Place cards and escort cards are probably words you’ve heard tossed around a bunch, and while they’re often used interchangeably, they’re two different and distinct things. Depending on your wedding you might need escort cards, with place cards being an option that you can easily skip. On the other hand, if you’re hosting a smaller wedding, place cards are probably the more effective option, and you can skip the escort cards.
So what’s the difference?
Escort cards escort you to your table. They’re traditionally arranged alphabetically by last name and displayed in a common space as guests enter your reception space. Guests will grab these as they arrive and use the numbers marked on the cards to find their table.
That’s where place cards come into play. These are the cards that are placed at each place setting around a table, letting guests know exactly what seat they should be in once they arrive at their table.
If you’re hosting a larger wedding, and you’ve grouped your tables appropriately, place cards are often not necessary as everyone can just choose a seat on their own. For more intimate gatherings, or if you have a specific seating preference, you might want to utilize a place card. Place cards are often used at the head table, so that everyone can easily find their seat quickly and easily.
Now that you know the difference, you should also know that most cards can be used for both. The only difference is that one will display a number and one won’t. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best escort cards and place cards below but if none of these are quite your style, you can browse alternative options here.
1. Rose Gold Foil Dots Tented Place Cards
If you’re familiar with Rifle Paper Co. then you know that these are high quality place cards. The beautiful design doesn’t hurt either. The cards measure 1.875″ x 3.5″ and feature real rose gold foil in a fun confetti pattern. If you’re decorating with metallics and like the look of gold foil, these are a great option. These are just a little bit over $1 each. To keep things consistent with the rose gold coloring, you can write the names of each guest with one of these medium tip rose gold markers.
Price: $10 for 8
2. White Paper Foldover Place Cards With Gold Double Border
Another way to incorporate metallics into your wedding place cards is with a simple gold border. These are so simple but still quite special. They measure 2 x 4.5 inches and are super affordable. Theses come with 100 cards in each pack, coming out to less than .50 cents per card. These come in both white and ivory, as well as several other non gold foil designs that incorporate texture and color into their design. Mimic this design with your table numbers with this matching set (only $16 for numbers 1-40).
Price: $42.99 for 100
3. Vintage Skeleton Key Bottle Opener Escort Tag Card
You can get really creative with your escort cards. Keep in mind that they don’t have to be actual “cards” at all. These tags are great for a rustic and antique look and are actually quite inexpensive given their high quality. The package includes 40 skeleton keys, 40 tags, and one roll of twine, with everything you need to set these up. You can lay each card flat on the table, or for a really creative presentation, hang them across a vintage inspired window like this one. There are a ton of awesome vintage keys available for this type of use. If these aren’t quite your style you can browse other key inspired escort cards here.
Price: $24.99 for 40 (39 percent off MSRP)
4. Burlap Lace Printable Table Tent Place Cards
Simple and attractive, these flat printed place cards look just like burlap and are a great neutral option. The best part about ordering place cards from Andaz Press is that you can also purchase additional coordinating elements such as table numbers, thank you tags, banners and more. If these place cards aren’t quite your style, you can browse other designs from Andaz Press here.
Price: $11.99 for 20
5. Blue & Gold Wedding Place Cards
If you’re looking for place cards with a modern and preppy flare, these are just one of the many awesome options from Haley Madison Design Studio. They’re definitely priced on the higher side, at just over $1 each, but the beautiful design and high quality craftsmanship makes this price tag worth it. If you’re on a budget, consider one of these more simple navy designs for your escort cards, and use the Haley Madison cards above on your buffet, sweet table, or even as place cards for the head table.
Price: $8.50 for eight
6. Mason Jar Escort Cards
These handmade cards are very high quality and allow for a bit of customization. The mason jar design is fun for both a wedding and even a bridal shower, especially if you’ve chosen to incorporate mason jars into your overall design. With these cards, you can choose from a variety of paper finishes including matte white, matte ivory, shimmery ivory, shimmery white, and brown craft paper. You can also order these with a table number line to use them as escort cards, or without to use them simply as place cards. For an alternative option, check out these craft paper place cards that are cut out in the shape of a mason jar.
Price: $11.25 for 12
7. Personalized Wood Place Tags
At first glance, you’d probably assume that custom engraved wood place cards would cost a fortune but you’d be wrong. Each of these costs only $1 each and can be customized with each of your guests’ names. Each place card measures 1 1/4 inches x 3 1/4 inches with the ability to choose from a variety of wood finishes. If you need an alternative number of place cards (either more or less than 65 cards) custom orders are accepted. This shop houses a number of awesome wood wedding products like custom cake toppers, custom wood puzzle guest books, and wood save the date magnets.
Price: $65 for 65
8. Martha Stewart Crafts Place Cards
Simple but stunning, these Martha Stewart escort cards are clean white and feature a flourished edge with a textured frame. With over 95 percent five star reviews, it’s no surprise that these are really well made. Surprisingly, they’re also affordable. To write in the names, we recommend a metallic fine point pen similar to these gold metallic markers from Sharpie. If you’re feeling creative, consider purchasing a gold calligraphy pen instead and trying your hand at some simple calligraphy.
Price: $6.18 for 12
9. Laser Cut Wood Name Escort Place Card
These are the most expensive option on the list and while you might not be able to afford these for the entire wedding, consider using them as place cards on the head table, where you’ll only have to order a handful. If you’re hosting a more intimate rehearsal dinner, these would also work well for seating guests. You can choose from two different sizes (1.25 inches or 1.5 inches). You can also select from a variety of wood finishes (gold, silver, or natural wood). If you you’re hoping to incorporate wood but these are too expensive, purchase a simple paper place card and stand them in one of these fun wood place card holders for an alternative less expensive option.
Price: $4 each
10. Glam Gold Glitter Place Cards
Even though these price out at $2 each, you’ll save some time and stress since come already printed with guests’ names and table numbers on the cards. If you’re planning on hiring a calligrapher, you’ll be looking at least this cost if not more, making these a more convenient and inexpensive one stop shop. These place cards arrive folded with each name printed in black on cream linen card stock and layered with gold glitter cardstock at the top. Keep in mind that this type of custom order takes about 14 days to complete so you’ll want to factor that into your timeline before you purchase. Alternatively, check out these gold glitter place card holders, which are also super fun and festive.
If you still haven’t found place cards or escort cards that jibe with your style, you can keep shopping here.
Price: $50 for 25