Escort Cards vs Place Cards vs Seating Charts: Ways to Get Creative & Is There A Difference?

Did you know there is a difference between an escort card, a place card and a seating chart? No?!? Well, let me explain!

 Escort Card - Photo Credit: Mayden Photography
Escort Card – Photo Credit: Mayden Photography

An escort card is a small piece of paper (usually) that is in the lobby or entrance of the reception venue that tells your guests what TABLE they are sitting at (escorting them to their table…get it?). This card could be Mr. and Mrs. John Smith or could be individual, Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Evelyn Smith.

 Place Card -  Photo Credit: Ivory House Creative  - Shop the link!
Place Card – Photo Credit: Ivory House Creative  – Shop the link!

A place card is already at the table and tells Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Evelyn Smith which SEAT they are supposed to sit at as well as their pre-selected meals…notice the chicken in the place card.  (placing them in a seat…get it?)

 Seating Chart - Photo Credit:   Ivory House Creative  - Shop the link!
Seating Chart – Photo Credit:   Ivory House Creative  – Shop the link!

Finally, there are seating charts. These are super cute and trending right now. For the love of God, please alphabetize these charts. No one knows what table they are sitting at, but they know where their name falls in the alphabet. This also goes for escort cards. Alphabetize by last name!

Because this is one of the final visual aspects of the wedding, getting creative pulls all of the other visual aspect together. The devil really is in the details! 

Weddings can have either “themes” or “color pallet” help guide your visual elements. Making your escort cards representative of you and your partner will make a cohesive feeling on your big day.If the two of you are into traveling, find nicely folded paper airplanes and have your guests names and table number written on the wings. You could also do the traditional folded escort card but add a twist, like having them standing up in notches of a wooden log. A lot of these creative ideas can be a fun DIY for you and your bridesmaids.

 Photo Credit: Studio 3 Productions
Photo Credit: Studio 3 Productions

If you do not want to get too “theme-y” then sticking to a color pallet is an excellent way to finalize the wedding “day of stationary” into a cohesive wedding collection. For example: Your wedding colors are Navy and Gold. Your Escort Card could be on navy paper and the guest names could be in Gold foil.
 

 Photo Credit: Mary Rose Photography
Photo Credit: Mary Rose Photography
 Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co
Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co
 Shop the link!  Click Here
Shop the link! Click Here

Okay, Ashley! I get the difference. But do I need all of these things? This is where it gets a little tricky…technically no, but sometimes yes!

Ask yourself these simple questions to help:

Q 1.  My guests have pre selected their meals (chicken, steak, vegetarian).
A. Make an ESCORT CARD with an indication of what table number and meal choice. Couples should get their own card. Mr. John Smith (steak) and Mrs. Evelyn Smith (vegetarian).

Q 2. My guests will all eat the same thing (or it’s a buffet/stations).
A. Make an ESCORT CARD with an indication of what table number they guest is sitting at. Couples can be on the same card. 

Q 3. I really really really want to have one of those nifty little seating charts that are really trending. But my guests have also chosen their meals.
A. You now need to make the SEATING CHART and PLACE CARDS. You need to put a name to each seat on the floor plan and tell people where they are sitting. In reality, they will sit next to who they want, but you still need to let the staff know who chose what meal. Catering does not know that Great Aunt Sally ordered a steak, or where she is sitting. You need to tell Sally where to sit and that she ordered the steak.

Q 4. I really really really want to have one of those nifty little seating charts that are really trending and my guests are all eating the same thing (or it’s a buffet/stations).
A. Make that super cute seating chart and rock that look! You do NOT need to make any additional directions regarding meal choices for the catering staff or guests. The chart will work just fine!

*Please note, if you have kid’s meals, kosher, gluten free or any other dietary restrictions, you will want to give more specific directions to the catering staff to help serve these guests in a timely manner. 

I hope this helped explain the difference between SEATING CHARTS, PLACE CARDS and ESCORT CARDS and when/why you need to use them. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me and I will explain away!

 Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography

Cocktail Hour: Miniature Versions of Your Favorite Foods

When it comes to cocktail hour, some couples want to serve what they’ve seen at other weddings. Whether it be bruschetta, meatballs, a cheese and cracker station, etc… However, there are couples who are on the edgier side of things when they choose cocktail hour food. These couples don’t serve the standard, they serve unexpected appetizers that the guests will be thrilled with.

 Photo Credit: Deer Petal Flowers
Photo Credit: Deer Petal Flowers

Maybe it’s just me, but miniature versions of things are just so darn cute! I mean come on, who doesn’t love puppies? They are just so much cuter when they are little! The same goes for appetizers. By doing smaller versions of classic foods, you are giving your guests a small taste of something scrumptious.

 Photo Credit: Happy Wedd
Photo Credit: Happy Wedd

Being a Pinterest fiend, I’ve seen some pretty creative hor d’oeuvres that can be served at almost any party, let alone a cocktail hour. The options are almost endless, just pick some regular sized food that you and your fiance enjoy and ask the catering company if they can make it into a miniature version. It may help to go on Pinterest to see what you like first, and then have a frame of reference for your caterer when they ask about appetizers.

 Photo: Wedding Party by Wedding Pics
Photo: Wedding Party by Wedding Pics

Some minis I’ve stumbled upon are miniature grilled cheese with a shot of tomato soup, a fork with nicely twirled spaghetti, sliders, mini caesar salads. I could go on and on, but you’d be here for hours!

 Photo Credit: You and Your Wedding
Photo Credit: You and Your Wedding

No matter what you and your partner decide to serve, try to keep it unique to the two of you. Remember that there’s no other couple in the world like you, so why not make your special day even more unique? A selection of miniature appetizers will keep people talking about your wedding for months, maybe even years. They will be so blown away by this trend that they will keep telling friends about it. And who knows, you could be a trendsetter for your group of friends who have not yet tied the knot!

Too Delicious to Choose: Cupcakes or Cake

Sometimes, weddings can have a certain element of pressure. Kind of like peer-pressure. Everyone you know has a wedding cake and does the “typical cake cutting” cheesy photo op. What if you and your partner aren’t the biggest fans of cake? What do you do then? Do you suck it up and have a cake because everyone else did, OR do you do something different that really speaks to you and your fiancé? 
Cakes come in all shapes and sizes. There are two types of “average wedding cakes” these days. The first is the typical 3 tier vanilla frosting with some type of butter cream filling. The second is a single tier, much smaller cake simply used for the ceremonial cake cutting. Deciding on the decorations of the cake can become a sugary nightmare! Maybe you don’t like frosting and want to mix things up a bit. Be true to yourself and the rest will follow. 

 Photo By: Crane's Photography
Photo By: Crane’s Photography

We all know that cake is good, but there’s sometimes a stereotype of wedding cake being dry and covered in too much frosting or fondant. Instead of serving pieces of cake to your guests, let them serve themselves! Give them a variety of cupcakes that were picked out by you and your partner! This way your guests can have options.

 Photo Credit:  Cupcakes 101
Photo Credit: Cupcakes 101

When it comes to cupcakes the sky is the limit! You can mix and match flavors, get creative with the cupcake liners, and even choose a simple design for the top! Just like having signature drinks you could have signature cupcakes for your guests. Your partner may like red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting while you like chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.

 Photo Credit: Crane's Photography
Photo Credit: Crane’s Photography

Having a simple cake as well as cupcakes keeps the tradition of cutting the cake a part of the reception. This way you are allowing yourself and your partner the joy of still getting to cut the cake together. Always keep in mind, however, that cupcakes can be smashed in your face just like a piece of cake can!

 Venue: The Haight
Venue: The Haight

Choosing the Length of Your Wedding Day

Many wedding receptions last the entire night. Younger guests and friends of the bride and groom love dancing right to the end. The slightly older guests won’t typically stay the entire time. On the flip side, you and your partner may not be night people. You don’t enjoy staying up super late and then having to change out of your gown, scrub layers of makeup off and take 1,000 bobby pins out of your hair. Trust me, it’s a process!

 Photo By: Mayden Photography
Photo By: Mayden Photography

If you guys are a couple who loves to have a good time, the reception ending at midnight is nothing out of the ordinary. All you want to do is have fun, and you deserve that. After all, it’s your wedding day! You want all the time you can get to mingle with family and friends. Having a late ending reception also allows for more time between important events on the schedule.

 Photo By: Mayden Photography
Photo By: Mayden Photography

If you are not a night owl, you might want to start your wedding day earlier because you want your reception to be done at a time you’re comfortable with. You still end up hitting all of the key elements to a wedding. The ceremony would be set at a time that would still allow for a ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner/lunch, and dancing. And the best part is your day wouldn’t be rushed and you can go at a pace you feel comfortable with.

 Photo By: Crane's Photography
Photo By: Crane’s Photography

Recently an intern joined my team and told me all about her future wedding. Neither her nor her boyfriend are night people. They don’t enjoy staying up late, they know that they will get grumpy and become bad hosts. By starting earlier in the day, they would have the chance to do everything that they want for their big day while still respecting their own wishes.

 Photo By: Aysha Nicole Photo
Photo By: Aysha Nicole Photo

Not all couples want the same thing. Each wedding reception is just as unique as the couple planning it. Making your wedding unique is key. Just because your friend ended at midnight does not mean you need to do the same. Make sure to keep this in mind when planning your own wedding!

Friends are God’s Apology for Family

This is quite possibly the best quote when it comes to dealing with family drama at a wedding. Our friends are chosen, we have the ability to find people who are compatible with our personalities. This isn’t always the case with families, seeing as there are all types of personalities among family. We rely on our friends for a lot, something we can’t always do with our family members.

 Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co
Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co

While we love our family, everyone can admit that they drive us crazy at times. There’s not a single family that doesn’t have drama, but there are ways to keep that drama away from your wedding day. Following these tips will increase your odds of a family drama-free wedding.

  1. Keep yourself with immediate family and the bridal party prior to the ceremony. This will allow you to dodge any unnecessary family drama. During the reception, there are so many people to mingle with that there won’t be very much time to worry about the family that tends to cause issues.

  2. If you know that certain family members don’t get along, whether it be the bride’s family or the groom’s family, try to keep them at different ends of the room when arranging a seating chart. Although they may encounter each other on the dance floor, the music, dancing and other guests will be such a distraction that they won’t have an opportunity to make it all about them and their drama.

  3. Acknowledge that family isn’t perfect. If the drama is too much, simply don’t invite these people. If they have to be invited, prepare for the unexpected, but don’t dwell on it. You have friends and family who love you and will always have your back – no matter what. In the end, you are marrying your best friend, that’s all that matters. Thanksgiving dinner is another story!