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When it comes to wedding design and decor there are, of course, the big elements that make a major statement—the florals, the linens, the lighting. But perhaps equally important when it comes to creating the cohesive aesthetic are the smaller moments, the little details that can make all the difference. There’s perhaps a no better example than escort or place cards, which can simultaneously both serve a very functional purpose (after all, guests need to know where to sit), while also providing a beautiful decor moment. These accents are minimal but can definitely be impactful, not to mention offer an opportunity to really play off the overall theme or vibe of your big day.
As a quick reminder, escort cards tell people which table they will be sitting, whereas place cards indicate where specifically they should sit at the table. (These days, most couples choose to forgo assigned seats, though place cards may still be used for formal or black-tie affairs, and the two terms are interchangeable.) No matter whether you need escort cards, place cards, or both, we gathered the most stunning options to choose from.
Read on for the best wedding place cards.
Z Creative Gifts Studio Laser Cut Wedding Place Cards
These laser-cut, wooden place cards double as a personalized keepsake for each guest. Choose from eight different fonts and 18 different colors; there’s something to go with any type of wedding decor. Plus, they look beautiful laid out on top of a napkin at each place setting.
Brown Fox Creative Wax Seal Cards
Hand-torn edges plus a wax seal make for the perfect combination of elegant and romantic in these escort cards. (They remind us of something straight out of a Jane Austen novel.) You get up to three rounds of digital proofs before they’re printed; just FYI, the wax seal does need to be put on by you. You can also hole punch and add a delicate ribbon for an even more special effect.
Calligraphy By Deanna Calligraphy Place Cards
Few things are more classic than hand-calligraphed place cards. Case in point: These sophisticated ones are basically begging to be used at a black-tie wedding. Still, you can keep the overall look fresh and modern by choosing from either tented or flat cards, 16 different font styles, over 40 paper colors, and 12 ink shades. And if you had guests pre-select their entree, you can also add a meal sticker in the bottom corner of the card.
Papercase Studio Fresh Magnolia Leaf Place Cards
Magnolia leaves are the epitome of Southern charm; as such, we love these as an option for any type of Southern nuptials, though they’re also a choice pick for couples looking to bring in some more organic or earthy elements into their big day.
The sturdy, deep green leaves are hand-painted with your guests’ names in either white or gold and can last up to three weeks if they’re stored properly and refrigerated. Not to mention that this is a great sustainable choice for those looking to minimize their environmental impact.
Splendid Moment Minimalist Modern Wedding Place Cards
The name says it all. This digital download is for a very small and sleek rectangular place card, a unique shape that adds dimension when laid across any type of table setting. (The smaller size also makes these more cost-effective when it comes to printing.) You can also tweak the font, font color, and/or background color.
Golden Hour Paper Co. Stone Place Cards with Gold Calligraphy
Another beautiful choice that pulls double-duty as both a place card and place setting, these smooth stones are topped with hand-painted calligraphy in your choice of gold, copper, rose gold, or silver ink. They’re also ideal for anyone who doesn’t want everything to be so matchy-matchy; because of the natural variation, the stones vary in size and color, still cohesive, yet imperfect in the most beautiful way possible.
Santina Rose Design Pink Agate Wedding Calligraphy Place Cards
There’s something about agate that just feels oh-so-special, as seen in these place cards. Handmade, these can easily be used as either place or escort cards; the natural variation in size and tone of each piece also makes for a beautiful result when they’re all laid out on a table together.
Scripted Ever After Acrylic Place Cards
Modern and glam, these acrylic place cards can be hand-painted with your choice of the background color (painted on in an abstract-style swoop) or left blank, and finished with your preferred text font and color. They can easily go from more abstract to full-on dramatic, and their sturdy weight ensures you never have to worry about them getting blown away in the wind.
Wishful Paperie Greenery Place Card Template
A digitally downloaded template is one of the more cost-effective ways to do place cards (or almost any type of day-of stationery, for that matter). A greenery illustration coupled with simple black fonts make this an option that could work with almost any style or decor aesthetic, and, because you’re printing them on your own, it’s incredibly easy to make any last-minute changes should they pop up.
Mon Sherri Ink Luxury Wedding Tassel Place Cards
Is there anything more glamorous than a gold tassel? We think not. Choose from a black or white circular card, accented by this glam touch. (Though if you don’t love gold, there are also black, pink, and burgundy options to choose from, as well as two different thicknesses of the tassel.) We see these as the perfect option for those going after a Great Gatsby-type vibe.
Engraved Sensations Laser Cut Names Dinner Place Card Napkin Holder
Place cards can in fact be both pretty and practical, and these are proof positive. The personalized, ring-shaped napkin holders come in in a variety of finishes, three different wood options, and four metallic, mirrored ones. They’re perfect for a wedding yes, but how cute would they be after the fact set out on a holiday table?
Minted Plain Paint by Phrose Ras
These escort cards are the perfect way to add a subtle touch of color without it being too in your face. A painterly, almost marble-esque background is available in eight subdued hues, accented by crisp white text. Choose from flat or folded, and three different paper stocks, including a pearlescent option that adds a beautiful sheen and a recyclable paper choice.
Zazzle Black and White Ampersand Monogram Wedding Place Card
When in doubt, go with black and white. The color combination is a universal winner, totally timeless, and easily adaptable to work with any decor scheme. These more minimalistic cards are also a nice option if you have lots of other, more in-your-face decor moments happening and don’t want the escort cards to compete. Just FYI, make sure you have good handwriting if you go with this pick since it’s on you to write in the names and table numbers.
Ma Pa Parties Lemon Place Cards
When life hands you lemons, make fun place cards. While you’ll need to provide the lemons, these small place cards are the perfect size to pin into each fruit; just choose your card stock color (we say go with green to accentuate a natural leaf effect), font style, and ink shade. Just one look at these and we’re instantly transported to the Amalfi Coast, a perfect pick for an Italian-inspired wedding.
What to look for in a wedding place card
Consider the setting of your wedding
This holds true if you need to consider the weather, says Sarah Miller, an Event Director with Paulette Wolf Events. “If you are outside and the threat of wind and rain could arise then doing a really creative board, whether printed on foam core or something more custom on plexiglass with calligraphy would be better than individual cards,’ she says.
The style of other pieces in your stationery suite
Ideally, you want the font to match, or at least be cohesive with the menu and program, says Miller, particularly if you are going with place cards that will be placed on the table right near the menu.
The option of "place cards" vs. "escort cards"
While the two terms are used interchangeably, place cards are used to indicate exactly where at the table a guest should set, whereas escort cards simply tell them which table they’re sitting at.
What are some creative wedding place card ideas?
“Keep in mind that there are lots of trends and you can really get as trendy or as classic as you want,” says Miller. If you want to use them as a decor element, one idea is to get a flower wall that matches your decor and pin the cards to the wall as a focal piece, she suggests.
Wax seals are always fun, as is laser cutting, she adds. And if you want to really up the ante, you can have an origami artist create a custom origami design for each person featuring their table information, she adds.
How do we plan the seating chart at the reception?
Notoriously one of the more taxing pre-wedding tasks, start by organizing your guests by groups: family, friends, and co-workers, advises Miller. “Try to seat those individuals together, and ask your parents for help seating family members and their guests,” she says.
Also important: Keep the layout of the venue in mind, so that you’re not placing older guests right by the band or DJ, where it’s going to be very loud, she adds. Finally, important family members, such as grandparents, should be seated close to your or your parents, Miller says.
Meet the Expert
Why Trust Brides
Brides contributor Melanie Rud has nearly 15 years of journalism experience covering the beauty and lifestyle space for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s also a bride-to-be, currently in the process of choosing escort cards for her own upcoming wedding.