As wedding etiquette tends to be one of the more frequent topics that come in to play the closer we get to planning the details of the reception, I’d like to share some practical (and traditional) advise for escort cards and place cards. First off, the two may seem indistinguishable, but – suprise – they aren’t. Escort cards (sometimes also knows as butler cards) are addressed cards directing guests to their table. If you’re only having assigned tables and not assigned seats, you can quit right there! Escort cards are all you’ll need.
Escort Cards can be addressed to individuals or couples; however, as with invitations, “ladies first” does not apply(see examples). These cards should be alphabetized based on LAST name and then by FIRST. Depending on formality, you may drop the Mr./Mrs./Miss/Master before each name or keep it. Here, like this:
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Elegan or Tom Elegan preceded by Aimee Elegan
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Henry or Frank Henry followed by Gretta Henry
In a situation of +1 (and you don’t know the name of your guest’s +1), list the “guest of” directly after your guest’s name, like this:
Guest of Karen Jaccobsen
or Mrs. Karen Jaccobsen and Guest (if you are coupling, and not giving each individual a card)
With children, if you decide to couple your escort cards, the child’s name would be located directly after his/her parents, like this:
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Gold
Master Johnny Gold
Last little comment on escort cards: if you have a small enough guest count, feel free to go with first names only (denoting duplicates by last name initial), alphabetize then by first name of course.
Place cards, on the other hand, are the individual cards that exist at each guests assigned seat. They are required if you intend to have a seating chart with assigned seats, not just tables. Can you have place cards without escort cards? Sure, but you’ve got to make sure you have table assignments posted in some other form (a large poster board, etc), otherwise it will feel like musical chairs as guests wander aimlessly hoping to happen upon their own sought-after seat…not to mention waste a ton of time at the beginning of your reception.
Place cards should always be full first and last names (or Guest of… if you do not know their name) and placed at each individual’s seat – so no worrying about alphabetizing there!