Wedding Seating Charts and Escort Cards - What's The Difference

Chances are you will never find yourself in a situation where you are required to use the terms wedding seating chartescort card or place card properly. In fact, 99.99% of the individuals you’ll interact with during your wedding planning (except maybe your wedding planner herself), also won’t know the difference. So feel welcome to use the words interchangeably to your heart’s desire…

While the two terms Wedding Seating Chart and Escort Cards or Place Cards etc. serve fundamentally the same purpose, if you are planning to have assigned seating, you must decide which form of seating designation you are going with for your wedding. Escort cards, places cards and seating charts are equally popular and each successfully get your guests sat and ready for the party!


The seating chart has gained in popularity thanks to the creative mediums in which they’re being displayed. Window panes, reclaimed doors, large chalkboards on easels, calligraphy lists in frames...the options are endless. These can be organized alphabetically by guests name, or numerically by table number, or both (alphabetically within the table number). They are generally the least difficult and least expensive method of displaying seating assignments. And prevent you from writing on a bunch of tiny cards!


The most common option for assigning seats at a wedding is the escort card. Guests typically pick these up on their way into the reception. The cards are usually displayed alphabetically with the guests name and table number on them. They can also contain an entree selection (“fish” or a symbol of a fish) for plated dinners with multiple entree options. In this situation, the guest would have made their selection on their invitation RSVP card, and the information on the escort card would serve to communicate the entree choice to the catering wait staff. Escort cards also allow the guests to sit where they want to at a table in their preferred arrangement, while giving the bride and groom the ability to place specific guests together at the tables they prefer.


The most formal option for wedding seating arrangements is the place card. Place cards contain the guests name and go at the place where they will be sitting, their “place” at the table. Like an escort card, they can contain menu choice information. While they do require more setting up, escort cards allow you to assign tables AND seats for your guests. This saves them the trouble of fumbling their own spots and awkwardly sitting next to people they don’t know. While this may require your guests to wander around aimlessly looking for their seat (that’s one way to spend a cocktail reception), guests often feel more comfortable with their assigned spot - even if they’re next to someone they don’t know.