Hello, Escort Cards!  Whether we have Pinterest or the recovering economy to thank for the resurgence of Escort Cards on the wedding day “must-have” list…they have certainly made a comeback as part of the de ri·gueur wedding. (Here’s one for the scrabble junkies out there…de ri-gueur adjective \də-(ˌ)rē-ˈgər\ : necessary if you want to be fashionable, popular, socially acceptable, etc.)  For the savvy multi-tasking bride the escort card can also double as the guest favors.  With an array of creative options, it’s easy to understand why. Inspiration is everywhere…The Knot, lettered olive, and  Pinterest (of course).

(128 South “Real Weddings” Escort Cards)

Novelty aside, escort cards have a specific purpose. Each escort card should include the guests name and their assigned table number for dining.  Equipped with this information, the guests can easily find their seat.  For those of you wondering what the difference is between Escort Cards and Place Card…it’s simple.  Once the guest arrives at their assigned table, the Place Card is placed at their assigned seat. (This really takes the guess work out of the equation for your guests.)

In the event that you have endeavored into the “daunting-yet-terribly-elegant” plated dinner, the place card is critical. For the purpose of the plated dinner, the place card should include the guest’s name and their entree selection.  (And, the choice to host a plated dinner needs to be made early on in the planning process as the entree selection options need to be included on the RSVP cards.) The entree selections should be indicated on the place card by a symbol, a color, or any number of creative indicators.  Can the Escort Card and Place Card be one and the same, you ask?  They can.  A word of warning:  often times Escort Cards end up in jacket pockets or handbags making it rather difficult for the catering staff to serve the appropriate entree without auctioning off the dish.  (No caterer wants their staff to “auction off” food.)

In lieu of escort cards, a seating chart can be a great alternative when physical space is limited or when the elements like wind might wreak havoc on an otherwise gorgeous display of escort cards. If you opt for the seating chart and are hosting a plated dinner, the place cards are an absolute must.

(Seating Chart Inspiration from 128 South “Real Weddings”)

Phew.  So, now that you know the difference between the escort card, place card, and a seating chart…it’s important to rely on the expertise of your wedding vendors and professionals.  They can help determine which (if any) of these items are needed for your special day.  None of these items are necessary if you aren’t planning to assign tables or seats for your guests…though, they certainly do add a nice touch to the festivities.