25 Wedding Escort Card Ideas & Displays That Will Upgrade Your Reception Decor
Now that your RSVPs are in, it's time to decide where to seat each guest and how to communicate those table assignments to them. These wedding escort card ideas and displays prove that you don't have to stick to the simple, basic paper cards lined up on a table—take the chance to have fun with your decor and wow guests as they arrive at the reception. We've tapped a few knowledgeable industry experts, José Rolón of José Rolón Events, Candice Patterson of Designs by CM Events and Ryan Abney of Ryan Abney Event Design, to gather pro tips and ideas that will help you create a memorable escort card display you'll absolutely love.
In this article:
Wedding Escort Card Ideas
They may seem like small details, but your escort cards are another touchpoint to surprise and delight your wedding guests. Tap into your hobbies, wedding theme and personal style with these creative wedding escort card ideas.
1. Handwritten Notes in Envelopes
"One of my favorite escort card options is an envelope with a handwritten note from the couple to each of their guests. I will always love a sentimental inclusion into a couple's special day," Abney says. These escort cards are simply mini cards in envelopes (with a heartfelt message from the couple!), but the large floral arrangement immediately ties the table's aesthetic into the rest of the reception decor.
2. Display Shelf with Greenery Garland
Hand-painted tent cards got a dramatic upgrade thanks to this asymmetrical greenery garland attached to a circular shelving unit.
3. Cloche Jar Statement Piece
A bold arrangement nestled under a cloche catches your eye. The statement-making design beckons attendees to come pick up their escort cards.
4. Dramatic Oversized Flower Arrangement
"Whatever you do, it should display well and encourage a positive reaction from your guests," Patterson advises. This escort card display does just that; A dramatic floral arrangement placed on the escort card table brought dramatic flair to an otherwise straightforward setup.
5. Front-and-Center Wedding Monogram
Instead of using the monogram on each escort card, having it front and center ensures the display is eye-catching from the onset. This prominent monogram adds a classic, but statement-making, vibe to the traditional escort card board. Plus, once all the escort cards have been removed, the dramatic board could easily be repurposed as a cake backdrop or a step-and-repeat guests can pose in front of all evening long.
6. Boxwood Backdrop
Similarly, this boxwood hedge, once all escort cards have been taken down, would be an ideal cake backdrop or addition to a photo booth.
7. Interactive Flower Wall
Personal flowers don't need to be limited to your wedding party members. Each attendee at this wedding received a little posy that conveniently also led them to their dinner tables.
8. Personal Bud Vase Flowers
While the fresh flowers will only last for a few days, presenting attendees with a floral arrangement in a cute bud vase is a gift that keeps on giving. They'll love reusing the vessel, constantly being reminded of your nuptials.
9. Decorative Tiles with Calligraphy
If flowers aren't quite your thing, take a cue from this couple's playbook. Ornate tiles, calligraphed with names and table assignments, became custom coasters for loved ones to take home.
10. Colorful Ceramic Mugs
Support a local artisan by commissioning handmade ceramic mugs to use as escort cards for your wedding. At the end of the night, everyone can take theirs home—and they'll remember your wedding day whenever they sit down for their morning brew.
11. Mini Tequila Sippers
Instead of having cocktails passed during cocktail hour, use those funds to have your vendors help create tequila shot escort cards for attendees to start the party on a festive note.
12. Custom Cookie Boxes
For to-be-weds (and guests) with a sweet tooth, a cookie escort card display is just the ticket. Decorate the sweet treats with fun details, like hand-piped icing or colorful sprinkles.
13. One-Bite S'mores
Why wait until after dinner to serve dessert? For this mountainside wedding, each guest was given a marshmallow on a stick as part of their escort card.
14. Champagne Flutes
Champagne is always a great idea. Instead of paying for a separate champagne toast, start the party off right with a flute for each guest as their escort card.
15. Antique Serving Tray
Antique collectors, look through your stash (or use this as a new excuse to go treasure hunting) for any trays or vessels that could anchor an escort card display.
16. Metal Horseshoes
Equestrians know that once the ferrier comes to fix up your steed's feet, the old horseshoes will likely just pile up and collect dust. After a thorough cleaning and a coat of on-palette paint, old horseshoes will make a fun escort card display at the wedding.
17. Healing Crystals or Gemstones
Present each guest with a special crystal, gemstone, or collect rocks from locations that are meaningful to you and your partner.
18. Pieces of Sea Glass
"Having a beach wedding? Have family and friends collect flat rocks or sea glass," suggests Rolón.
19. Preserved Leaves
Collect interesting leaves and dip them in melted beeswax to preserve them before adding guests' names with a calligraphy marker. "The use of something environmentally provided could potentially eliminate the cost of acquiring an object. A great example of this concept would be leaves, acorns, or pumpkins," Abney says.
20. Potted Plant Display
To-be-weds with a green thumb, plant a few garden boxes of your favorite herbs, succulents or flowers. Use simple plant stakes to incorporate escort cards into the earthy display. When you bring home the garden boxes after the wedding, they'll forever remind you of your special day.
21. Single-Serve Popsicles
This couple not only had popsicles as escort cards, the epic display also was easily transformed to be used for other purposes throughout the night. While the escort card display took a lot of planning, in the end it was both a catering and decor statement making it serve a triple purpose—win-win.
22. Custom Engraved Keychains
Bonus points if your wedding escort cards are objects that are totally practical, like these retro-style keychains. Have each one engraved with the guest's name.
23. Satin Tassels
We love this easy yet elegant wedding escort card idea. Hire a calligrapher to write names and table assignments the cards, then finish them with tassels for a beautiful flourish (you can find them at any fabric or craft store).
24. Miniature Olive Oil Bottles
For the foodie couple, mini bottles of olive oil, hot sauce or seasoning make perfect sense as your wedding escort cards. Our tip: Source them from a local gourmet market or share your go-to selections.
25. Luggage Tags
Luggage tags are a unique wedding seating card idea if you and your partner are always dreaming of your next getaway.
What Is an Escort Card?
A wedding escort card is a small piece of paper, name tag or other object that indicates where each guest is sitting for the reception. The escort card usually includes the guest's full name (with optional titles, such as Mr., Miss., Mrs., Dr., etc.) and the table number.
Escort cards are typically displayed on a table or other type of structure near the entrance to the reception area. The display is sometimes combined with the wedding welcome table, which includes the guest book and card box.
Seating Chart vs. Escort Cards
Before diving into dreaming up an epic display, you first need to decide whether you want to use a wedding seating chart or wedding escort cards to instruct guests on where they'll be dining. The terms 'seating chart' and 'escort card display' are frequently interchanged, and while they're similar, the two are ever so slightly different. In the end, either option is great, but you really only need one or the other.
"Escort card displays and seating charts share the same role in that they both tell guests where they are seated for the festivities," says Abney. "The difference is that escort cards are mobile and can be taken with the guest to their respective seats, while a seating chart is stationary."
"Escort card displays are more creative and thoughtful in their creation and come in many forms, from champagne glasses with named tags hanging off the rim to a wall mimicking a hotel concierge showcasing square boxes with hanging keys with your names on them," says Rolón. "A seating chart lays out like an art wall that's typically meant to be seen and not touched, like an oversized mirror with names and tables written out in calligraphy."
Escort Cards vs. Place Cards
Another term your stationery designer or planner has likely mentioned is 'place card.' Once again, these aren't the same thing as escort cards for weddings. While an escort card guides guests to their assigned table, a wedding place card indicates the assigned seat for each guest once they're at the table. If you and your partner decide to designate specific seats at each table, which is a great idea if attendees have preselected their entree choice or you want certain people to sit next to each other, you'll need to invest in place cards.
How to Make & Display Escort Cards
From artistic stationery designers and calligraphers to florists, event planners and wedding decorators, there are so many professional vendors who can help you design an unforgettable escort card display. Read through our top tips, then use The Knot Vendor Marketplace to search for your team of pros.
Repurpose the display to maximize your budget.
A great way to stretch your wedding budget is to consider how decor elements can be repurposed throughout the day. For example, reusing a floral ceremony arch as a sweetheart table or photo booth backdrop to enjoy the stunning florals for a few hours, instead of just a few minutes. Harness that same thinking when it comes to your escort card display. Unlike a seating chart, the escort cards will be taken away by guests, which leaves you with the base display to reuse later in the evening as a cake or dessert table (something a pro wedding planner can help with during the reception).
Think of items that are multifunctional.
Beyond reusing the actual display, consider a two-for-one method with your actual escort cards, such as doubling them as wedding favors for attendees. After all, "escort cards don't have to actually be cards," Abney reminds us. Mini honey jars or bottles of olive oil decorated with guest names and table numbers will effectively communicate the seating information needed—and serve a practical purpose even after people reach their seats.
Take stock of your hobbies.
Think about something that you and your partner both enjoy doing together as a couple. Maybe you're movie buffs and decide to use miniature Academy Awards statues as your escort cards. Or maybe you're both avid rock climbers, in which case carabiner clips decorated with name tags could be unique escort cards. Whatever it is, lean into what you love and incorporate something inspired by your relationship or heritage for an extra-personal touch.
Include all of the important info.
They look great as decorative details, but what do you actually write on an escort card? In general, the cards should include: the guest's name, the guest's table assignment and their meal selection (only if you're not also providing place cards). If you are providing place cards, the meal selection should be displayed there and left off of the escort cards.
Know when to hire the professionals.
Picking the right items and planning the display can sometimes help you save money on your wedding escort cards, but it's important to remember that minding your budget doesn't always mean going DIY. "What's not a good idea for cost-cutting when it comes to an escort card display is to have your friends build or set one up on the day of," says Rolón. "Please hire a professional to do it. Often, escort card displays are first impressions, and the last thing you want is to have a guest get ink on their dress or have something come crashing down because everything was left at the last minute."
Leaving it up to the pros can help you avoid unexpected costs and headaches, like having to redo 100 escort cards because you accidentally wrote the wrong table numbers or smudged the ink. Plus, vendors will make sure that everything is structurally sound and picture-ready so that you don't have to worry about fussing with an escort card display when you're trying to enjoy the wedding.
Samantha Iacia contributed to the reporting of this article.