One of the most common items we help to design and produce for our wedding clients are products that direct guests to their tables for a reception meal.
It's not essential for a successful party to have assigned seats, or even assigned tables, but benefits include ensuring that::
Your guests are socially comfortable by being seated with other guests that they know, are familiar with, or may have something in common with. Any meal is best shared with good company and sometimes it just makes more sense to seat your boss with your successful entrepreneur aunt and not your wild college drinking buddies.
Your guests are physically comfortable by being sure to seat elderly or differently abled guests at tables that are: easily accessible, on firm and level ground, or perhaps close to exits or restrooms for new moms. Seating very young or very old guests away from loud music or speakers is considerate, too.
Your guests feel considered and appreciated. Many guests take time off work and spend a good amount of money to attend your celebration, either via travel or finding the perfect outfit to wear or even getting an old stand-by dry-cleaned! You've invited these beloved people (or even distant friends or relations of your in-laws who are to be treated like beloved people, regardless) to be a participant in one of the most important days of your life, and we think that showing them you've taken the time to think about their table or seat assignment and even spent the time or money to calligraph or type their name onto a card or some other keepsake token goes a long way.
There are two strategies for seating your guests.
Strategy 1 :: Table Assignments - with no specific seat assignments
If all you want is for guests to make it to a specific table and then seat themselves (so using no place cards), you just need a table assignment display. There are three options for displaying table assignments::
Option 1:: A list of names, followed by table numbers
Typically listed alphabetically by either first or last name. Easiest way for guests to find their names and tables, especially if you don't want a bottleneck at the display due to venue space or timeline restrictions.
Option 2 :: A list of tables, with guest names beneath
Often a pretty format, but as there is no alphabetization, if you have a large wedding, makes it a little tough for guests to quickly find their table. Makes for a nice visual interaction if you have a long cocktail hour and enough space for guests to peruse the display.
Option 3:: A display of escort cards
An escort card is a card or token (tile, shell, rock, piece of agate - literally anything that can be written on) indicating the guest name and designated table. Depending on the display, they make a mental note of their table and go find their seat, or, they can pick this token up and carry it with them to the table (or, are escorted by the card- hence the name) and then select their seat.
Strategy 2:: Table Assignments - with specifically assigned seats
This takes any option from Strategy 1 and simply adds a place card at the guest's assigned seat at their table. This is best for::
• long tables that hold a lot of guests, when you want to have a little control over who sits near whom
• meals with pre-selected dishes that a catering team would benefit from being able to find easily
• any couple who just likes the formality and care that goes into assigned seats