Escort Cards VS. Place Cards & Seating Charts Too

Did you know there’s a difference between escort cards and place cards? Probably not. Many people don’t. In fact, many people use the terms interchangeably. Even I have been found guilty of this crime. I think over time, the line between escort cards and place cards became so blurred everyone viewed them as simply one and the same. As a wedding blogger, I know that when I tag an image as such, I use both terms so brides looking for inspiration can find them either way. But there is a difference between place cards and escort cards. There are even pros and cons for each. Then, there are seating charts too! So many decisions, so little time, so many guests to get sorted and seated just fine! Tell me, did you like my rhyme? ;)

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Photo by Mango Studios via Style Me Pretty

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Teacup Escort Cards design by Georgeous Events photo by Jonathan Ong via Ruffled

Rustic Place Cards photo by Aaron Delesie via Style Me Pretty

{Escort Cards} are generally little cards with the guest’s name and table assignment written or printed on them. Over the years, brides have gotten very creative with these. Everything from folded card stock with embossed lettering or calligraphy to card stock sitting in peaches or wine corks to being pinned up with clothespins to paint chips, and even pinwheels! These are usually arranged in a creative manner at the entrance to the reception for guests to find their name and corresponding table and seat.

Pros:

  • You can show off your creativity and/or personality
  • You can easily tie them into your theme
  • You could have a ton of fun making them
  • Guests could really get a kick out of them
  • Guests might enjoy them even after the wedding is one

Cons:

  • If you’re making them yourself, there’s stress, anxiety and organization to contend with
  • If you didn’t hire a wedding planner, guess who’s setting them up the day of?
  • Guests might have a hard time finding their cards

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Photo by Stephanie Fay Photography via Style Me Pretty

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Photos by Amanda K Photography via Heart Love Weddings

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Idea & Photos by Emily Steffen Photography via Southern Weddings

{Place Cards} are generally little cards with the guest’s name found on the table at the place where the guest will be sitting. Just like escort cards, these can be very simple and formal (folded card stock with embossed lettering or calligraphy) or really creative and fun (much like that of the escort cards).

Pros:

  • Same as the escort card pros above

Cons:

  • Same as the escort card cons above
  • Guests might have a hard time finding their cards, wandering aimlessly from table to table until they’ve found the one

Note: Sometimes, if there is a formal plated dinner, one might find that they have both an escort card and a place card. (Where the difference between them first originated, I presume.) The escort card was at the entrance to the reception directing guests to their table. At the table, guests would then find their name at their assigned seat. This makes the serving staff’s job a bit easier when bringing the correct plated meals to guests.

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Photos by Tina Bass via Southern Weddings

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Photos by Natalie Franke Photography & Krista A. Jones Photography via Bayside Bride

{Seating Charts} Some brides choose to forego both escort cards and place cards in lieu of a seating chart. These have also gotten very creative over the years. Chalkboards, windowpanes, pretty printed lists in frames, the list goes on and on.

Pros:

  • It’s organized
  • It’s simple
  • It’s easy for guests to find their name
  • It can easily fit into your theme
  • It’s one piece, not a hundred

Cons:

  • If you’re making it yourself, there’s stress, anxiety and organization to contend with
  • If you have bad handwriting
  • Guests might still have a hard time finding their name
  • Guests don’t get to take your chart home as a keepsake

Tip: You can organize these alphabetically by name, numerically by table number or both (list the table numbers and organize the names at each in alphabetical order).

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Design by Tying the Knot Wedding Coordination Photo by Greer G Photography via Style Me Pretty

Photo by Lisa Boggs Photography via Style Me Pretty

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Photo by Lavender & Twine via Style Me Pretty

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Calligraphy by Meant to be Calligraphy photo by Brian Tropiano Photography via Southern Weddings

Sweet Tea Escort Card Idea by Southern Fried Paper photo by Sarah Kate, Photographer via Southern Weddings

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Design by A Garden Party Floral Creations via Wedding Chicks

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Photo by Jessamyn Photography via Style Me Pretty

Floral Design by Blush Botanicals photo by Joielala Photography via Style Me Pretty

Did you learn something today? Did you know there was a difference between escort cards and place cards? What did you use on your big day? Do you have a preference when you go to a wedding? What do you think of all the creative ways to seat your guests these days?

Happy Friday!

xoxo

Comments

  1. says

    Agreed. This is a great post. It’s funny how the term is used interchangeably and people really don’t know that there is a difference. I did a post a while ago on the two for the same reason. By the way, yes I did like your rhyme!

    • AlexandraAlexandra says

      Thank you so much, Lissahn! The whole post stemmed from a rant I went on the other day when I was looking for a cute escort card table and kept finding place cards and seating charts when I typed in escort cards. I was like don’t people know the difference?! Then I realized that no, they probably don’t. We forget sometimes that while we (as an industry) know the “little” things, new brides don’t. Which is why I love writing tips posts so much – putting a new spin on the “little” things and making them known! Thanks again! xoxo

  2. says

    This is a fantastic writeup on the differences between escort cards, place cards and seating charts. Very concise and I enjoyed the creative images you used. Thanks for putting this out there, because I know when I was a bride, I had no idea what the difference was between escort vs place cards.

  3. Danielle says

    Hi!

    I am looking for some ideas on how to guide guests to their seats without a seating chart… The good thing is guests can mingle around the tables during cocktail hour. I was also thinking about having 2 people with a list of where everyone is seated to help direct people toward their seats more easily. Everyone will have a pre-assigned seats but I really don’t want to name or number the tables and I don’t want to make escort cards. Do you have any ideas?

    Danielle

    • Alexandra says

      Hi Danielle!

      Without a seating chart, escort cards, table numbers or names, I’m afraid there aren’t many other options. I’m also worried that guests will be confused. When people walk into a reception, they know to look for a seating chart or escort cards that say their name/table number and then go there to set up camp so to speak. Without that direction, I’m afraid it could be a harried mess of people that are just not sure where to go, or what to do. It’s practically engrained in our brains to look for some sort of direction. Open seating is certainly an option, but there’s always issues that could crop up there as well. Having ushers, like you would at the ceremony, is also an option. But depending on the size of your wedding, you might want to have more than two, so people aren’t stuck at the door in a crowd waiting to get in. It’s certainly doable, you just want to make it as easy and stress-free for your guests as possible.

      I hope that’s helpful :)

  4. Judith Greene says

    How is the table number on the inside of the escort card written? Table two? Table two (two underneath)?
    Table 2

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