The first thing guests will see when they arrive at your wedding reception is the escort card table. This is the perfect opportunity for you and your partner to showcase your personality and style! Even if you’re having a traditional wedding, there are lots of ways to get creative and infuse a bit of fun into welcoming your guests and helping them get settled for the evening.
Why Use an Escort Card Table?
Escort card tables streamline your wedding reception and help guide guests to their seats in a timely manner. As their name suggests, these cards are usually on a table or creatively displayed, complete with guest names and table numbers either at the reception entrance or near the bar during the cocktail hour. These escort card displays give your guests something to do while they are milling about, eating finger food, ordering drinks, etc.
Escort card displays are often less formal than pre-placed cards, which essentially assign your guests a seat at each table. Instead, escort tables allow your guests the freedom to choose their own seat. If you’re hosting a large wedding, it’s perfectly fine to have an escort card table in combination with place cards.
What If You Had Neither?
Theoretically you could do away with an escort card table and place cards altogether. This type of arrangement can work well in an informal backyard-style wedding but for a traditional sit-down meal or buffet it’s not recommended.
With no guidance, guests will seat themselves haphazardly in the venue, and you’ll have to provide more tables to accommodate this. More tables mean more centerpieces, linens and cutlery, so more expense.
Using an escort table will streamline the seating process and help you to save money. You can also rest assured that your guests will be seated quickly so you and your partner can focus on your grand entrance!
Basic Elements of Escort Card Tables
So how do you create an escort card table?
First, you need to decide on the guests to be seated at each table. Take into consideration family groups, couples, friends and of course any family members who may not be speaking to one another. It will make for awkward conversation if you seat Aunt Martha with Aunt Agatha who have a long standing family feud.
Although it would be nice if people put aside their differences for your wedding, don’t count on it. It’s better to be sensitive by anticipating differences of opinion to avoid any impending drama!
After you’ve decided who’s sitting at which table, create the escort cards to reflect your plans–and have fun with it!
The best location for an escort card table is at the reception entrance so it’s easy to spot. Arrange the guest cards in alphabetical order and be sure to consider accessibility for all guests. You want to ensure a continual flow of people into the venue, not traffic jams or confusion.
Creative Ideas For an Escort Card Table
An escort table gives the newlywed couple a chance to showcase their creativity and personality. While a table with printed cards is a traditional sentiment, there are lots of fun and inspirational ways you can think outside the box.
A beautiful or unique name card display can serve as a talking point for your family and friends. That’s why using alternative ways to display cards have become increasingly popular.
Consider the following touches:
- Vintage mirror
- Antique door
- Strung clothesline
- Tree bark or branches
- Greenery wall
Also consider your wedding theme: are you going rustic? Retro? Traditional? Think about the season and geographic setting. Even strive to spark interesting, ice-breaking conversation among your guests.
If you and your partner share a hobby, activity or passion then this might be the perfect opportunity to give your wedding a personal touch. Rather than using paper escort cards you may want to add a bit of flare or take-away to mark the occasion for your guests on your special day.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Plastic animals or small toys
- Lego figurines
- Vintage records
- Photo frames
- Custom brew
- Tea cups
- Small bottles
- Jars of herbs
The key to using unique objects is to make sure they fit in with your wedding theme. For instance, plants, fruit, leaves or flowers would be ideal for a rustic wedding and can be adapted depending on the season.
If you see the escort table as more of a logistical necessity than a statement piece, then you may prefer to keep it simple. But bare is boring so a few stylish, decorative accents that match your wedding’s theme or colors can bring it to life.
Think about using:
- Lamps / candles
- Flower centerpiece
- Single-stem flowers
- Vintage votives, or a
- Pretty table runner.
You will, however, want to give the impression that your escort card table has been carefully thought out, not a last minute accessory.
Calligraphy is arguably the most important part of getting your escort card table right. The font, the color and the size of the writing can have a big impact on whether your guests can easily find their names. A swirly gothic font may look beautiful, but if no one can read it you’re in for a traffic jam.
It may not make sense either if you’re having a casual wedding to go for an elegant, formal font. You might want something more playful and less stuffy.
Remember, if you’re using non-traditional items this will affect how the font will look. If there are a lot of swirls and loops they may not fit on the item.
Last but not least you need to think about decent lighting to ensure the visibility of your cards and the overall display. It’s not a good sign when your guests turn to their smartphones to light the way! If you’re having an outdoor wedding this may be less of a concern. But you’ll want to be mindful of the natural light and visibility regardless.
If you need more light–or crave a bit of ambiance– think lanterns, candles and/or decorative tea lights. These elements are always great additions to any display. It’s often the small, careful details that can really elevate your special day.
For further reading, and to see some of the ideas we’ve mentioned above, check out these cool ways to display your escort cards.