What's the Difference Between Escort, Place, and Table Cards?

romantic pink wedding reception table number

Photo: Jen Huang Photography

Who should sit at the head table? How do you set the table for a formal wedding reception? And do you really need escort, place, and table cards? If you have a wedding-reception etiquette dilemma, our experts are here to sort it out.

How do escort, place and table cards differ? Do I need them all?

If you're having designated seating, you'll need them all. An escort card, typically situated on a table near the entrance to your reception room, lists a guest's table number. It's often tucked into a miniature envelope with the guest's name written on the outside (right). A place card is put at his specific seat; write the guest's name on both sides of the card so everyone knows who their tablemates are. A table card is the piece of paper that identifies the table, usually with a number. Alternatively, you could name the tables after your favorite vacation spots, flowers, love songs or other things meaningful to you.

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