Escort Cards vs. Place Cards: What’s the Difference?

Trying to nail down all this wedding lingo as you plan your big day? Let’s demystify the difference between these two key elements of your wedding reception. 


Hand-calligraphy on black place cards // by Studio Chavelli // photo by Rebecca Jeanson

Okay. So what's the difference between an Escort Card and a Place Card?

Escort Cards: Think about an usher escorting a guest to their seat—the escort card serves a similar function, telling your guests which table to go to. Usually guests will pick up their escort card from a table and carry it with them. It does not designate a specific seat at the table, just which one to head to. 

Place Cards will tell your guest exactly which seat is theirs. These are typically already part of the place setting at each table, based on your pre-arranged seating plan. Sometimes place cards will do double duty, indicating meal choices and food allergies to the caterers (through color coding, stickers or illustrations).


Do I need both of them at my wedding?

Nope! Not everyone chooses to have assigned seating, so not every wedding or event will have place cards. If you have completely free seating then there’s no need for either one!

Escort cards are also only one way to let your guests know which table is theirs. There are other options such as seating charts and much more creative signage and interactive displays that can help convey this information to your guests.


Name tag place cards with a floral touch // Calligraphy by Studio Chavelli
Capiz Shell place cards with calligraphy // by Studio Chavelli
Hand-calligraphy escort tags on limoncello bottles at an elegant Lake Como wedding in Italy // by Studio Chavelli
Huge mirror seating chart for a Bali wedding //


What are they supposed to look like?

Escort Cards will have the guest’s name on it and their table assignment. Traditionally you’ll see these on tented (folded) cards, but these days creativity reigns supreme! Long gone are the days of printed plain white cards. In contemporary weddings, escort card displays are a wonderful way to bring in an interactive aspect to the occasion, and a visual centerpiece to the cocktail hour. From elaborate styled scenes chock full of themed props to large hanging seating charts, the function of the escort card is one that is necessary, but also affords the perfect opportunity to get creative.

Macaron place cards with calligraphy in edible ink // by Studio Chavelli

Place Cards visually are part of the tablescape and should be treated to work harmoniously with the way a table is set. Color palettes, size, shape, etc., are all considerations when planning these to make sure they work beautifully with the way your reception tables are laid out. Alternatively, place cards can be made specifically to stand out and be a focal point of the table, through contrasting colors, unique materials, and unusual shapes and sizes!


Looking to have custom crafted Escort Cards or Place Cards for your upcoming wedding or event? Please get in touch!




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Wedding 101: The difference between escort cards and place cards //