The Place Cards Playbook

Picture of wedding reception that is waiting for guests to fill it that had no problem finding their place cards

The Place Cards Playbook

What’s the first thing you need to understand about your wedding reception place cards? No one knows your guests like you do.

Between you and your partner, you know their first and last names. You know who who they are, what they look like, who they’re with, and who they shouldn’t be anywhere near.

You decided to put them at their tables for a reason.

Those reasons are usually a complete mystery to anyone else who’s involved in your wedding day – your planner, the venue, the caterer, the DJ, your other guests. So, before you hand any of these mystified people your place cards to to sort and display, take a few steps to avoid chaos and confusion. And there will be chaos and confusion if Aunt Ada can’t quickly suss out where her table is.

Alphabetize your place cards by last name

My personal wedding pet peeve is place card displays by table. NO ONE walks into your reception knowing what table they’re at, so they have to look through all the table lists to find their name. It’s a bad experience for your guests, and a waste of time for your wedding staff.

Everyone know what their last name is.

Alphabetize your cards by last name before you hand them over to whoever is setting those up, and they should be displayed in that order, too. Don’t rely on your guests or staff to remember or know anything about the seating arrangements.

Ask Liz: Guest List Deadlines vs. Mom

Are you assigning specific seats at each table?

I’m not a huge fan of assigned seating – actually I’m not a fan at all – but if you must, sort those individual name cards per table, and sort the cards in alphabetical order by last name.

Place card Absolutely DO NOTs:

  • Hand over your cards without a spreadsheet or list of all of your guests and where they’re sitting – one or more of your guests will inevitably unable to find themselves, so your staff need to be able to help
  • Hand over your cards without a map of your tables
  • HAND OVER YOUR CARDS WITHOUT ALPHABETIZING THEM BY LAST NAME.

Are you serving a sit-down meal?

This is going to be a factor in your place cards, too, because your caterer needs to know who is eating what – meat, chicken, vegetarian. Talk to your caterer about if and how you need to designate that. Do they only need the meal counts per table and they’ll figure out who gets what? Does there need to be a dot or graphic on the card?

What else do you need or need to know to create your dream, stressfree, fun and beautiful wedding day? Let’s talk: fill out the contact form to check my availability or schedule a free consultation with me.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

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