Escort Cards, Place Cards and Seating Charts. What’s the Difference?

Every now and then, someone will ask me about the difference between an escort card and a place card (and when should they use them).  If you are not in the wedding industry, it can be confusing — I must confess that I never heard of the word, “escort card” before I began working in the wedding industry.

Rhinestone Escort Card. Howerton+Wooten Events. Charlie Shin Photography.

The purpose of escort cards is to assign wedding guests to their table for the reception. You will usually find the escort cards at the cocktail reception or in a location near the entrance of the wedding reception. Quite often, escort cards are small folded cards with a wedding guest’s name and table assignment on them. If guests were given an opportunity to select their entree in advance, the escort card may also include the menu selection.

White Orchid Floral Arrangement. Escort Cards. Howerton+Wooten Events.


Place cards are typically used in conjunction with escort cards at very formal or black tie weddings. The place cards are used to dictate the actual seating of the wedding guests at each table, so they are set at each of the guests’ place settings prior to the start of the dinner reception. Typically, place cards are used to assign seating at small events, such as dinner parties. If you find you are a little confused about the difference between escort cards and place cards, remember that ESCORT cards “escort” you to your table while PLACE cards puts you in your PLACE at the table.

A seating chart at a wedding or event is a sign that lists the guests’ names and table assignments for the reception. Some seating charts are broken down by table numbers, but I highly encourage you to organize the list in alphabetical order. Guests will typically find the seating chart on an easel located near the entrance of the wedding reception. Couples typically use a seating chart at their wedding when the guest count is too large for escort cards and/or when the wedding guests didn’t have an opportunity to select their entree in advance.

If you are unsure about when to use an escort card and when to use a seating chart, remember that the only goal of a seating chart is to inform your guests where they are SEATED at a reception.

Mirror Seating Chart. Howerton+Wooten Events.

For more details regarding your wedding day stationery, check out of Wedding Stationery Guidebook!

Love & Soul Always, Kay

Photo #1 (Escort Cards) by Charlie Shin Photography

Photo #2 (Escort Cards) by Stephen Bobb Photography

Photo #3 (Seating Chart) by Internal Expedition Images by Dexter Cohen



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