Escort Card TreeEscort cards are a modern slant on the traditional wedding seating plan. Each guest is presented with a card before they enter the dining hall, to let them know which table they will be seated at. Often, the cards are folded and placed alphabetically on a tray, but you can use this idea to add home-made style and elegance to your event, by making a beautiful escort card tree.

First, choose a container…

You need to look for a vase or pot that will not be difficult to balance when it has tall branches in it, so ideally they will be ceramic (heavier than plastic) and not too tall.

Remember, you can have more than one escort card tree. For a table top display, aim to hang about 20-30 cards per tree, with different sizes of tree to add variety. If you can find a big enough pot, and big enough branches, you could make a huge floor standing escort card tree, although you need to put some thought into the design so that guests can find their card easily.

Colour scheme

If you cannot find anything that matches your colour scheme, then simply buy some ceramic flower pots and either paint them or cover them in matching fabric. Decorate with coordinated ribbons, gems or embellishments.

Next, create your tree(s)…

Go for a long walk in the woods and pick up any interesting branches that you see on the ground, and take them home to dry out for a few days. Alternatively, many florists or pet shops will be able to sell you some branches. (Yes, it made me stop and think too – pet shops sell them because budgies and cockatiels sit on branches in their cages!)

If you want to paint the branches, then probably the easiest way is to use spray paint – but remember to do this in a well ventilated area on some old newspaper or sheets.

Purchase some ‘oasis‘ (florist’s foam) or Styrofoam, from a craft or florist’s shop. Cut a piece to fit snugly in each container that you are using, to about an inch below the top of the pot. Push the branches in, making sure that you choose your branches carefully to make sure that the cards will be evenly hung at a variety of levels. To cover the foam, simply put some tissue paper, organza material, moss or glass beads on top so that it doesn’t show.

Here is a useful video that shows how to mount a manzanita branch in a pot using styrofoam, glue and moss.

If you would like a real tree, visit your garden centre for a small ‘manzanita‘ tree, or olive tree. The happy couple can then take the tree home as a lasting memory of their wedding day.

Finally, hang your escort cards…

Have a look at our calligraphy article for tips on how you can write your own beautiful cards, or design your cards using a word processing package. Print them out on coordinating card, and punch a hole in each card to loop coordinating ribbon through.

If you have a lot of cards to hang, hang them alphabetically so that the guests will be able to find their cards easily.

Get creative

Add sparkle to your tree by hanging crystals from the branches, or create natural beauty with fresh flowers and leaves adorning your tree. If your wedding has a theme to it, use your tree to continue it through into your reception. For example, here is a beautiful example of a spring time cherry blossom escort card tree, and this is a lovely butterfly themed escort card tree. Have a look on our Pinterest board for more ideas ranging from simple autumn leaves to contemporary modern designs.

Image of escort card tree courtesy of Ashley Palmero via Flickr.

A little bit about Adam, founder of TopTablePlanner...

Adam has been working in the wedding industry since 2006. After discovering that arranging the seating is one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding, he launched TopTablePlanner in 2007. See his Google+ profile.