Escort, Table or Placecards for your Party
Escort cards, table and place cards all have their individual uses and are used to direct your guests to where they will be sitting at for your wedding reception, or other party. They’re typically set up on a decorated table (flowers) outside the entryway to the reception room. They should be arranged alphabetically. As a caligrapher, I prefer to write the names in the largest size possible for the convenience of guests being able to see their names without having to reach for the bifocal glasses! That may mean writing “Mr. & Mrs” or “Mr. and Ms” (whatever variation your guest prefers- and that can be another can of worms) on one line and the name of the guests on the second line. That makes it possible to write the names larger.
I’ve heard some unhappy stories from guests who were not happy with their assigned table seating when the bride and groom were doing the seating arrangements. “I’m not coming if I’m sitting with her!”…. and hence many tables had to be rearranged to accommodate the guest’s demands. My calligraphy services included doing wedding seating boards in the past. You cannot imagine how difficult it was to fix the seating arrangements already written in calligraphy!
Placecards are used to show your guest where they will be seated at a particular table. This is usually done only at very formal weddings. If you can afford to have the name written on the front and back (you may not have to do this for table assignments where everyone knows each other), then people will know the names of everyone sitting at their table.
Again, there are guests who end up not being happy with their seating assignment and rearrange the placards themselves! Hopefully everyone at our reception will be in a great mood, and happy to be seated at the table you chose for them, and next to the guests that you felt would be a good fit for them!
Table Card Etiquette
What is the proper way to have your calligrapher write out your table cards? It’s your wedding, and unless you are feeling that you must follow traditional etiquette, you can do first names, nicknames (I just wrote out “Rocket Rod”) or anything else you like for an escort card! A formal escort card would use the term “escort” for a woman’s guest – but I’m not sure if this would actually be “proper” if the escort is another woman!
For a married couple (formal):
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
For a married couple (less formal):
John and Jane Smith
For an unmarried couple, alphabetize the guests according to their last name:
Elizabeth Harris and Thomas Stein
For someone with a guest:
Andrew Chan and Guest
For a family:
The Smith Family
Bottom line from the opinion of your calligrapher: It’s YOUR wedding, or your party- make up your own rules. Don’t “should” on yourself! It’s YOUR day, and make it happy one!
Even inexpensive escort or place cards can be made to look great when written in calligraphy.
It’s your wedding and you can do what you want -not necessarily what you “should” do according to tradition! Have fun! Break the rules!