What are the differences between escort cards and table plans?

Tiffany blue escort cards

Tiffany blue escort cards – etsy.com

A trend originating from American weddings, the escort card is a modern approach to assigning tables to your guests at your wedding reception. It is a tradition that shows respect for guests and adds an extra finishing touch to your wedding meal. An escort card is presented to a guest before they enter the dining hall, and lets them know which table they are to be seated at.

Of course, in order to create your escort cards, you will still need to have worked out your table plan prior to the event. However, the benefit of the escort cards becomes clear when you consider the difficulties arising if guests are unable to attend, or plans are changed at the last minute – escort cards make it a simple matter to simply remove the card for guests who cannot attend and quickly write new ones for surprise changes to the guest list.

The card design can be chosen to coordinate perfectly with any wedding colour scheme and décor and, if you wish, double up as a unique personalised wedding favour.

What are the differences between escort cards and place cards?

An escort card tells a guest which table they will be seated at. A place card, found at the table itself, assigns the guest a place at the table. It is up to you to choose whether to seat couples together or apart at the same table (in which case you should try to alternate male/female) or whether you seat couples at different tables.

What to write on an escort card

Butterfly escort cards

Butterfly escort cards – etsy.com

If you wish to have formal escort cards, you use the same naming protocol as you did for your invitations, i.e. ‘Mr. and Mrs. Michael Brown’. If you wish to be less formal, a simple ‘Sarah and Michael Brown’ is a good alternative.

For unmarried couples, you can either put their names together on one card, or you can use two separate cards. If you are using one card, there appears to be a difference of opinion on who to list first – some sources recommend naming the woman first, others say that it is polite to put the invited guest first. As long as you are consistent, I would imagine that you can decide on your own etiquette in this matter. For an extra personalised touch, you can even add a short personal note to each guest on their card.

How to present the escort cards

Perhaps harking back to the early 1900’s (seen in a previous article), escort cards were traditionally distributed on silver trays. Arranged alphabetically, a butler or server would walk among the guests ensuring that each guest received their card prior to the meal. An alternative to this method is to simply arrange your cards (alphabetically) on a decorated table in the room outside the dining hall.

Escort cards are designed to make the transition to the dining room easier for the guests, so make sure that each guest receives their card in good time prior to the meal being announced, so that the entrance does not get clogged up with guests finding and opening their cards at the last minute. An added bonus is that the cards can act as a fantastic ice breaker, with guests chatting amongst themselves to find out who will be sitting with them.

For a modern day take on escort cards, a quick search on the internet will reveal many creative and artistic ways of presenting and displaying your cards – a great opportunity to add a touch of creative style and a personalised touch to your wedding meal.



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