Sunday, January 30, 2011
Escort cards or place cards?
As brides get further along in the planning process they start to question how they will seat their guests at the reception. When the question is to assign seats or offer open seating to their guests we always suggest some structure. If you've ever been one of the last people into the lunch room in your high school cafeteria you can relate to the hustle and bustle that ensues with open seating. With structured seating your guests can enjoy the entire cocktail hour, and leisurely find their appropriate table in the reception without having to worry about whether or not they will even find an open seat for both themselves and a date.
So if you've decided on structured seating then the next question is how will you do it? Most brides choose to assign their guests to tables by using small cards with the guest's name and table number listed to let them know where to go in the reception area. It is not uncommon for a bride to refer to these cards as place cards, name cards, escort cards, etc. and to use those words interchangeably. These card names do not all mean the same thing though.
If you are assigning your guests to a table, and allowing them to choose their seat at that table then you would want to use an escort card. Your guests will pick these up during the cocktail hour and take the card into the reception with them.
We always remind our As You Wish brides to place the escort cards in alphabetical order to make it easy for the guests to find their name. Placing the cards in alphabetical order is also something that should be done prior to the morning of the wedding. It can take a lot longer than you would think!
An alternative to escort cards is creating a seating chart to put on display during the cocktail hour, allowing your guests to see where they are seated while saving them the extra step of picking up their escort card.
So now that we've covered the use of escort cards you're probably wondering why any bride would decide to use a different method of seating. Well, a place card is something that you would use in addition to an escort card or a seating chart. After a guest locates his or her table they will then find their place card already included in one of the table settings at that table. This option works well if you have family members or friends that you want to sit at the same table, but not next to each other. It also benefits the serving staff if you are having several menu options for a plated meal because a specific color or symbol on the place card can denote which meal your guest ordered. This can be done with the escort cards as well, but you can't always count on your guests to place the escort card in front of them after they sit down.
If you do choose to use a place card keep in mind that this seating option works best with an escort card or master seating list preluding it. Happy Planning! ♥As You Wish