Escort Cards vs. Place Cards vs. Seating Charts - What's the Difference?

Escort Cards vs. Place Cards vs. Seating Charts - What's the Difference? // Toledo Wedding Guide

words by // Eve Green
photo by // Mary Wyar Photography


Escort cards, place cards, and seating charts. These terms are often considered synonymous but we are here to break down just how different they are. Seating arrangements are useful for receptions of all sizes, helping to ensure tables are filled to capacity so you aren’t paying unnecessarily for empty seats. Brush up on your wedding lingo and determine which is the best option for your wedding.

Escort Cards

Arranged in alphabetical order by each guest’s last name, escort cards are usually positioned near the entrance of the reception and give each guest their table assignment. Guests locate their escort card either during the cocktail hour or on their way into the reception and take the card with them to their assigned table. Escort cards are the less formal option when compared to place cards.

Place Cards

Place cards detail the guests name and are typically already arranged on tables according to assigned seating. Formal receptions with plated dinners often require the use of place cards with the meal choice noted on the card with a special symbol or color code. To avoid guests wandering from table to table trying to find their names, we recommend using individual place cards accompanied by either escort cards or a seating chart.

Seating Charts

Whether used in conjunction with place cards or escort cards or as a stand alone option, seating charts are a great alternative for displaying table assignments. According to The Knot, seating charts are “usually displayed alphabetically or by table in a pretty frame near the entrance of the reception, and list your guests' names with their designated tables.” These organized and stylized collections of table assignments can make for a beautiful and eye-catching display at the entrance of your reception.  

You may be wondering if any of the above options are necessary, but planning seating arrangements for your guests truly does simplify the flow of the reception. While it can be a little stressful and overwhelming when determining where each of your guests will sit, by providing thoughtfully planned out arrangements you can avoid uneven placement of guests at tables and unnecessary milling about as confused guests try to determine where to sit. Escort cards, place cards, and seating charts are also great opportunities to incorporate stylized decor into your reception. Whether you opt for traditional printed paper products or go for something a little more unique, like glass, acrylic, or wood, there are countless ways to show your guests to their seats with style.