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Place Card Rules to Follow (and a Few to Skip)

Help your guests find their seat by following these simple rules.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Heather Payne Photography

It's party time! But where is everyone going to sit? Once you've hashed out the who's who of the wedding guest list and then determined who they would have fun sitting with (or tolerate…we're looking at you, aunties with the 20-year feud), you'll need a way for guests to find their place. There are plenty of options for seating assingments—everything from a seatching chart to escort cards are fair game—but we love the idea of personalized place cards at every seat. Follow these simple rules to get your guests to their spot in style. To make things even easier, we've also included a few rules that are okay to ignore.

 

 

Do: Include each guest's name.

Is your cousin bringing a random plus-one to the wedding? Fight the urge to notate her as "and guest" on the place cards. Laurie Arons, founder of Laurie Arons Special Events, recommends reaching out to get the proper spelling of their date's name. Why? It's nice for her to not feel overlooked. She's still a guest, after all.

 

Don't: Separate couples.

Did you know that traditional etiquette states that once a couple is married they should no longer be seated with their spouse at social occasions? Arons recommends breaking this rule. "I always tell my brides and grooms to sit guests with their dates, as it's really more fun for them," she says.

 

Do: Create a code for catering.

"Be sure the catering staff knows what the code is for your guests' meal choices," says Ashley Baber, owner of Ashley Baber Weddings. This can be as simple as color coding paper or ink (think: beef is pink, chicken in purple, vegetarian is blue) or using a symbol like a small pearl or diamond in the corner of the place card.

 

Don't: Give in to tented cards.

"I find traditional white tent cards with black writing a little outdated," says Arons. She recommends thinking outside the box by incorporating your wedding colors or using non-traditional materials like wood, flowers, or calligraphy on ribbon for a fresher look.

 

Do: Ensure they're legible.

Regardless of your choice of place card style—tent card, printed menus, tags attached to favors—make sure the writing is large and clear, especially considering most reception rooms are dimly lit, says Baber. No one wants their 90-year-old grandma wandering around unable to find her seat.

 

Do: Create a master list.

"Be sure to create diagrams of each table for your wedding planner so he or she knows where each guest is seated, says Baber. Your wedding planner needs to know where each person is for things like food allergies, speeches, or emergencies.

 

Don't: Feel like you have to do place cards.

"You don't have to do cards," says Baber. If you aren't feeling the place card idea, Baber recommends going with a simple seating chart or writing names and table numbers on a mirror for a magical effect. One at the table, guests can pick their own seats.

 

Do: Consider your environment.

Your place card style needs to fit with your event and overall design. "A lightweight tent card could blow right off the table at an outdoor event," says Arons. She recommends tying a tag to the napkin or favor so it's secure. Also, take the table setup into consideration. If your tables are packed with florals, candles, chargers, and glassware, another thing might make it feel overcrowded. For a simple fix, print the guests name on top of the menu card. It's simple, space-saving, and will be one less item you have to print.

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