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How To: Escort Cards

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OMG! You are about one month away from your wedding day and the RSVP cut off is here! Now comes one of the biggest stresses couples can find themselves dealing with…assigning seats and creating escort cards. There are many components to this headache…matching up the right 8 people to sit together at a table, keeping track of meal choices, and just when you think you have it right, cousin so-and-so calls and says they got the day off work so can you please count them as a yes? This process is enough to make anyone want to pull their hair out. While Shadowland can’t magically make this process disappear, we do have some tips to keep in mind when creating these cards.*Note, most of these tips apply to those either doing assigned seating and/or a plated meal with guest choices.


Before you even start planning anything out, go through your invite list and anyone you haven’t heard a response from, call, text, e-mail, send a carrier pigeon (okay maybe not that)…but confirm with them if they will be able to attend or not. Some people are really bad about getting to the post office or forgot the deadline or thought if they didn’t reply you’d take that as a no. No matter the reason they didn’t send back your adorable post card or reply using your digital response set up, take the extra time to make sure who will really be there. Also, while you have them on the phone, don’t forget to confirm if they are bringing a date (or the whole family) and what their meal choice is. Trust me; you will thank yourself later for tracking everyone down and making sure who will be at your wedding.

Now, there are considerations for assigning people to tables. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail for this part because a lot of it has to do with your venue and what sort of tables are at your disposal…8 tops? 6 tops? 10 tops? 12 tops? What is the minimum and maximum number of people at each table? What family should sit together? Who feuded with who back in grade school and have to sit on opposite sides of the room to avoid a brawl? Whose single and you want to play matchmaker for? Tons of things to keep in mind…but here’s another tip. Don’t stress too much. This is a dinner seat assignment. This group will be sitting together for about an hour or so out of the whole night, then they can disperse and hangout with whoever they want. Don’t let little details of history stress you out for what amounts to an hour out of your whole day.

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And now, for the part that if over thought can throw some couples for a loop: Identifying meals on the escort card. Here’s why it is so important to not overlook this: your guest, Susie Q, ordered chicken, when the servers bring out the plated meals to the table, how will they know Susie Q ordered chicken? If a server were to ask Susie what she ordered here’s what could happen, she may 1. not remember because she ordered so long ago, or 2. see that the pork option looks so delicious and switch, thus potentially screwing with the Chef’s counts because he made what the couple ordered. Having a meal choice clearly identified on the escort card will make the dinner service go infinitely smoother.IMG_5221

Here are some options that couples use to identify meal choices:

  • Color of font the name is written in or a colored dot
    • Tip: Make sure the colors are very different from each other and can clearly tell what the color is in dim light since most places either dim the lights during dinner or the room won’t have as much natural sunlight during the dinner hour
  • An icon for each option such as a star for chicken, diamond for beef, circle for fish, square for vegetarian
  • A picture of whatever the meal is (chicken for chicken, cow for beef, etc…)
  • A colored jewel
    • Tip: The same color tip from above applies here as well. Also, anything that sticks to the card whether it is a jewel or a sticker has the potential to fall off during transport or if a guest messes with it. We recommend reinforcing anything sticky with super glue to make sure it doesn’t fall off
  • Different escort card holders—there are some really cute and unique holders for cards out there. One couple this year used elephants, keys, birds, and anchors to hold people’s names and determine what they had for dinner.
    • Tip: We recommend super gluing the card to whatever holder you choose. Some guests may not take the whole piece if they just grab their card out



Couple more tips: every person in attendance who you ordered a meal for should have a card. Putting Mr. and Mrs. Smith at table 2 with a square and a diamond doesn’t tell the server who ordered what. And what if Mr. and Mrs. Smith sit across from each other because Mrs. Smith wanted to sit by her two friends she never sees? To avoid confusion, please one card per person. Also, don’t forget your bridal party. If you are having a head table, put each member of the bridal party’s card on the head table during set up. They most likely won’t be thinking of going over to the escort card table when you arrive on site and it makes your entrance smoother since their seat will already be assigned to them. Lastly, place your identifier on the front of the card. Servers won’t see the back and some guests won’t think to flip their card during dinner.

Now, this whole process is one I’m sure you will be working on up to the last minute. There’s a lot involved! But again, please don’t stress too much. Shadowland prides itself on being hospitable. We strive to make sure all your guests have a great experience here so you don’t have to stress the small stuff. And don’t hesitate to ask Cheyenne or Amy if you have any questions or need any help when creating your escort cards.

Photos: Shadowland Staff

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