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

Can I Get Married Today?

 Have you ever thought there might be days where you are not allowed to get married? Turns out there are!   Photo Credit: authentic adventure co
Have you ever thought there might be days where you are not allowed to get married? Turns out there are!  Photo Credit: authentic adventure co

Marriages happen every single day of the year, all over the world. Whether you are a follower of a specific religion or someone getting hitched at the courthouse. Yes, even on a Monday! In the last 100 years or so, weddings typically began happening on Saturday evenings as this allowed bridal party members to have the day before and the day after to prepare, party and recoup all in one weekend. Weddings have come quite a long way from cake and coffee in the church basement following the ceremony. 

According to the Knot’s 2016 annual real wedding survey, only 26% of people getting married, are getting married in a Church or Synagogue. The rest, are opting for less traditional venues such as beaches, barns, museums, tents, etc.  The majority of couples today are choosing to forge their own path, while those opting to get married in a house of worship might not be aware there are wedding conflict dates. 

Disclaimer – By no means are these the only conflict dates. If you are looking to get married in one of these venues, please reach out to your specific parish, synagogue or temple for a complete list. Dioceses and individual churches may have other rules or regulations. If you have additional dates, feel free to comment below! #themoreyouknow 

 dates provided by  catholicweddinghelp.com
dates provided by catholicweddinghelp.com
 dates provided by  g  reekweddingtraditions.com
dates provided by g reekweddingtraditions.com
 dates provided by c habad.org
dates provided by c habad.org
 dates provided by  qual.org.au
dates provided by qual.org.au
 dates provided by  fpmt.org
dates provided by fpmt.org

Despite this list or other religious conflict dates you might discover, always check with your spiritual leader or house of worship. Special dispensations or allowances might be made. If you are thinking of having your ceremony outside of a house of worship, really, any date would be available for a ceremony. Just be considerate of your guests. No one wants to attend a wedding on a major holiday. Dates to avoid in general would be Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day. New Years Eve can be a hit or miss. You will most likely be paying a premium for all of your vendors and it might not be financially worth the extra expense. 

Series Finale: Part 3 of Ask A Wedding Planner Anything!

During the past three weeks, we have walked this path together while I have been answering all of your burning questions about wedding planning. We are in the home stretch and I am so happy to have taken this journey with you. My goal is to set your mind at ease during this crazy busy time in your life. Let’s get to it, shall we? 

Q. How do you handle difficult family members?

A. Unfortunately, we live in a world of divorce, remarriage and lifestyles that not everyone agrees with. I would hope that for one day, people could put their differences aside. Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t. If it is two parents who are divorced and do not get along, it could be as simple as placing them at separate tables. Each situation is different and I am happy to listen and work together to find a mutually agreeable conclusion for all parties involved. I have dealt with every situation imaginable and am happy to offer suggestions on a case by case basis.

 Weddings bring family dynamics to a whole new level! Photo Credit: Wyn Wiley 
Weddings bring family dynamics to a whole new level! Photo Credit: Wyn Wiley 

Q. How do you deal with difficult vendors?

A. This generally does not happen if my client has selected someone off of my preferred vendor list. I reserve the right to remove any vendor off of my list at any time for actions that do not best represent me or my brand. If there is a specific situation, I work it out with that vendor individually. If and only if the client needs to become involved would that conversation happen. Most of the time, it was all based off of a simple misunderstanding and all can be resolved to provide you, the client, with the best service possible.

Q. What happens if the wedding gets cancelled or we have a change of heart?

A. It would break my heart to see you cancel your wedding for any number of reasons. I understand sometimes, things happen and you might no longer need my services. I do require a non-refundable deposit upon signing the contract, which guarantees you are my only client on the date of your wedding. This ensures that I begin working right away and do not book another client for the same day. Depending on the payment structure you have chosen and when the wedding has been cancelled, would determine if you owe any additional money beyond the deposit.

 Look at that happy couple! I would have been so sad if they changed their minds! Credit: Wynn WIley
Look at that happy couple! I would have been so sad if they changed their minds! Credit: Wynn WIley

Q. What happens if my planner is unavailable?

A. This is a great question! You are hiring me to do a job for you and I will in good faith be there to accomplish the vision we have created together. If for some reason beyond my control, I am unable to attend to the duties set before me, three things would happen. First, I would reach out to you and let you know the situation. Second, just like the relationships I have created with vendors, I have the same relationships with other event planners. At any given time, I have 6 planners I can call who would step in for me during an emergency. Third, I would connect you to the planner and you would approve the change.

Q. What happens if something goes wrong on my wedding day?

A. If we have had clear and constant, open communication throughout the planning process, this generally does not happen. People are human and make mistakes, such is life. It is my job to divert any issues that might arise before you ever knew there was a situation to begin with. This is why you hired me to be your planner and not your Mom/sister/friend/aunt.  For example, if by mistake, your caterer ordered the wrong number of chairs and you were 10 chairs short you would never know I had to do an emergency chair order. I wouldn’t bother you with the little, but necessary details unless it was a dire emergency.  I offer a debriefing after each event with my client to go over all of the details of the wedding. This allows for open and honest communication between myself and my client. I am always looking for ways to improve and it is only through client feedback I am able to improve my service.

Whew, that was a lot of really great questions! I am so glad you stuck it through until the end. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to ask. I absolutely love making sure you are comfortable in this process. Weddings are tricky, but they don’t have to be. 

 Thanks for coming on this journey! Catch ya on the flip side. Photo Credit: K+B Photo 
Thanks for coming on this journey! Catch ya on the flip side. Photo Credit: K+B Photo 

Q&A Series Part 2: Ask A Wedding Planner Anything!

I couldn’t keep you hanging for long! Here is round two of Ask A Wedding Planner Anything. Clients ask planners these questions over and over (and over) so I figured, I would answer my most FAQ here!

Q. What happens if it rains on my wedding day? I am having an outdoor event!

A. I LOVE rain. Should I say that again? I LOVE rain on a wedding day. In many traditions it is good luck. In my family alone, it has rained on three generations of wedding days. Mine included! However, I understand not everyone has the same affinity for rain on weddings as I do. There is not much we can do to control Mother Nature; as best we try. If you had an outdoor wedding, it would always be advisable to have had a backup location built into the day well in advance. If we don’t need the rain location, then fantastic. If we do, then rest easy that I have the entire process of rearranging everything and everyone to the new venue all figured out. It is never a good idea to not have a back up plan. Any professional planner would be ill advised to not have brought up a plan B. Not to mention, most Photographers, DJ’s and bands are not willing to plan an outdoor event without a back up plan as they won’t want to risk damage to their equipment which costs thousands of dollars. 

 Did I mention I love rain on weddings? This was my wedding...just a little biased! Photo Credit: Jazi Photo
Did I mention I love rain on weddings? This was my wedding…just a little biased! Photo Credit: Jazi Photo

Q. Why do we need to use vendors off of your preferred vendor list?

A. I have spent the better part of a decade cultivating relationships with some of the best vendors in the industry. Each client has a different vision, budget and idea of the perfect wedding. There is a photographer, videographer, caterer and DJ to go along with every client. If you just typed “photographer” into Google, you would get a thousand different results. You would have no idea if they are in your budget or if they “get” you and what you are trying to accomplish. It is my job to make sure they fit you and your fiancées style. Also, a side note, I DO NOT take a commission from any vendor on my list. I reserve the right to remove a vendor at any time for anything that does not match my brand or my expectations of a professional in the wedding industry. I ask that each vendor who would give me a commission, defer that back to you as a discount.

 This was an actual event I attended...needless to say, I would not work with this company... Photo Credit: me. 
This was an actual event I attended…needless to say, I would not work with this company… Photo Credit: me. 

Q. Will you consider using someone who is not on your preferred list?

A. This can be tricky. Refer to the photo above.  If you have hired a professional vendor (insert category) before you hired me, I would need to review their information before I attach my name to them. If you want to use your “friend” who has a nice camera and enjoys taking photos at family parties, then unfortunately, we might not be the best fit. As your planner, it is my job to make sure you get the best possible professional vendor for your budget. You only get one chance to make this right and I would hate for you to not be thrilled with each vendor you choose. I am happy to consider each situation on a case by case basis, but generally, my answer is no.

Q. How do you handle the gifts and cards we get at the reception.

A. I immediately go shoe shopping! ☺  (not, really! But if you want to surprise me, I’m an 8.5 and Christian Louboutin’s are my jam) In our extensive pre planning, we set a point person who will be responsible for taking the gifts and cards home at the end of the night. We also find a safe location for them to be stored until the point person leaves. This location could be in the locked bridal suite or in a someone’s car, etc. I do not take any gifts or cards in my vehicle at any time for any purpose. 

Thanks for checking in for round 2 of ask Ashley anything! Stay tuned for round 3…