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Difference between escort and place cards

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Posted: Thursday, February 24, 2011 7:45 am

Weddings are steeped in tradition. Many couples choose to follow etiquette and formal party rules when hosting one of the biggest days of their lives.

An important aspect of each wedding is ensuring guests are comfortable. Part of this involves informing reception attendants where they will be seated at the dinner and festivities.

Many people mistake escort cards and place cards as being one and the same. They are actually two different components. Escort cards indicate the table where guests will be seated, while place cards indicate which seat guests are assigned to.

Escort Cards

Generally escort cards are displayed on a table outside the reception or dining room. They may be arranged by themselves or more formally packaged within little envelopes. For ease of use, they should be organized alphabetically so that guests can easily recognize their names on the card. They can be worded as such: Mr. John Smith, for a single guest; Mr. & Mrs. John Smith, for a married couple; or Mr. John Smith & Guest, if the guest is unknown. It is considered more polite if the bride and groom inquire as to whom single guests will be bringing so that those people’s name can be used on the escort card as well.

Place Cards

Place cards are used to indicate seats at each table. They will have each individual’s name in front of the place setting at the table. They serve as a way to avoiding seating confrontations at the wedding. Couples and similarly related guests are often placed at the same table. Individuals who may have tense relationships may be separated. Place cards also may make it easier for wait staff to recognize specific people who may have dietary restrictions if informed in advance by the bride and groom.

Escort and place cards do not necessarily have to be “cards.” Creative couples can come up with clever ideas to display seating arrangements. At smaller weddings, it might be possible to hang escort cards on a ribbon or attach them to votive candles that serve as a favor for guests. For an outdoor wedding or a nature-themed event, use faux or real branches and cut slits in one side.

When printing escort cards, do so on leaf-shaped paper and insert into the slits on the branches. Escort cards can also be fashioned into flowers that are attached to sticks planted in a flower pot. The ideas are endless.

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