Wedding Escort Cards Etiquette You Need to Know | Organizing

February 26, 2020 by Just Marry!

Wedding Escort Cards Etiquette You Need to Know | Organizing

Did you know that there’s such a thing as wedding escort cards etiquette? I’m a wedding planner who’s planning her own wedding and even I didn’t fully understand everything that goes into organizing the seating arrangements and escort cards! Where do you even start?

Good news…I‘ve done the research and I’m here to help! Read on to learn all the etiquette you should follow to keep your guests from wandering around your reception completely lost.

Wedding Escort Cards Etiquette - Just Marry Weddings


You don’t realize how many options there are to display your seating assignments until you dive into wedding planning. So, what exactly is the difference between escort cards, place cards, and seating charts, and which one should you use?

Wedding escort cards are the most traditional and formal. Typically, the guest’s name is calligraphed on the outside of a small envelope, and inside the envelope is their seating assignment. This can be used in conjunction with place cards, or it can be used on its own.

The same can be said about seating charts, which are more modern and trendy. A seating chart typically lists each guest’s name alphabetically by last name or grouped by table. The guests can then find their table and sit at any seat, or you can have place cards indicating exactly which seat is reserved for which guest. Place cards can also be used entirely on their own, set up on a separate table outside the reception for guests to pick up on their way in.

Something to consider when choosing how to display your wedding seating arrangements is if you are giving your guests a meal choice. If you are, place cards are necessary to indicate to the catering team which guest is getting which entrée choice. If you’re having a buffet or only one entrée choice, place cards are completely optional.

Wedding Escort Cards Etiquette - Just Marry Weddings - Jesse Caparella


When it comes to wedding escort cards etiquette, there are a few important things to be sure to include. First is the guest’s name. This seems rather obvious, but there is certain etiquette that must be followed when addressing escort cards.

Always use a guest’s full first name; for example, if your best friend goes by Sam, but her name is Samantha, you should always put Samantha on her escort card. When using titles, be consistent across all your escort cards. So, make sure that if you put Dr. Samantha Smith, you also include Mr. Robert Smith. It isn’t necessary to include titles for children under 18.

Escort cards can also be addressed for each couple or family, rather than each individual guest. If you decide to do this, be consistent. For example, if you start addressing them as “Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith,” do that for each one. You can also address them as “Robert and Samantha Smith” if you prefer. Just make sure that they follow the same pattern so your guests don’t get confused!

If you’re unsure of a guest’s name, it’s not a good idea to put “Ms. Samantha Smith’s Guest” on their escort card. Instead, leave space on the reply card included with your invitations, or reach out to your guests individually and confirm the first and last name of their plus one. After all, your friend or family member thinks they’re important enough to include in your special day. You should make sure they feel that way!

Wedding Escort Cards Etiquette - Just Marry Weddings


Place cards require a bit more information than escort cards since they serve multiple purposes. In addition to the guest’s name and table assignment, an important item that needs to be included on your place cards is your guests’ meal choice. The easiest way to do this is to assign a different colored sticker or gemstone to each entrée choice so that it is less obvious to your guests and matches your color scheme. However you choose to code your guests’ meal selections, it’s important to let your planner and catering team know!

Wedding Escort Cards Etiquette - Just Marry Weddings - Wesley and Emma Photography


When it comes to displaying your seating arrangements, the options are endless! Whichever option you choose, there are some etiquette rules and standards that should always be followed.

Be sure your escort cards, place cards, or seating charts are legible. Reception rooms are often dimly lit, and your guests need to see where they’re supposed to sit! Cards should also be displayed alphabetically by last name. Of course, you won’t be the one setting these items up, so organize them by last name before handing them off to your planner.

It’s also important that the style that you choose fits the setting of your event. For example, if your reception is outdoors, it may not be a good idea to do folded paper place cards. They might easily blow away and then no one knows where to sit…so plan accordingly!

I recommend creating a master list of every guest, their seating assignment, and their meal choice. Send your planner a copy so he or she can look at everything in one place and ensure that it’s accurate.

Wedding Escort Cards Etiquette - Just Marry Weddings - Edward Lian Photography


Because all this wedding escort cards etiquette can seem overwhelming, you may be asking yourself if you even need all of this hassle! Unless you’re having an intimate or informal wedding, the answer is typically yes. The rule of thumb is weddings with less than 50 guests don’t require assigned seating. This doesn’t mean that you can’t assign seating with an intimate wedding; you know your guests best and what they’d feel most comfortable with, so go with your instincts!

In the end, your wedding day is all about you and your future spouse! Choose the seating arrangement option that works best for you, your guests, your time, and your budget. There are SO many escort card and place card ideas, so there’s sure to be an option that works perfectly for your wedding!

Wedding Escort Cards Etiquette - Just Marry Weddings - Binary Flips LLP


Want more advice for organizing your wedding guests and seating arrangements? We’ve got you covered! Check out some of our previous posts on this and related topics:


We’d love to welcome you into the Just Marry! family! If you’d like help with your wedding planning or would like to speak with one of our planners, e-mail us at and we’ll get back to you right away. We’d be happy to customize a planning option that will allow you to enjoy every moment of your planning and your wedding day!

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Wedding Escort Cards Etiquette You Need to Know | Organizing

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