Assigned seating? No problem.
We'd be happy to see traditional white place cards with a tent fold become a thing of the past, and these real wedding place settings offer some creative alternatives. From embossed leather tags to calligraphed napkins, menus, and plates, there's a little something for every style. Assigned seating can be playful and fresh if it's executed in a way that's memorable, so go ahead and get artsy with your presentation. Plus, the best options serve as take-homes, too. Who doesn't want something pretty with their name on it? Ahead, an assortment of non-paper place card options—A.K.A., options your guests have likely never seen before. Impress them when they find their seats, and set the tone for the rest of the reception night. We promise that it'll be hard to forget these stylish, unique wedding-day picks.
For this couple's bright and playful setting, a calligraphed plate was incorporated into the mix, set with a cactus on top.
Photography: Polly Alexandre Photography2 of 13
Calligraphed Menu Cards
An easy solution to skipping place cards is to have guests' names calligraphed on the heading of your menu cards instead. Depending on preference, you can lay the menu atop the place setting or tuck it into the folded napkin.
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Leather Napkin Sleeve
For this place setting, guests' names were penned onto a strip of leather, which was wrapped around each napkin. Using first names only is great for a smaller wedding, while larger guest lists will require first and last names.
Photography: Polly Alexandre Fine Photography4 of 13
Simple twine cinched the place cards to mini focaccia loaves at an Italian destination wedding. It's the perfect way to add a reception staple to your tables (who doesn't like bread?) in a fresh, new way while guiding guests to their appropriate spot. Plus, every guest will appreciate the small bite while they wait for their first course to arrive.
Photography: Cassidy Carson Photography5 of 13
A traditional tented card can be elevated to a fit a more formal aesthetic with the right calligraphy and a gold wax seal. In this case, the bride's stepmom hand-calligraphed all of the cards in curling script, adding a personal touch to each seat.
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Photography: Jessica Claire6 of 13
Golden Leather Strip
This place setting featured a gold leather strip calligraphed with each guests' name, which was then displayed atop the menus and finished with either a sprig of thyme or rosemary. The small pop of green complemented the charcoal gray napkins and crisp white china.
Photography: Liz Banfield7 of 13
Attaching a small name tag to the napkin is a simple way to identify guests' seats. In this case, the high-contrast tags made them very visible to guests and finished off the formal look of the place setting.
Photography: Jesse Chamberlin/Our Labor of Love8 of 13
Event planner and designer Erin Taylor of Bustle Events handmade these shabori-style napkins. Calligraphed with each guest's name, they made a lovely keepsake for guests to take away at the end of the night.
Photography: Corbin Gurkin9 of 13
This formal place setting was completed with a menu booklet. Each booklet had a guest's calligraphed name on top, designating their assigned seating and identifying the evening's meal choices.
Photography: Jesse Leake10 of 13
This Palm Springs wedding went with a boho-inspired aesthetic, using a monochromatic white table setting and white place card tag with a small pop of fuschia bougainvillea tucked in the corner.
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Photography: Thayer Allyson Gowdy11 of 13
For Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg's wedding, guests' seats were identified with embossed leather tags tied to a sprig of lively greenery and set on pale-pink organic gauze napkins.
Photography: Harwell Photography12 of 13
Calligraphed foliage is always an option for place cards at a tropical wedding. This couple had preserved lemon leaves calligraphed with guests' names and tucked into their napkins.
Photography: Raymond Hom13 of 13
The crafted look of an embroidery hoop is a great place card alternative for a handmade wedding. In a pinch, you could always handwrite the names instead of embroidering them. You may even bring in patterned fabrics to add to the look.