Place cards reserving your guests’ seat at dinner is not always required, but in most cases recommended. Typically, place cards have your guest first and last name clearly printed on a small “tent” style card to be set at each dinner setting. There are many creative versions of how to design a place card and a simple web search will provide you with these examples.
You will want to use the same seating chart spreadsheet to assist with this table and guest seating assignment. *Remember you can also use your wedding invitation list to cross reference all attending guests and place cards for accuracy.* By referencing your seating chart, you will be able to create place cards for each guest, at each table. In some cases a ‘pre-order’ on the menu may be required by your venue or caterer, in which case you would have already included that on your RSVP cards and logged these selections on your seating chart. You may need to include this information on the place card as directed by your vendors. Here are a few ideas on how to deliver that information clearly, for your guests and vendors.
Place cards may read:
Mr. Adam Corsaro-Peyton
Mr. Adam Corsaro-Peyton
(Stamp of a cow)
Mr. Adam Corsaro-Peyton
(Printed on a RED card to indicate “Beef”)
There are many creative ways to note this important information, but always check with your vendors to accommodate their requirements, then have fun making it your own to incorporate your party theme!
Lastly, many people question how to deliver these place cards to your guests or how to get your guests the correct information to direct them to the appropriate table. Below are three different ways to deliver the place cards and table assignments.
- (My preferred version) Have each place card set at each place setting prior to your guest arrival. This eliminates any confusion and allows for corrections if there is a last minute adjustment or error before any guests are involved. This also makes it clear to your guests that there is a specific seating arrangement preferred by the host. With this set up you will need to clearly mark each table with a table number or other signage to clarify which table your guests should be seated. Additionally, you will need to provide a seating chart for guests to read and know at which table to sit. This can be as simple as an alphabetized list (taken directly from your seating chart spreadsheet) of each guests’ first/last name and their table number/name. You may have a few of these lists in picture frames around the venue to assist in seating or create a main station for table assignments. This station may include decor to match your theme, guest sign in book, gift drop off area, and party favors. A quick web search will help get your ideas flowing on how best to design this area.
- Have each place card (with the table number noted on the card) laid out in alphabetical order at a place card table. *Depending on how many guests are on the invite list, this may be a large station and version 1. noted above might be the best option.* Once your guests enter they will pick up their place card from this table and head to the table number/name noted on the card. Remember to have table numbers/signage on each table to direct your guests. Once at the correct table your guests will then have “open seating” allowing them to select their own seat at the directed table. This option allows your guests a little more seating freedom, but makes sure everyone is at the correct table as designated by the host. *The only downfall, depending on the venue floor plan and timeline, may be guests losing, dropping, forgetting their place card and table assignment. This may further complicate food service if there is a pre-order indicated on the place card.
- This is a hybrid of the two options noted above. In this case, pre-set the place cards for each guest in the middle of their assigned table. Then, as noted above in 1. you will have a seating assignment chart printed in alphabetical order at a sign in station directing your guests to the appropriate table. Again, make sure there is a table number or sign indicating each table. Once your guests arrive at their correct table, they will be able self-seat in the same “open seating” style described in 2. This version allows your guests seating freedom, while honoring the host’s table assignment AND eliminates the opportunity for your guests to drop or lose their place card between the sign in table and the dining table!
There are certainly other variations of this process, but these three cover the most efficient way of seating guests with the least confusion and in-the-moment work. Please, check with all vendors involved to honor their requirements, then have fun creating your own style and set up to match your theme!
As always, please feel free to comment or email me with any questions! I am always happy to help!