Seating chart vs escort cards: which one do you need, and more importantly, which one is better to have at your wedding?
In this post, we’ll help you choose between seating charts vs escort cards to work best with your wedding. We’ll also tell you what a seating chart is, where you can find them, what kinds of escort cards are available, and where you can get them.
It’s all right here! :) We make it easy!
Seating Chart vs Escort Cards
First, let’s talk about what seating charts or escort cards have in common. Simply put: they tell your guests where to be seated at your wedding reception.
Once your RSVPs arrive in the mail, you can start creating seating arrangements and figure out where your guests will be assigned to sit. Seating arrangements are a great way to make your guests feel welcome and provide a more enjoyable experience at your wedding. No one wants to arrive and scramble for a seat; moreover, guests will have more fun at a table that seems to suit them, or with other guests they know (or may have something in common with).
As the couple, you’re not only inviting guests, but you’re deciding where they’ll sit at your reception. And while that sounds like a pain in the you-know-what and a lot of pressure on your shoulders, it’s really not so tough once you get started.
Proper Seating of Guests
How do you ensure guests will have fun at their table assignments? That’s easy! Just follow these rules:
– DON’T overcrowd the tables
If your tables comfortably seat 8-10 guests, don’t try to squeeze in another two guests just because you know they’ll have fun there. Elbow room, hello!
– DON’T make a singles table
So, now you want to play matchmaker, too? ;) Just kidding. I know it is tempting because you know Josh from your office would totally hit it off with Heather from your old college dorm, it’s better for them to be seated with their plus-ones or single, but placed in other tables around the reception where they’ll fit in well… and then just let fate do the work. Hey, at least you got them both in the same room! :)
Singles tables are uncomfortable and awkward, so just don’t do it.
– DO seat like-minded guests at the same table
Find similarities and make notes when looking over your guest list. Did Tom attend U of M with his wife, and so did your cousin Pat and Rebecca? Great, they might make a great conversation match at your table. It’s easier when you’re placing family members, like your cousins and their parents; obviously your cousins Jack and Phoebe will be seated with their parents, Aunt June and Uncle Mike… so it’s not ALL a guessing game. :)
– DO leave reserved tables for close family members
Give your immediate family members — parents, grandparents, siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews — VIP seats by placing them at tables as close to the head table as possible. This makes it easy for Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad to see and hear all the action — the speeches, the cake cutting, the sweet moments, the smiles, the conversation. These are all things they might miss if they’re seated too far away, ya know, like near the DJ’s speakers or by the buffet line.
(TIP: Need more seating advice? Read 7 Wedding Seating Mistakes to Avoid.)
OK — now that you know way more than you needed to know about seating your guests, let’s talk about HOW they find their seats: with a seating chart or escort cards!
-WHAT IS A SEATING CHART?-
A seating chart is traditionally a sign or poster that tells guests where to be seated. This is done with names listed underneath their table assignments, like so:
-SEATING CHART PROS AND CONS-
A seating chart varies in price, depending on size and materials used; you can expect to spend anywhere from $18 (yes, really!) to upwards of $525 (again, really!) for a completely custom, hand-lettered seating chart. You can even choose acrylic charts for a modern, stylish look that is very on-trend right now.
-With so many designers offering seating charts online, you get to decide just how much you’d like to spend, whether you’re comfortable spending more for a customized look, or you prefer to save money on the seating chart and opt for a $20 style. It’s completely up to you!
-You only have to buy ONE thing, not 100+ cards. One sign makes your seating very efficient.
-NO alphabetizing | The work’s been done for you on a seating chart, with names all alphabetized and listed… rather than arranging them alphabetically and double/triple checking them to ensure everyone’s card is there (like we do for our wedding clients!)
-Since you need confirmed guest names and seating/tables assigned BEFORE you order, you may be placing an order for your seating chart just a week or two before the big day. This might make some brides nervous. To combat this, you can make your RSVP date just slightly earlier to allow extra time to order a seating chart. Also, you can’t add a name to the list once it’s completed, so if you have a last-minute RSVP change you’re sort of stuck (not a big deal, since that really isn’t likely, but still important to note.)
NOTES: A seating chart requires something to stand on, like an easel, or against, like a wall; so you will need to rent or borrow an easel from your venue (most already have one, just ask!) or buy one here. This wedding easel is a popular choice because it holds up to 5 lbs and is frequently used for weddings; it is portable, lightweight, and works like a charm. It’s also only around $14, so it’s a steal (at least right now at the time of post!) Get it here.
Prefer a wood easel? You can get one here.
So, now that you know all about seating charts, let’s discuss your other option: escort cards.
Escort cards are traditionally folded tent cards placed at the entryway of your wedding; each card has a guest’s name on it, along with the table number listed. These cards tell your guests where to be seated.
PROS: Escort cards can be incredibly basic or wildly creative (like all of these). You can go as simple as hand-writing your own with tent cards on the cheap, using good penmanship and a solid kick-you-know-what fine point marker (I swear by those!) It will turn out lovely if you take your time on it! Just write the guest’s name and the table number underneath it, centered. :)
–Make your own escort cards! Want to print them from your computer? Get tent cards from here and use the template they provide to print from your computer. They make it SO easy; I’ve used it several times myself!
You can also print them from here for cheap, only $14.95 for 25, printed.
–Creative escort cards and alternatives are everywhere!
Escort cards don’t have to be paper; you can send guests to grab a drink with mason jar escort cards, give them a fun game to play with scratch-off cards, bring them a gift from the sea with starfish cards, or you can send guests to their seats with champagne glass escort cards — like these! — which they’ll have on-hand for the toast.
We’ve even seen agate/geode stones with table assignments used as escort cards. (These are by DealyBeelovedLLC.)
-You’ll need to alphabetize them and make sure the cards are all re-checked before placing them on the table at your entryway.
HELPFUL TIP: If the cards don’t stand upright on their own — or they keep falling down, darnnit! — you’ll want to use these card holders from ZCreateDesign. These will help you immensely as you set up your escort cards.
Seating Charts or Escort Cards: Which is Better?
Now that you know the difference between seating charts or escort cards, decide what works best for your space. For limited space, a seating chart may be best; it doesn’t require the same amount of space and cards / holders / etc.
You can’t go wrong either way — it’s completely up to you!
Seating charts save paper: it is ONE sign with all seating assignments listed under each table number.
Escort cards can be more creative: it’s not limited to paper alone! You can browse escort cards with unique displays here for even more inspiration.
OK — now that you have decided between a seating chart vs escort cards, here’s what you may be wondering next: