As you already know, escort cards tell your guests what table you’ve seated them at, while place cards tell them what seat at the table is theirs. You also already know that place cards are not mandatory, but that escort cards regularly make an appearance at weddings.
However, when it comes to the table numbers identified on escort cards, the rules are not so clear. Many couples choose to forgo the traditional numerical system of labeling the tables at their reception and to instead use unique monikers. We’ve seen names of cities that couples have traveled to or lived in, favorite types of wines, local landmarks, and historical figures be used in lieu of traditional numbers or Roman numerals.
We applaud these couples on their creativity. But…
Warn couples considering doing the same thing to:
Make sure that the names, places, or other words that are used instead of numbers are clear to read and understand. For an American couple, being seated at table “Benjamin Franklin” is pretty straightforward in that it’s easy for them to read the name, understand who it belongs to, and identify it on a table stand. However, seating the same couple at “Reykjavik” might present some problems. At the very least, those guests might be embarrassed at not knowing how to properly pronounce “Reykjavik” or that its the capitol of Iceland. And, as always, a clear, easily readable font is helpful.
Present the unique table identifiers in a logical way, whether alphabetical, by distance from each other on a map, or time when they occurred in the couple’s life. This makes it easier for guests to find their tables.
With those considerations in mind, we offer several options for unique table names:
The names of presidents. Although perhaps a slightly more DC-centric idea, using the names of former or the current president is a fun way to tie U.S. history into a wedding.
Favorite wines. If you and your fiancé love merlot, pinot noir, and chardonnay, name away!
Countries or cities in which you’ve lived. If you and your fiancé have lived in many different places, naming your reception tables after those locations is a sweet way to remind your guests (and each other) of how far you traveled to find one another.
Favorite vacation spots. Whether exotic (Fiji!) or more tame (Boston), table names reflecting vacations you’ve taken together display your adventurous spirit to your guests.
Favorite songs. Are you really into music? Share your love of music and each other by naming your tables after some of your favorite songs. It’s sweet if the titles contain the word “love”, but it’s not necessary. We just recommend you stay away from anything vulgar or offensive.
Love in different languages or famous or favorite quotes about love and relationships. What better way to reinforce to your guests what the day is all about?
Landmarks. This idea allows you to make each table number sign in the shape of the landmark containing the name of the landmark. You can stick to the landmarks available in the city in which you’re throwing your wedding, or select ones you’ve seen that are your favorites.
However, we suggest you avoid:
Random animal names. No guest wants to be sitting at table hippo, unless your wedding is actually in a zoo.
Offensive names. Yes, we always remind you of that.
Symbols or pictures with no words. These table identifiers just confuse guests.