• Trendy Tuesday: Place Cards vs. Escort Cards

  • Place Cards and Escort Cards, what’s the difference?

    Did you even know that there is a difference? Probably not, many people don’t and use the terms interchangeably. Although they may be exactly the same in appearance, it is the way you use them that is the difference. There are even pros and cons to each that you need to know about!

    {Place Cards} are also a cute card or object with the guest’s name on it, but you already knew that! The main difference in a place card is that the card is displayed at the guest’s assigned seat. This is considered the more traditional and more formal way. Place cards are also very important when you are serving a plated meal, a symbol can be displayed on the card that communicates to the wait staff to say which entree was chosen by that guest. So what are the pros & cons of using place cards?


    • You control where your guests sit and make sure Uncle Jim and Aunt Stacey aren’t sitting close to each other
    • Won’t get lost on the way to the table
    • Can be a memento or keepsake of your special day
    • Great way to show off your creativity


    • Can be difficult for guests to find their seats, causing them to wander around each table until they find their names

    blue stone place cards navy blue place cards green leaf place cards

    Photos (from left to right) via Etsy.com, DWeddings.com, & Snippet & Ink

    {Escort Cards} are basically a cute card or object with the guest’s name on it, just like a place card. They can be anything from just folded cardstock to a champagne flute with the name hand painted on the side. Here is where the difference lies: escort cards will also display a table number and essentially show or escort the guest to their assigned table. Also, an escort card would be used for assigned table but not assigned seats.

    Traditionally, escort cards are displayed at the entrance to the reception space or during cocktail hour and is considered to be less formal. As guests make their way to their seats they pick up their card or object and take it to their seat with them. An escort card may also display a symbol that lets the wait staff know which meal the guest has ordered (as seen below). So what are the pros and cons?


    • Allow your guests to choose their seat at the table you have picked for them
    • Can be a memento or keepsake of your special day
    • Less formal than a place card
    • Can easily be tied into your theme


    • If misplaced, guest doesn’t know where to sit {Pro tip: make sure your coordinator has a guest list with assigned tables, just in case this happens!}
    • Can be difficult to find you name when you are staring at 200 of them, this can cause a backup so allow for extra time
    • Can be stressful if you are making them yourself

    place card with meal selection honey jar escort card potted succulent escort card

    Photos (from left to right) via Etsy.com, Brit.co, & Ruffled

    Bonus: Seating Charts! Some couples decide to forego this whole card mess altogether and go with a seating chart instead. They come in all shapes and sizes, matching any theme or color scheme. From window panes to chalkboards to printed diagrams in a pretty frame, the possibilities are endless! While accomplishing many of the same things that a place card or escort card would do, there are some pros and cons to seating charts, as well.


    • There is only one piece rather than 200
    • Easy to find your name
    • Simple & Organized
    • Can’t be misplaced on the way to the table
    • Fun keepsake for the newlyweds


    • Doesn’t work for plated meals since there isn’t something at your seat to show to the wait staff
    • Guests may still have a hard time find their names {Pro tip: Organize by Last Name, not table number to avoid this!}
    • Guests can’t take home the chart as a keepsake

    gold frame seating chart handpainted wooden seating chart window pane seating chart

    Photos (from left to right) via Ruffled, Southern Weddings, & Knotsvilla

    So what do you think will work best for your wedding? With so many possibilities, all of them being equally creative and customizable it really comes down to knowing the differences. Just remember: Place cards are for assigned seats, Escort Cards and Seating Charts are for assigned tables. Seating charts cannot be used if having multiple-option, plated meals.

    We hope you learned something new today and feel confident about which style you will choose for your big day! For more ideas, check out our Pinterest, we have a whole board dedicated to place cards and escort cards. We can’t wait to see what you decide and how you will make it your own!