Ask anyone who has gone through the process, figuring out the seating plan is one of the most brain-racking tasks of wedding planning. Unfortunately, once you have the plan mapped out on paper, there are still more details to consider in this area – specifically, the manner in which your guests will be guided to their seats. Typically, an escort card table or seating chart is used as decorative place marker, welcoming everyone to the reception while instructing them to where they should go and settle into for the rest of the night. The main goals of the escort card table and seating chart are to maintain visual interest, usher seamless flow from Part 1 to Part 2 of the event, and provide clear seating information. Unsure of which option is best for you? We are here to help.
Escort Card Table
Of the two options, the escort card table is a more complex display, requiring detailed forethought in design and execution. The table is usually set up at the entrance to the dining area, and on it are the escort cards (arranged in alphabetical order) with each guest’s name and seating assignment. This setup requires that everyone actually walk up to the display, stop, and find their card, so ample space around the display is necessary to avoid major congestion. NOTE: Unless you specify on the card, guests will have to choose their seat once they locate their designated table.
At the same time, the escort card table opens up the door for couples to be creative and fun while expressing their unique personality and style. An eye-catching floral centerpiece or installation such as a ‘living tree’ or ‘living wall’ can be used to draw people’s attention. The choice of design for the escort cards is very important with hand-written calligraphy, luxe paper, elegant details, accent colors, and thematic flair all making a big impression. Escort cards can even double as wedding favors, which cuts down on excess paper waste while being budget-friendly.
Simply put, the seating chart is a large sign, or a group of small signs, with all your guests’ names clearly written out and arranged by table number. Placed at the entrance to the reception, it allows for a quick transition through spaces as guests simply have to find their name and head to their seat. There is no need to design, make, and neatly set out 100 or more cards, which is cost-effective and cuts down on time, work, and use of additional paper.
The creative possibilities are endless when it comes to materials and styling – acrylic stands, wood, vintage mirrors and painting frames, and chalk boards can all be used to create a beautiful backdrop. Wow-factor is important here – highlight the display with an arrangement of flowers and greenery that ties into the rest of your floral decor. For a personal touch, handwrite each guest’s name (or hire someone to!), include your wedding monogram, wedding date, or a meaningful quote or song lyric. NOTE: You must decide if guests will choose their own seat once they arrive at their table, or if place cards, the more formal and personal option, will be waiting for them at their assigned seat.
As you can see, making sure your wedding guests find their spot at the party requires careful consideration and planning. So escort card table or seating chart, which is right for you? Both options effectively get the job done. In weighing your decision, it really comes down to personal taste rounded out by some practical logistics. Here are some further questions to help set you on the right path: Is the tone of your event formal or more casual? What is your wedding style? Is this a chance for you to exercise your eye for art & design or DIY skills? Where are you at with the budget? What is the transition through spaces at your venue like?