Place cards vs. Escort cards - what's the difference?
For most of us when we see a tented card with the name of a wedding guest on it we assume that it's a place card. Oh wait, or is that an escort card? Do you understand the difference?
I've been seeing the terms "place card" and "escort card" used interchangeably as if they are the same thing but actually they are not the same and they serve different purposes. The truth is that it can be a little confusing. Even I became confused when looking at pictures on Pintrest and other websites where there was a picture and it was categorized under place card, when really it was an escort card. So, I decided to clearly spell it out here just what the differences are between place cards and escort cards ... oh and how they work with table cards and a seating chart.
The picture below with David Francis and Addis Francis is an example of place cards. The card has the guests name but no table number. The place card is set strategically at the guests designated seat at the guests designated table. To help guests find their seat there is usually a seating chart letting guests know what table they are at. This is where the table card comes in; each table has one whether it is numbered or customized with a name guiding your guest to their seat.
In the first picture the place card is used from our June Bride of the Month and the second set of pictures with seating chart is from our October Bride of the Month. The beautiful photographs of the seating chart and table setting are by Jacque Lynn Photography. Click on a link to see more about our brides.
Below is an example of escort cards. Note that the name of the guest is printed but also there is a table number included. In this particular instance the table number is printed on the inside of the card but it could have been on the front as well and still be an escort card. The accompanying table card indicates the table just like with place cards. A table alphabetically displaying all of the escort cards is strategically placed at the entrance to the reception and guests simply look for their name then take the escort card and find the table they are assigned to. Once at the table guest can seat themselves anywhere at the designated table.
In some cases a bride will use both escort cards and place cards. Escort cards would be displayed at the entrance to the reception exactly like in the description above for escort cards - but when the guest arrived at their designated table they would find that each seat at the table has been assigned and they would find the seat at the table with the place card for their seat.
Table cards are simply an indication of what each table has been named or numbered. In the set above the bride and groom chose to name the tables after sports teams. We've also used names of flowers and names of ski resorts for table cards. Personalizing your table cards can be a fun way to interject the personality of the bride and groom into you wedding.
An easy way to remember the difference is a place card does just that, puts you in a specific place. An escort card "escorts" you to a table or tells you where to go.
Whether it’s a wedding or a formal event hosts everywhere are always coming up with creative ways to use place cards and escort cards. So depending on how big or small your event is using place cards/escort cards or both is always a great idea to help guest feel comfortable at finding just where they fit in.