Place Card v. Escort Card: What’s the difference?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from clients as well as new planners learning the ins and outs of logistics and wedding design is . . .

      Question: Is an Escort Card the same thing as a Place Card?

      Answer:  NOPE!

So what IS the difference?  

Escort Cards

are centrally located, usually on a table, for guests to pick up.  The card usually includes the guest name and a table number in order to direct them to the specific table where they will be seated.  The guest is then free to choose any seat at that table. The card doesn’t specify a specific seat.


  • Economical as you only need one card per couple or family
  • The process of assigning seats is easier as clients only have to assign people to tables, not plan out each individual seat
  • Ensures that guests are seated at a table where they would be most comfortable
  • A beautiful Escort Card Table can be a beautiful addition to the overall wedding design


  • Less control over guest dynamics when not assigning specific seats
  • Escort card table does take up space in the venue and requires a table, linen and some decoration

Place Cards

are “placed” at the actual guest’s seat which is a more formal presentation.  Since the card indicates an exact seat location, it generally displays only the guest’s name.


  • Elegant and formal presentation
  • More control over guest dynamics when assigning specific seats
  • Ensures that guests are seated exactly where they would be most comfortable
  • Can add a beautiful design element to the place setting and guest tables


  • Less economical as it requires one card per guest and also requires either an additional Escort Card or Seating Chart to direct guests to their table first
  • The process of assigning seats is much more tedious for clients

Regardless of your clients’ choice; Escort or Place Card, it’s important to understand that the seating cards are a functional element of the wedding.  In other words, they are necessary and purposeful to the mechanics of the event, but just because they are functional doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be beautiful.  It’s your job as the Planner and Designer to make sure this element of their wedding ties into the overall design and beauty of their event.  My favorite source for beautiful and reasonably priced seating cards is Minted.  Check out their vast catalog of designs and work one on one with a designer for customization.

Want to learn more about how to create beautiful wedding designs?  

Start with Wedding Design Basics to learn

  • Event design principals
  • The elements of event design
  • Terminology
  • How to convert functional details into beautiful features of the event