. So, get creative with your planner and paper designer to create a celebration that is both personal and heartfelt!

xo, Jillian

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