Planning the wedding reception means doing your best to make sure all your guests have a great time. This also means following a few rules of etiquette in the wording on your place cards so your guests will feel as comfortable as possible at the celebration.
Escort Card Wording
- The escort cards for your wedding reception inform each guest of their table assignment. For a formal wedding, the escort card should read "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith." Escort cards for an informal reception can use the first names of the couple (e.g. John and Mary Smith). If a friend or family member brings a date to the wedding, you can have the date's name on the same escort card as your friend, or print a separate card for the date. If you print the name of your guest and date on one card, the woman's name should be first.
- The term "place card" refers to the escort cards, place cards, and name cards visible during the reception. The place card should be on the table, facing the chair where the assigned guest will sit. On these cards, print the formal prefix and last name of each guest. If there are two guests with the same last name at the same table, use the first names or initials of these guests as well. For example, if there are two Mr. Jones at a table, place cards for the two guests can either read Mr. R. Jones and Mr. M. Jones, or Mr. Richard Jones and Mr. Michael Jones.
- Use a personalized menu card if you're not using place cards. If you allow your guest to choose their entree at the reception, the menu card is the best choice. The menu that is set as a place card should have the guest's name at the top. If you choose not to personalize the menu, placing three or four menus at the center of the table for guests to review, or put nameless menus at each place setting.
- Name cards simply include the guest's name, in formal or informal fashion, but should only be for friends and loved ones. It is best not to use name cards as a substitute for an escort card or place card. Some couples hosting large receptions may have guests use the name cards at the table or wear them to identify everyone at the celebration. You can also attach name cards to any gifts given at the reception.
- Escort cards placed on the table should be in alphabetical order. If a married couple has different names, the woman's name would come first in this case as well. Even if using place cards and escort cards for the reception, it may also be a good idea to frame a copy of the seating chart and place it at the front of the reception hall. This way, guests will easily find their tables.
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