Weddings are chock full of confusing terminology and rituals, not the least of which is the deceptively simple choice between place cards and escort cards. Though at first glance the two terms appear synonymous, they actually correspond to different genres entirely. Our etiquette experts clarify the difference between place cards and escort cards.
Place cards and escort cards are in fact two separate entities that are commonly confused due to their basis on the same fundamental principles. While both designate where each guest will be seated at a wedding, place cards are more specific — and also more formal — than escort cards. A place card not only directs guests to the table where each will sit during the reception, but also points each guest to his or her particular seat at the table.
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Escort cards are the more informal sibling of place cards, and direct guests at a more informal wedding to their table number, where guests are free to choose their own seats. As attendees are free to select their own place at the table, escort cards are considered a more casual choice.
Oftentimes, couples have both escort cards and place cards, but it's totally fine to skip place cards and only opt for escort cards.