The invitations have gone out, the RSVPs are in, so now it’s time to turn your attention to seating your guests at the wedding reception. While you might have thought completing the wedding seating arrangements was your biggest challenge, you’re now realizing that tackling your wedding seating chart is a whole new ballgame.
When assigning seating for dinner, you’ll need a way to help your guests find their seats. This is when seating charts, escort cards, and place names will come into play. Each is a different type of wedding signage. But wait! You thought these were the same thing? Well, not exactly. To ensure you know what to ask your stationer to create, read on to learn the different types of wedding seating.
A seating chart is usually a board that displays your guest names – often listed alphabetically with table numbers indicated alongside or, depending on the size of your guest list, sometimes grouped under table names or numbers. When creating your wedding seating chart, think about the backdrop and get creative with a mirror or linen-covered board, and use elegant penmanship or special typography to coordinate with your wedding invitations.
An escort card display is an elegant alternative to a seating chart and one of my favorite wedding design elements to dream up for our couples. An escort card typically lists a guest’s name (or names of a family or couple) and lets them know at which table they will be seated. An escort card does not need to be an actual card and for unique couples, can be alternatives such as fruit, a glass of bubbles, or even may double as a favor. Often presented in beautiful displays near the reception area, escort cards offer a fun and creative way for your guests to find their names and transition smoothly to their tables. Escort card displays can be themed with the event or something personal to the couple. They can be large or small, with cards attached to a board or displayed on a table or shelf.
Once at your assigned table, a place card is imprinted with your guest’s name and tells your guest exactly which seat to sit in and is placed directly at each place setting. Personally, I love to incorporate the place name into the dinner menu to personalize to each guest. If you’re serving different menu options, the place name may also double as a meal indicator card subtly marked by a different color or accent to indicate to the caterers a specific protein such as filet or fish.
Wedding Reception Signage – Which do I Recommend?
Whilst both seating charts and escort cards can be visually stunning, I prefer escort cards for a few different reasons. First, from a design standpoint, you can get very creative with escort cards that are both visually stunning and interactive. Second, finding your escort card tends to be slightly easier versus a seating chart; each guest can pull their card off the board and read their table number vs crowding at the display and trying to read their name among 200 other guests.
Third, since a seating chart will likely need to be produced at least two weeks before the wedding, should any of your guests cancel at the last minute, it’s harder to move guests around tables with a pre-calligraphed chart. Instead, escort card displays can be set up the day of, and with removable table numbers on each card, seat assignments can be more flexible should you need to switch up seating.
Bottom line, thoughtfully displayed seating arrangements are one of those touches that we believe adds to a heightened guest experience, ensuring that your guests feel special while adding a real sense of occasion and design to your wedding day. Practical in nature, both seating charts and escort cards help your guests find their table while place cards help them find their seat. Whether you choose to design an escort card display or a seating chart, is a personal choice, but you will need place cards to ensure your guests know their assigned seat when they arrive at their table.
We love to design unique wedding stationery and are thrilled to work with some of the industry’s most creative stationers. As one of the last elements of your wedding planning journey, we can’t wait to help you design your wedding signage. If you’re recently engaged and looking for a full-service wedding planner, contact us to get your wedding planning started.