Wedding reception place cards can be one of the most difficult pieces of all wedding stationery to create! In most cases, brides are only able to arrange the place settings after they have received responses from all of their guests. Last minute replies can result in last minute changes and added stress. Some wedding guests will reply late, and factoring in the time it takes to call them, by the time you have your attending guest list complete, you may only have a couple of weeks before your wedding date! For this reason, it is highly recommended to order your place cards ahead of time with your wedding invitation company or purchase place cards ahead of time through another source to avoid extra stress and to save some time.
There are two types of place cards. Place cards put at the sign-in table are designed to indicate to guests which table they will be seated at. These place cards will have the guest name and table number printed right on it. The second type of place cards is placed on each individual guest’s place setting. These place cards will only have the guest name printed to let them know the exact chair where they will be sitting. Some brides choose to use a wedding place card holder for these types of place cards. For example, a miniature chair can be purchased at some wedding suppliers with a spot to hold the place card. These serve a dual purpose as they are also favors that each guest can take home at the end of the wedding reception.
When using place cards that are displayed at the dinner table, you must still indicate to the guests where they are seated before they enter the dining hall. One option is to use a second set of place cards that would have the guest name and table number displayed on them at the entrance of the reception or another option is to display a seating chart. Your local printer or custom wedding invitation company should be able to print a chart. For added elegance you can place the seating chart in a frame and display it on an easel at the entrance of the wedding reception.
Place cards can also used as an indicator of each guest’s menu choice. If the guests have an option to choose their menu, for example beef, chicken, or vegetarian, there needs to be an indicator for the servers to know what to serve each wedding guest. There are different ways to communicate the menu choice without having the wait staff ask each guest. You can use different colors of paper for your place card to indicate particular menu choices, attach coloured bows on the place card, or print different graphics on your place card to represent the menu option. Before purchasing the place cards, inquire with your banquet hall about their preferred option. In some cases, banquet halls provide free place cards with your booking!
Below, is a sample of what is printed on a standard place card…
(Name of Bride and Groom)
Table No. ___
The “M” on the place card refers to “Mr.” or “Mrs.”, but if this is confusing, you can remove the “M” and only have a blank line to fill in the guest name:
Table No. ___
If you choose to use table names instead of table numbers, remember to ask your wedding stationary company to customize your place card accordingly. This type of place card is usually the most versatile as you have the option of printing a few blank place cards ahead of time so that you can accommodate any last minute guests or changes. Having your wedding invitation company or stationery print the guest names and tables right on the place card for you ahead of time can save a lot of time but keep in mind it is less flexible in terms of accommodating last minute changes.