Devonna here, breaking down all the details for our lovely couples on this often mysterious part of wedding planning - Place Cards Vs Escort Cards! What in the world are they, why do they have different names, and why on earth do I have to devote so much of my planning time to them??? If you’ve found yourself scratching your head, and feeling a little in over your head, have no fear, we’re here to help!
First things first! What is an Escort Card and what’s a place card? They’re really very similar - in fact, they’re exactly the same, the main difference is how they’re used. Both are a card, which can be flat, folded, fun shaped, etc. that states a guests name, and often will include their table assignment, and some sort of meal preference indicator. These should be designed to be pretty clear and straight forward - as they are a functional piece who’s purpose is to let your guests know what table they’ve been assigned to, and let your venue staff know what meal they’ve previously selected.
ESCORT CARDS - These are usually placed at the front/entrance to your reception area. Often arranged on a table top, or hung on a cute backdrop, etc. along with a sign indicating that your guests should find their name, and take their card to their assigned table. Sometimes these will be used along with place cards, but typically they’re used in place of a place card.
PLACE CARDS -These are used to hold a specific seat at each table for a guest. They are pre-arranged at each table (meaning you’ve determined not only what table they will be seated at, but what spot at the table). When using place cards, we recommend also purchasing a seating chart for the front/entry of the reception area - the last thing we want is 200+ guests wandering through a huge space trying to find their seat!
If you’re planning a wedding where you’re asking your guests to pre-select their entrée, you’ll need to plan on using place or escort cards for your big day. Your RSVP cards should ask them to select their meal, per guest attending. As you receive these responses you will keep track of all attending guests in a spreadsheet, and indicate their meal preference. Once you have a good idea of your attending guests, you can then determine their table assignment. In some cases, our couples opt to not assign seating, in which case their escort card would simply state the guests’ name and meal choice.
MEAL INDICATORS - This is a question we get asked about by our couples all the time. Here’s what you need to know:
We can either write out their chosen option “Beef”, “Chicken”, etc, use a cute icon as an indicator, or color code the cardstock (burgundy for beef, champagne for chicken, etc.)
It’s important to make the meal indicator as easy to determine as possible! Don’t place it on the back, or ask us to make them too small, or use cardstock colors that are too similar, or that might look the same in low lighting. (like blush, silver and champagne, which all appear white in a dimly lit room). Your evening will run sooooooo much smoother if you make this as simple for the catering staff as possible.
You do not want the catering staff to have to ask a guest what meal they ordered - this becomes problematic as your guest may have forgotten what they requested, or may think it’s ok to change their minds last minute (because man, does that filet look delish!). This will throw off your carefully planned numbers, so let’s avoid that!
So now that you know what they are, and why they are important, here’s what you need to know about ordering yours!
Gather all your data - keep a nice, nerdy spreadsheet in excel or google sheets, and as you get your RSVP’s back be sure to add each guests name and if needed, meal choice. Your guests’ name should be in Cell A, table assignment in Cell B, and meal option in Cell C.
I recommend filling out their name as you want it to appear, from the very beginning - that way you don’t have to update these a million times. Ex. Mr. Mike Miller or Mike Miller - the formality of this is totally up to you and the type of wedding you’re planning.
Get your spreadsheet to us at least 3 weeks before your big day, that way we have time to design, proof and produce your cards. If you’re not in the Albuquerque area we will need to ship them to you, so you’ll want to be sure to account for that as well. Priority shipping is typically 3 business days.
We loooooooooove creating fun, fresh new designs, so don’t hesitate to ask us for something different, and always feel free to come to us with ideas you have for your place cards! We love incorporating deckled edges, white ink printing, vellum, wax seals, silk ribbon, fun shapes, and anything else you can imagine - whatever you’re looking for to put the finishing touches on YOUR day!
Is all this talk about meals making you hungry for more fresh design ideas? Head on over to our Day of Stationery Galleries and browse all your favorite looks! https://www.funkyolivedesign.com/day-of-stationery-gallery