Everything you need to know about place cards and escort cards right here!
What is the difference between place cards and escort cards?
Which card should I use for my event?
Do I really need either of them?
How do I make a place card/escort card?
What is the Difference Between Place Cards and Escort Cards?
Quick Summary: Escort Cards direct guests to a certain table but not a seat. Place Cards direct guests to a specific table along with a specific seat at that table.
Place cards are a formal way of telling your guests where to sit. Place cards direct guests which table to sit at, but also which seat at that table is assigned to them. Place cards are best for sit-down dinner events with different menu options, venues and caterers will sometimes require you to have place cards so they know who is getting meat and who is getting the vegan meal, as well as to identify any allergies. Place cards are most likely at the table either tied to a napkin or standing up on a plate.
Escort cards are another way of telling your guests where to sit. Escort cards are usually hung or displayed near the entrance of the venue so people can find their names and what table they are assigned to. Once they know the table number/name they are assigned to, the guests can pick which chair they sit in and who they sit next to.
Which Card Should I Use for My Event?
Is your event a sit-down dinner or is it a buffet-style dinner?
Place cards are best used when the event has a set menu and caterers/servers need to know who has the meat, who has the fish, and who is gluten-free. With buffet-style or pre-fixe menu event, escort cards can be used. Escort cards don't assign a guest to a seat therefore there is no easy way for caterers/servers to know what each person is eating. If the event is buffet-style, guests get up to and serve themselves their food, then sit back down. This means there is no need to know what each person at each seat needs in terms of food choices or dietary restrictions. Escort cards and place cards can also be used together. Guests read the escort card to find their table, then look for a place card with their name on it to know which specific seat they should sit in.
Do I Really Need Either of Them?
The answer is yes, at the very least, you need escort cards at your event. Without a designated seating chart, you are leading yourself to spend a lot more money than you need. As human beings, we enter a room full of tables and chairs and all we want is to sit with all the people we are the closest to. People tend to move chairs around, crowding tables with more chairs at one than at another. Which means, at the end of the night, you end up with empty tables costing you extra in linens, place settings, centerpieces, etc. which may result in more money wasted on empty tables.
How Do I Make a Place Card/Escort Card?
Making place cards/escort cards is easy. First, you need to get a list of all your guests and make a seating chart. With you seating chart, make sure everyone has a table and a seat. If you are making an escort card, pick a format that will be easy to read. Many people tend to put the escort cards at the entrance of the event for guests to read/grab so they know where to sit. Escort cards should include the name of the guest(s) and the table number they are assigned to. Place cards should include the name of the guest(s), the table number, and menu choice/dietary restrictions, and should be placed at their assigned seat or have a seat number on them.