The Ultimate Guide to Table Stationery

Those little papers tented on side tables and hovering atop plates help you organize your reception. But they also add plenty of personality to the party. Here's what you need to know about the sweetest stationery of all

Updated 09/29/11
Product Disclosure

All items shown are digital offset-printed, except where noted. Prices and other information in this story were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual designers and vendors.

Seating Card (left)

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, where the guest can easily access it.

What else? A seating card is also called an "escort card."

Place Card (right)

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.

"Bright Event" cards, $8.95 for six, Orange Art

Bird-themed seating card, $438 for 100, and bluebird place card, $12.95 for eight, Ceci New York

Seating card with chair design, $238 for 100, and place card with bridge design, $238 for 100, Hello!Lucky

Medallion motif seating card, $199 for 100, and place card, $199 for 100, Invitations by Ajalon

Green foliage seating card, $347 for 100, and place card, $371 for 100, Elum Designs

Stitched pink-and-orange flower seating card, $347 for 100, and place card, $371 for 100, Elum Designs

Menu Card

Style: The card should have the same look and feel as the other reception stationery.

Paper: Print it on a heavy stock, rather than on flimsy copier sheets. Heft conveys elegance.

Placement: 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.

Personal touch: Provide each guest with his or her own menu featuring their name handwritten at the top—it's the ultimate in personalization.

"Fields" letterpress menu card (left), $720 for 100; "City Lights" digital offset-printed menu card (right), $394 for 100, Elum Designs

Letterpress menu card with heart on tree, $1,175 for 100, A Day in May

Letterpress round menu card, $829 for 100, Elum Designs

Menu card with fork design, $242 for 100, Hello!Lucky

Turquoise pattern menu card, $358 for 100, Invitations by Ajalon

Table Number Card

Style: The card should also have the same look and feel as the other reception stationery.

Placement: Display it in the center of the table so that it's visible to all.

Personal touch: You don't have to stick to numerals—some fun ideas for naming your tables include constellations, classic TV characters, spices, sports teams, gemstones, famous novels, ski trails, your hometown streets, emoticons, legendary musicians, bodies of water, and dog breeds.

Hot pink floral motif table-number card, $49 for 25, Invitations by Ajalon

Kissing-fish table-number card, $2.50, Documents and Designs

Scroll-design table-number card, $2.50 each, Documents and Designs

Flower-pattern table-number card, $5 per card (plus a $40 setup fee), Hello!Lucky

You call that a table number?

Yes! If you want to skip the classic metal holder, consider one of these ideas.

Sailboat "Pacific Sailer" 17-inch model sailboat, $17.99, Handcrafted Nautical Decor; number, $0.99, Hobby Lobby

Alarm clock "Double Bell" clock, $13.99, Hobby Lobby

Trophy Seventeen-inch trophy, $82, Alice Supply Co.; "Balmoral" vinyl number, $1.85, Wall Words

Luminary "Modern Circles" luminary, $3 each (plus $10 for setup), Mason Rabbit's Paperie

Bell jar "Fantasy" large glass bell jar, $87.50, Two's Company, Madison Ave. Gifts; wooden number (glitter added), $1.99, Darice, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores

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