Sometimes, these are thought to be one in the same. So, what is the difference between an Escort Card and a Place Card?
An Escort Card is usually displayed on a table or in some creative way in the area where cocktail hour is held. At some point during the cocktail hour, guests will find their Escort Card that tells them which table they will be seated at. It simply shows their name and the number or name of their table.
Once they have found their table, they will then find the seat at that table where their place card rests.
I’ve found, with my own clients, that Place Cards tend to be what they use, solely. They display the Place Cards during the cocktail hour, rather than the Escort Cards. When guests find their Place Card during cocktail hour, they find their table, and choose a seat anywhere at the table.
Choosing which is right for you depends on how structured you prefer the seating.
There are clients I have worked with that give serious thought to foregoing the Place Cards or Escort Cards altogether, and want to allow guests to find their own seating anywhere in the reception space. I always advise against it. While it sounds cozy and thoughtful in theory, your guests want some guidance. They don’t want to have to worry about whether or not their seating choice is okay with someone else, and that they aren’t sitting where they shouldn’t be. They don’t want to have to guess what’s appropriate. It’s a relief for them to be guided in this way, and most people are expecting to be guided. While I believe weddings can be customized for what makes sense for you, straying from this particular tradition can create confusion.
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(Images from Sweet Violet Bride and OnceWed)