Creative escort card ideas

2 February 2011

Lovely reader Rachel emailed me late last week asking for some assistance gathering inspiration for the escort card display at her wedding next June. First, though, here’s a picture of Rachel (she’s the one on the left):

Isn’t she so cute? She was one of the reader models at a Southern Weddings photo shoot last spring (photo by Jose Villa). Anyway, on to her question:

“I wanted to ask your input/advice on table seating displays. We are having about 150 guests to our wedding, and the reception will be hosted at the Surf Club in Wrightsville Beach around 7-ish at night. We’re having a sit down dinner with assigned seats. On the tables themselves will be tented cards with each guest’s name done in calligraphy. But what we don’t quite have a vision for is how to initially tell guests where and what tables they are sitting at for the dinner. I’ve seen things like framed pretty poster-sized paper with guests’ names done in calligraphy under each table number. Do you have any other ideas? We have some space to work with, so we could set something up on a table or something. One word of caution: My mom and I are NOT GOOD at DIY stuff (I tried making earrings once and broke out in sweat and tears in frustration. Oh, and my clumsy fingers kept twisting the wires INTO MY SKIN and I bled on the table… in front of a third grader’s birthday craft party. Nightmares.)”

No more nightmares, Miss Rachel! I’ve rounded up a few ideas here — I hope they help!

First, we have an army of mini cards + envelopes mounted on a fabric-wrapped board. Both of these ideas are from Martha (the instructions for the second look are here). If you’re the DIY type, these are pretty easy to whip up — I recommend buying mini envelopes and cards (even bracketed ones!) from here. SO much cheaper and so many more colors than ANY other option out there.

Once you’ve got the cards in hand, just write out guests’ names on the envelope, and stamp their table number on the card. This is a great job for a calligrapher if you’ve got the budget (see a few of my recommendations in the left sidebar, or shoot me an email at peachandpearl at ymail dot com for a more casual look!). Even the DIY-disinclined can probably handle tacking the envelopes to the board! Bonus: it’s easy to make a quick switcheroo if guests tell you they won’t be showing last minute!

If you like the sans-envelope look, consider pinning mini letterpress cards to the boards. I love these designs from Bella Figura, since everything about them is customizable. The best part? They’ll print the names for you!

For a more interesting table display than fabric-wrapped boards, I love the idea of pinning escort cards to apples, as seen in this shot from a Cooper Carras wedding. Stick with white or cream cards for this one, so as not to compete with the gorgeous apple skins. You could also switch out the apples for lemons or limes or oranges.

I also love the idea of tying simple tags to vintage keys. Even a DIY-phobe can handle a shoelace knot, right?! This photo by A Bryan Photo with Calder Clark Designs via Southern Weddings.

A few more options for the DIY-inclined, and then we’ll move on :) For these next two, coordinate something on the table (napkins, runners, chargers, decor, etc.) with a detail on the escort card. Instructions for the second idea here.

Love this idea from Martha Stewart Weddings — just clothespin fabric or patterned paper-backed gift tags to a form, and write guests’ names and tables on the reverse.

You can pin similar tags to ribbon strung between two trees, like we did with the ceremony programs at Kate’s wedding (photo by Jenna Cole).

This next idea couldn’t be more perfect for a casual wedding — set out the bottle display at the front of the cocktail hour or reception area, and guests can grab one on the way to their seat, lessening the crush at the bar at the beginning of the festivities! DIY by Mika78 on 100 Layer Cake here.

Finally, we move on to options that are meant to be hired out. Might I suggest my flag escort cards? :) Here they are at a rehearsal dinner planned by Calder Clark and photographed by Gayle Brooker. Purchase here!

Calder stuck them in limes, but you could try petit-fours or truffles just as easily, as in this photo by Lisa Lefkowitz.

Lastly, the idea that first popped into my mind when I read Rachel’s query: a custom wooden sign by Chocolate Butterbean. Joni makes the most amazing creations, and can fashion pretty much anything your heart desires, including an escort card display with each guest listed by table. See more examples of her beautiful work here!

I hope this helps, Rachel! Congratulations on your wedding!! Readers, chime in: did you try anything creative for your escort card display?

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February 2, 2011 4:38 pm

Fabulous ideas, Emily! I cannot wait to see what Rachel decides to do- we'll be sure to send you a photo!

February 2, 2011 7:19 pm

Aahhhh I forgot you were photographing her wedding – doubly excited now!!

February 2, 2011 8:04 pm

I love the bottle idea! That is crazy cute and I've never seen it before.