Place Cards vs. Escort Cards vs. Seating Chart, Oh my!

March 9, 2023

Or, Explore

Photography Credit: Sarah Nichole Photography

Place Cards vs Escort Cards vs Seating Chart

What is the difference and which is right for you? Each of these serve as a way of your guest finding their seat, but each have a different purpose and reason for use.

The Basics:

Place Cards – Cards that have your guests’ names and/or meal choices. They are already placed at each seat at the table.

Escort Cards – Cards that have your guest’s names and table number on them. They may also include a meal choice, if you are having a plated entree. They are grouped on one table in a place that is easy for guests to see them as they make their way to dinner. They are alphabatized. Guests will find their card, read their table and take their card to their table to choose a seat.

Seating Chart – a large printed board that displays each guests’ name, most often in alphabetical order, with the table number clearly listed after their name.

How Do I Know Which I Need?:

Do you have a plated meal choice? If so, you will need to have a card for each guest that shows your wait staff which meal they have pre-selected, so that the wait staff can set down their meal without having to ask each guest what they ordered. (Hint – guests don’t always remember what they selected weeks prior and sometimes, even when they do remember, they may change their answer on the spot if another entree looks better, which will throw off your meal counts!)

Escort Card Table. Photography Credit: Kari Dawson Photography

Cards with notations for meal choices can be pre-placed at each setting and simply have the name and meal choice on each, or they can be placed on a place card table, and have the guest’s name, table number and meal choice on it. If you pre-place the cards at the table, you’ll need a seating chart displayed for guests to find their names and know which table to go to in order to find their seat.

Photography Credit: Natasha Coyle Photography

Seating charts can be arranged in alphabetical order or grouped by table. Any dinner with over 60 guests should have the seating chart alphabetized so you don’t create a bottleneck at the seating chat, with hungry guests waiting to find their name.

Another thing to consider… do you want to tell people what seat to sit in or just what table to sit at? A seating chart, or escort cards with peoples names and table numbers will guide guests to their table but give them the flexibility to choosing any chair they want. If you would like guests seated at certain places, then you’ll want to use a place card that is pre-set at each place, so they know exactly which chair is their’s.

Other fun ideas… Let’s get creative!

Place CARDS don’t actually have to be CARDS. We’ve created luggage tags for a travel themed wedding, to guide guests to their places. We’ve also placed small tags on adorable (and yummy!) limoncello bottles. You name it and it can serve as your place card!

Photography Credit: Redfield Photography.

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