Place Cards vs. Escort Cards vs. Seating Charts

Your wedding reception is quickly approaching and your planner asks:

“How are you going to seat your guests?”

And if your like most couples, the answer to this question is:



I mean, you dream about the dress and the cake and the first look, but how you’re going to seat your guests at your wedding reception probably isn’t up there high on that wedding dream list.

Traditionally, you place your guests where you want them to sit at your wedding reception. This helps you put guests together who know each other, can have a great conversation at your reception and most importantly, keeps any awkward “oops, I didn’t mean to sit by you” circumstances from happening. I mean, if your Aunt Linda and Aunt Carol do not get along, make sure they’re at different tables.

It’s a good idea to seat your guests if you have a traditional, classic wedding. It’s a bit more formal and adds to the elegance of the affair. If you’re doing plated meals that the guest picked ahead of time at your reception, seating your guests is very important.

So now let’s talk:

Place Cards vs. Escort Cards vs. Seating Chart

place cards, seating charts wedding day

Place Cards – Place Cards are placed at the seat of each guest. The exact seat is predetermined so each guest knows exactly where to sit and what they will be eating. Place cards can be used with escort cards or a seating chart.

marble tile place card wedding

Escort Cards – Escort Cards do exactly what their name implies – they escort people to their table. These are usually set out somewhere as your guests enter the reception, if that’s where the cocktail hour is or right as they walk into the reception area. The escort card has their table number on it, but not a particular seat. They can sit anywhere at that table. They can also help indicate meal options.

An escort card can be used to escort someone to their table and then a place card can be at the table to determine the exact seat. It’s a little redundant but can be done.

place cards ewdding food icon

Seating Charts – Seating charts are somewhat like the escort card, but is a board of some sort telling people where they’re going to sit. Seating charts can be listed by table BUT it’s recommended you list people by last name so your guests can easily find their name and what table their at (pro tip).

Again, a place card can be waiting for them at the table, especially if meal choice needs to be indicated.

Fall Autumn Wedding Seating Chart
Blush Floral Watercolor Wedding Seating Chart

So there you go…a breakdown of all things seating at your wedding reception. The best tip is to remember to try to keep it easy for your guests to find their SEAT and to make sure you give yourself enough time between the RSVP deadline and wedding day to plan where you want everyone to sit.

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