Alphabetically Last Flower On A List Of Familiar Ones Wedding Reception Seating Cards: The 411

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Wedding Reception Seating Cards: The 411

Confused about seating card? You are not alone! Here’s a quick reference guide to the most common types, along with some etiquette tips and display ideas.

Seating Cards: This is the overall name for the category. Both escort cards and place cards are types of seating cards.

Escort Cards: These cards tell your guests which table to sit at. It includes guest name and table number/name. You can have one card for each guest or include couples on the same card. They can also indicate access options for catering staff (if so, you’ll need one card for each guest). Escort cards are usually displayed at the reception entrance. Styles range from simple flat or tent cards to luggage tags, rocks or leaves, miniature chairs, fruit, flowers, and the list goes on. It’s great if it coordinates with the colors and theme of your reception. Some couples personalize their favors to double as escort cards.

Escort Card Display: Beautifully printed escort cards look great simply placed on the table, especially if you add some flowers or other decorative items. But if you want to jazz it up a bit, there are tons of creative ideas out there. Lay down the rows of ribbons on a table or straight board and slide your cards down. You can use wooden shutters, beads or hay boxes, string them in a line with clothespins, cut slits in cork or pine cones, use magnetic boards or hang them on tree branch streamers. Whichever display you choose, keep guest convenience in mind: make sure cards are in alphabetical order and within easy reach without obstructions. If you’re displaying them outside or in a doorway, don’t forget to protect them from drafts!

Place Cards: These cards tell your guests which seat to take at the table and can also be used to indicate entrée choices to the catering staff. You will need one for each guest. Place cards are displayed on or near the plate in each setting. If you’re using place cards, you can also choose an escort card – or you can direct your guests to their tables with a seating chart at the reception entrance. The use of place cards can signal a more formal reception – but they can also be used for more casual receptions that are small enough that guests don’t need escort cards or seating charts to find their tables.

Seating Chart: A seating chart can be used instead of an escort card to tell guests where to sit. This can be a list of guest names, grouped by table number/name. It can also be a diagram, showing seat assignments and table locations, which can be useful at large receptions. Some couples opt for seating charts as an eco-friendly alternative to paper escort cards. Your chart can be printed, handwritten on glass or chalkboard, calligraphed, framed – as simple or elaborate as you like. Just make sure it’s visitor friendly, in other words easy to read.

What’s in a name? As with most modern wedding etiquette, the former term “rules” is optional. How you format the guest names on your seating cards is really a matter of personal preference, although most couples like their formality or informality to match the overall style of the wedding. Generally, the use of titles (Mr., Mrs., Mrs., Miss) indicates a more formal wedding style. But first and last names are perfectly acceptable for any style only if you like it. Be sure to get the names of all the “plus-ones” on your list—saying “and guests” is a general no-no.

Is assigned seating really necessary? Yes (in my humble opinion and most marriage professionals). When you’re trying to put together a delicate seating puzzle at the eleventh hour, you’ll be tempted to give up and let everyone else take their turn. While this may work for some, it is guaranteed to be uncomfortable for many. Hang in there. While you might not save your guests from the awkwardness of a school cafeteria, you might just spark new friendships—and who knows, even new romance—by intentionally getting to know people (ie, ditch the dreaded “singles” table, please!). One exception: if your reception is small and everyone really knows (and likes) everyone else, let them mix and mingle and sit wherever they want.

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