Often times, a bride will come to me and ask for ideas for her "place cards". Or for her "place card table". Of course I know what "card" she is actually referring to...but it's come to my attention that a lot of brides (and even vendors!) don't know the difference between the escort and the place card.
When a guest walks into a reception, finds a table with lots of little cards (usually in an envelope, or set up in some amazing way never seen by the guest before, of course), what they are looking at is the Escort Card. This card, after looking at the Amazingly Efficient Seating Diagram (more about that later), will direct, or escort your guest to their table. These cards should be easy to follow ( Mr. & Mrs. Bestguest, Table 2. Or, Miss Bestguest, Table 2) and to the point. Then, once the guest has successfully found their way to their designated table, they should be looking at their place card, with their name, spelled out (Beatrice Bestguest). Now these place cards can be simply placed on the table, or you can get creative with something like a menu, tucked into the napkin, with the name on top. Of course, each of your tables should have their prospective numbers clearly marked.
Tips for your Amazingly Efficient Seating Diagram:
One thing I always tell my brides when designing your seating diagram, is to design it in the most logical fashion possible. When a guest first walks into your Breathtaking Reception, there is a lot they they will have to take in. Not only will they not be able to keep their eyes off of your gorgeous centerpieces, or your chic table set ups, but they are also going to immediately get a "Deer In Headlights" (Read= Confused Guest) look on their face once they realize they have assigned seating. They are going to look out into the sea of tables and pray that you've implemented a system that will get them to their destination without a fist fight.
So, always try to think in the way a guest would think. Logically, a guest will automatically look left to right, thinking that Table Number 1 will be the first on the left. If it is really Table Number 24, and you have 32 tables, you will inevitably experience what I like to call, Organized Chaos. So, instead of assigning Table Number 1 to your immediate family or your bridal party, why not start the table numbers with Table Number 1 on the left, and simply work to the right, ending with the last table as Table Number 32. Who cares if your bridal party ends up at Table Number 12...you will have succeeded in producing a smooth, seamless transition for your guests.
And I promise your guests will thank you!!