Wedding Seating Plan, Escort Cards, Place Cards and all You Need to Know about Them!
You know you need a wedding seating plan, don’t you?
In my previous post, I explained you the reason why something like this
is absolutely a bad idea (and if I say bad, I mean reeaally bad) and why you should seriously adopt a wedding seating chart instead.
And I also gave you some tips about how to match (or to keep at the right distance if necessary!) your guests.
But now I want to reply to what will surely be your next question:
“Alright, I’ll do it, there will be a seating plan at my wedding. But how is it supposed to be?”
And you’re right to ask this question, because the wedding seating plan can be made in so many different ways, with so many different styles and materials, that it’s easy to be a bit confused about it!
So, let’s proceed in order.
What is the aim of a wedding seating plan?
It is to show your guests where they will be seated for your wedding reception, of course.
That’s why, I want to start giving you some important tips about the functionality of the seating plan.
The fundamental characteristics of a good wedding seating plan
A fundamental aspect is the choice of the point where you want to place it:
1. Consider the available space: it must be wide enough to allow people to gather in front of it (they are likely to do that more or less in the same moment) and to move around without any difficulty.
2. Consider the light: probably you have examined the place during the day, when there is a lot of natural light, but perhaps your event will take place in the evening, instead. How will the light be at that moment then? Will it be clearly lit up? If it’s not, it will be very hard for your guests to read what’s written on it!
3. Consider a plan B for your wedding seating plan, too: if you’re having an open-air wedding and your seating plan will be put outside, don’t forget to include it in your plan B in case of bad weather. You will have to decide in advance where to place it if everything has to be moved inside, keeping in mind what I have just suggested about the space and light.
And now I want to give you another heartfelt piece of advice: whatever the style will be, whatever the colours, the materials, the decorations, please please please choose a wedding seating plan that is easy to read! (I have the wellbeing of your guests really at heart, I confess it!)
The names must be clearly legible, so the choice of the font and of its dimension is of great importance.
Even if you find an excellent point where to place your seating chart, even if it’s perfectly lit up, it will all be useless if the font is extremely tiny, or a bit too tortuous (I am the first one to love calligraphic fonts, but there are many that are perfectly legible while others are as legible as the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, so choose wisely), or written in a light colour.
The worst case is the combo of these three characteristics, which would be particularly stressful for your guests: your grandma won’t thank you if you oblige her to read names written in a light colour and in a tiny tortuous font, I assure you!
So, now that you know the main important aspects that you will need to take in consideration in any case, let’s see the different ways to help your guests find their seats.
You can structure your seating plan in two ways:
– using the proper seating plan, which in Italy is called with a French term, “tableau de mariage”
– using the escort cards
They are both functional systems, and both have some pros and cons.
The (proper) wedding seating plan
With the wedding seating plan you divide the names according to the different tables: your guests will have to look at the different groups until they find the one where their name is written.
It can be printed or handwritten on a single board (of paper, or plastic, or wood, of glass, on a blackboard or on a mirror… whatever…) or it can be composed of different elements, each one representing a table with the name of its guests on it: these elements are usually cards (hanging from ribbons, or framed, or put on supports), but you can basically use whatever objects you can write on, really.
It is the perfect solution if you have a particular wedding theme, and therefore you want the tables to have not simply a number but an actual name (the name of superheroes, of your favourite films, of rock albums, of the cities you’ve visited, of wines, the list could go on forever!).
It has to be printed with some advance, so it will be hard to modify it, if some of your guests are not able to make it at the very last moment.
I have created a Pinterest board where I have collected a lot of examples of wedding seating plans, so you will see how many different solutions are possible and take inspiration for your own seating chart!
The escort cards
The escort cards are instead divided in alphabetical order: your guests will find their own name and then they will find out the indication of their table on the card.
They might be perceived as a bit more formal, but they actually can match whatever style you choose and can be very personalized, even if they can’t show the particular theme you have chosen for each table. But they surely have the advantage of allowing last minute changes, as you will need to replace or eliminate only one or few cards and not to modify the whole plan.
And if you want to find some great escort cards ideas, have a look at my Pinterest board!
[EXTRA TIP →] Anyway, if you have a lot of guests, and therefore a lot of tables, I would advise to have a hostess with a guestlist and a table plan, who will be able to help your guests orient themselves and therefore to speed things up a bit.
Table numbers and place cards
What happens then when your guests find their table?
First of all you have to make the different tables easy recognizable, putting a sign on each of them, with the indication of the number or of the name.
It will have to respect the same style and theme of all the rest, so same fonts, colours, etc. (and here you will find some inspirations for your wedding table number)
Last but not least, the place cards, that is the cards that are put on each place to indicate the name of the guest who will sit there.
Are they absolutely necessary? It depends.
If you have many smaller tables (for example the round ones with 8 or 9 places each) you can let those 8 or 9 guests choose their own place, unless you have some particular reasons to assign not only the table but also the precise place.
But if you have two or three long tables, which are widely used now, I recommend to assign the places through place cards: these long tables can have 30, 40 or even more seats, if you don’t assign the places it will be like you don’t have any seating plan at all!
Place cards should be in line with the style, colours and materials of the seating plan or of the escort cards, they can be put near the plate, or tied around the napkin. I have created a board on Pinterest for place cards, too, so that you can get some useful ideas!
[EXTRA TIP →] if your reception is outdoor, pay attention to the wind. It’s better to choose a kind of place card that can be somehow be fixed, or it will be blown away!
Well, I’m sure that now you have all the pieces of information you need to make a very good choice, the best one for your wedding project and for your guests!
But if you want to be really prepared to plan your destination wedding in Abruzzo, you need to read The Little Guide to Weddings in Abruzzo, that I have written for you and that contains a lot of useful information: knowing in advance what you’ll find in the guide will help you prevent a lot of stressful misunderstandings and problems! Wouldn’t it be great?
To get the guide, you only have to fill in the form below and then go to your mailbox, where the guide will arrive immediately and for free!