We’ve already touched on cocktail hours and how much we love them ((especially ones that are longer than an hour)), but one of the most exciting parts of any cocktail hour are the moments guests can spend floating around your space – sneaking peeks of your escort card display, gift and card table. What once was a super basic part of the reception situation, no bells and whistles about it, just place cards and table numbers, has since become a huge part of the overall wedding aesthetic, theme, vibe. And couples aren’t just phoning it in on the looks – by that, we mean writing it off as insignificant and just going with something easy and functional; phoning their innovative vendor friends/partners with exciting ideas about how to welcome their guests into their party is TOTALLY acceptable. In fact, we encourage it!
At Leonard’s Palazzo, we’ve seen a ton of exceptional escort card displays, and the creativity we see from our couples is just never-ending. It’s a good thing, too, because 1) we believe that our couples should feel like they’ve walked into the lap of luxury when they step into our venue ((and an escort card display that is truly epic and grandiose in drawing guests in is only fitting)) and 2) we champion an amazingly-personalized approach to reception design and decor, so if our brides and grooms can come up with a way to say ‘welcome’ that also speaks to their relationship and their style, then that’s the goal!
Fortunately, at Leonard’s, we do a good job of allowing guests to marvel at the meaningful touches, while also pushing them to keep ‘moving forward.’ We’ve all been to weddings where the cocktail hour concludes and the guests all converge at the escort card table, start scanning for their name(s), and then scrambling for their cards before rushing into the reception room. It’s a cluster you-know-what and it’s hardly streamlined. That’s why we arrange the place cards somewhere uncongested at the cocktail hour, so that guests can take theirs at their own pace and cut out any chance of bottlenecking when they’re going into the reception room. It’s genius!
In any case, thinking about the day-of stationery usually ends up happening the month before the wedding and it’s unfortunate, because the day-of stuff is just as important and shouldn’t be such an afterthought. If you’re hovering in on those last few days for guests to RSVP or you have your guest lists pretty much locked and loaded, then consider one of these fun ways to save their spot on/at your special day. How will you know you’ve succeeding in strategizing something awesome? Well, if there aren’t any left over cards, tokens, favors, snacks, etc. left on your guests’ tables or even at the escort card display itself, then you’ve probably done your job….
Swap cards for a chart.
Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of “seating charts” instead of place cards, and we love them, because they’re pretty easy to set up and they’re satisfyingly secure. Cards all over the table can be chaotic, and it’s not that hard to imagine one, two, or three of them falling off (and getting trampled in that stampede of liquored-up and ready-to-dance party-goers) and disappearing. A seating chart is so much more organized and can lend a really nice design element / motif / even photo backdrop to your cocktail room ambiance. We’ve seen them done on mirrors, window panes, poster boards atop minimalist easels, and they’re all beautiful. Seasonally, too, you can swap a chart for something like a metallic manzanita tree with hanging ornaments, all with your guests’ names…
Turn snacks and sips into seating cues.
Another way we’ve seen it done [and deliciously, we might add], is through food and bev. For one of our colleague’s own weddings, she had flutes of champagne all arranged for her guests and each of them was ‘tasseled’ with a beautiful scroll calling out their name and table number. Super royal party looking, if you ask us! And this is just one way to make it work! You can try it with tequila shots (or any shots that you and/or your sweetheart loves) and signage that says something along the lines of ‘take a shot and take your seat!’ Decorative doughnut walls or mini pairings of Coke and fries also leave guests’ mouths watering.
Go traditional, but make the cards sparkle.
And for some, classic escort cards are their standard and only consideration – totally okay, that was me 4+ years ago, too! With this, though, we love seeing our couples elevate the look a little more. Whether they commission a calligrapher to handwrite their guests’ names in artful flourishes or even ask an artist friend to watercolor some pretty florals onto each of their cards (matching the floral arrangements that are already being added to the display table), taking that extra step to make basic name cards all the more memorable is major.
If you’re still unsure about how your friends and family will take their seats, then definitely spend some time getting inspired on Pinterest or Instagram. These platforms are gold mines for finding gorgeous display ideas!