Photo: Jose Villa
All of the small, printed cards tented on entryway tables and hovering atop plates play very important roles in helping organize the wedding reception. Here's what you need to know about these key reception-table stationery pieces:
1. Escort Card
Purpose: To direct a guest to his or her assigned dining table.
What to write on it: The guest's first and last name (titles such as "Mr." and "Mrs." are optional) and the table number; for a couple, write just one card.
Where to put it: In alphabetical order (by last name) on a table near the reception entrance or at cocktail hour, where the guest can easily access it.
What else? An escort card is also called a "seating card."
2. Menu Card
Purpose: To inform guests of the various meal courses to be served.
What to write on it: Be as descriptive as possible and list ingredients in each course as well as cooking preparations, where possible. Guests will appreciate knowing what's to come (especially those who may have allergies or dietary restrictions).
Where to put it: Put it in the center of the table on a holder in a spot that's visible to all, or tuck individual menus into or on top of each guest's napkin.
What else? The card should have the same look and feel as the other reception stationery.
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3. Place Card (above)
Purpose: To direct a guest to a seat at his or her assigned table.
What to write on it: The guest's first and last name; at a very informal wedding, you can get away with just first names.
Where to put it: At the guest's place setting. If the card isn't tented or placed in a holder, position it on top of the napkin or dish, where it will be visible.
What else? To help everyone get to know one another, write the guest's name on the back of the card, too, so his or her table mates can read it.
4. Table Number Card
Purpose: To direct a guest to his or her assigned table.
What to write on it: Numerals are the traditional way to mark each table, but also consider some fun ideas: cities or countries you've traveled to together, streets you've lived on, favorite bands and musicians, ski trails, sports teams, etc.
Where to put it: Display it in the center of the table so that it's visible to all.