Wedding Place Card Etiquette and Advice

The Difference Between Place Cards and Escort Cards

Wedding place card idea.

In your wedding planning, you may have come across the terms wedding place cards and escort cards, and if you are not familiar with them you may think that they are one and the same, but there is a difference between the two.


Place Cards

The place card is more formal than the escort card. The wedding place card is usually used on very formal and black-tie events and when table service is given, where each guest has been assigned a specific table and seat. This means that the hosts have careful planned where each guest will sit.

Each place card will have a single guests name printed on it and these are placed on the assigned tables in the seating order indicated by the host before the event starts. To help the guests, find their table easily a seating chart is usually made available at the venue entrance so that the guests can be directed to the appropriate table number where they can find their seat as indicated by the place card.

When creating your seating chart there are two ways this can be done:

  • List your guest’s names alphabetically and place the table number next to the name or,
  • List your guest’s names alphabetically under table numbers.

If you have included an RSVP card with a meal choice option with your invitations you can include your guest’s meal choice on the place card. The best way would be to color code your cards so that they correspond to the dishes being served (you could also use a different stamp for each dish), this will ensure that each of the guests will get the correct meal without the staff having to ask then their choice.

However, this will only work if your guests have returned their meal choice cards back and have filled them in correctly, to ensure this, make sure that the meal choice cards have a space provided so that thee guests can place their names alongside their preferred meal.

Escort Cards

Escort cards are less formal and are used to guide the guest to a designated table. Escort cards are placed collectively together (preferably in alphabetical order) in a location that is easily visible and accessible to the guests usually near the reception entrance.

You can either give each guest their own escort card or you can have a shared card for couples. Each escort card will be named and a table number on it, the guest can collect their card and go to the table number indicated on the card where they chose their own seat at that table. Escort cards can also be color coded for plated meals.

You could use either place cards and escort cards on their own or if you prefer you could use them both. If you are using both you would not need to use a seating chart as your escort cards will guide your guests to their assigned table.

Escort Card Etiquette

Just like your wedding invitations you address your escort cards according to the formality of your wedding. A rule to remember is that for formal weddings you should always use titles such as Dr, Judge, Mr and Mrs and so on just as you would when addressing your wedding invitations. For a casual wedding, you can forgo the titles and use first and last names and always remember to include the table number on the escort card.

If your wedding is formal you will write the guest’s surname, title and table number.

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If you have more than one guest with the same last name you would include their first name.

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If your wedding is informal you would use the guests first and last name.

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For married couples at a formal wedding you would write, both titles and the husbands frist and last name.

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For married couples at an informal wedding you would write, wifes first name and husbands first name followed by their last name.

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If your wedding is formal and a couple different surnames you would write the woman’s first and last name first followed by the man first and last name with their titles.

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If your wedding is informal and a couple different surnames you would write the woman’s first and last name first followed by the man first and last name without titles.

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If you have a guest bringing a plus one and you don’t know the guests name - first you should make the effort to find out the name of the guest. However, there might be times when you can’t find out this information because the guest is unsure as to who they will bring, you could fill out the card like this.

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At a formal wedding where families with children under ten are sitting at the same table.

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At an informal wedding where families with children under ten are sitting at the same table.

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Addressing Wedding Place Cards

You would use all the same rules as you would addressing the escort cards, the only difference is that every guest at your wedding gets a place card.

Formal style

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Informal style.

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When a guests name is unknown.

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