Should you have Place Cards or a Seating Chart for your Wedding?

Should you have Place Cards or a Seating Chart for your Wedding?

Unless you are having open seating at your reception, you will need a way to let your guests know what table to sit at.  This is most commonly done with seating charts or place cards being displayed in the entrance or cocktail area.

For some couples, it won’t make a difference which option you pick.  However, there is one main reason why you MUST have place cards. Let’s get into that here!

If you are offering your guests a choice of entrees for your wedding reception, you will need to have a way for the wait staff to know what the guests ordered.  The easiest way to do this is by putting some kind of meal indicator on their place card.  You can have the inticator printed on the cards by the designer, or add a sticker to the card once you have them.

What if you’d like to have a seating chart, but do plan on letting your guests pick their dinner options?  You can have your seating chart out during cocktail hour, and the place cards can be set out at each guests seats before they come into the room.  This does mean you need to assign guests to specific seats at the tables, so it’s going to take a bit more time to work on.  Another thing that you need to consider before making this decision is who will set those cards out on the wedding day.  It is a time consuming task that needs to be done by someone organized, so it’s not always possible for the venue staff to do this.  

I always recommend that you put the place cards or seating chart out during cocktail hour.  This way your guests can take their time to look as they are mingling and chatting, and it’s not a long line as they all wait to find their names at the same time.  

The Biggest Seating Chart Mistake!

The Biggest Seating Chart Mistake!

Wedding Seating Charts

They are hugely popular on Pinterest, and can allow you to get really creative with your wedding design. But I want to talk about the biggest seating chart mistake that couples make.  There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind before deciding to have a seating chart, however.  So make sure to check out this article here to learn more about the argument of place cards vs. seating chart

But that’s not what we’re talking about today.  What I’m hear to tell you about today is one of my biggest wedding related pet peeves, and it’s all about seating charts!  

So, you may have already started looking for images of seating charts, and I would bet that what I’m about to share went unnoticed.  Many of the most seating charts that you see on Pinterest or Instagram are laid out by table number.  It’s the most visually pleasing format, as it allows for relatively even groupings of 8-10 guest names per section. 

Don’t Make this Mistake!

But let me tell you why that is a big mistake, and one of my biggest frustrations on a wedding day!  Seating charts are ofter placed by the entrance into a reception room.  Doing this allows guests can find their table number as they are entering the space.  If they need to search though 10+ lists to find their name, it’s going to create a long bottleneck at the door, and throw your timeline off.  Plus, it’s just frustrating for your guests to not only have to wait in line to find their name, but search through all those table groupings once they get to the chart.   


Alphabetical is the Way to Go!

If you list them alphabetical by last name, they will be able to find their name very quickly.  This means the wait time will be reduced SIGNIFICANTLY.  I know, I know, it’s not as nice to look at with things aren’t perfectly lined up and symetrical.  I get it, it can definitely trigger my OCD sometimes too.  But I PROMISE you that you can still format it to look nice, and be the most functional at the same time.

One last thing to keep in mind as you are looking for your seating chart designer/printer.  Just because the image that you see on Etsy or Pinterest is shown with the groupings by table number, doesn’t mean that’s the only option.  Ask the designer if you they can do the same chart alphabetical by last name instead.  The will most likely be able to accommodate!

Oh Look! You can watch me rant in person about this!

When should I send out my Wedding Invitations

When should I send out my Wedding Invitations

When Do I Send out My Wedding Invitations?

It’s one of the most commeon wedding planning questions I get, so let’s get to the answer!  For the most part, it’s pretty straight forward, but we’ll explore some things to consider. 

If you’re looking for a quick visual, skip to the end, we have an infographic to pin to Pinterest 🙂 

Like many things in the wedding planning world, we’re going to start at the end and work our way backwards: 

  • 1 – 2 Weeks before the wedding – Your guest counts will be due to your venue, caterer, and other vendors
  • 2-3 Weeks before your counts are dueWhen your RSVP due date should be (make sure to give yourself 1-2 weeks “buffer” to follow up with those still missing
  • 4 Weeks before the RSVP due date – Mail out your wedding invitations 

Four weeks?! I know, that sounds like so much time, doesn’t it? But the post office isn’t called “snail mail” for nothing and in the last few years, the “snail” has gotten slower. So let’s figure a week for the invitations to get to your guests and another week for the response cards to be returned to you. Four weeks now doesn’t seem so long.

Other Questions about Mailing Wedding Invitations:

  1. Should I mail out international invitations earlier?

Yes – maybe a week or two earlier.  Please also make sure they you’ve determined what additional postage might be needed!

2.  Can I send my invites out earlier than 4 weeks before the RSVP due date?

Sure, but PLEASE don’t send them out more than 6 weeks before the RSVP day. If you send out your wedding invitations too early, your response rate is going to go down significantly.  The longer your guests have the invitations, the longer you are giving your guests to forget to return the response cards.

2.  What about a destination wedding? Should your invitations be mailed earlier for a destination wedding?

If you are having a destination wedding, I suggest that you send out save the dates at least 6 – 8 months before the wedding.  Then send out your invitations 8 weeks before the wedding. If you aren’t sending out save the dates, send your wedding invitations 6 – 8 weeks before a destination wedding. Everyone who is close enough to you to travel to a destination wedding knows when your wedding is and has already made plans. 

If you scrolled to the end for the fast answer, send out wedding invitations 8 weeks before your wedding date!

Here is a pinnable infographic to help you figure out your date! 


Wedding Seating Charts – What you need to know

Wedding Seating Charts – What you need to know

Wedding Seating Charts

We’re bringing in the experts for this one!  My good friend and stationery genious, Tifany Wunshcl of Gourmet Invitations shared these aweomse reasons why seating charts are a great alternative to place cards.  Take a look, and let us know what you think!  Tifany also does beautiful work with invitations, and works with clients all over the country.  Make sure to give her a shout when you’re ready to start, your designs!

Seating charts for weddings are more and more popular each year.  A perfect alternative to escort cards and place cards, here are the TOP 10 REASONS why you should consider a seating chart for your wedding or event.

*Please do remember that if you offered your guests a meal choice on the RSVP cards, you will most likely need to have an escort card indicating their meal choice so the waitstaff know what entree to bring.  Check with your catering manager to see how they prefer to recieve this information! 


10. Seating charts can enhance the overall wedding design

Seating charts just aren’t a simple list of names.  When properly designed, they are another source of decor for your wedding.  We always use our client’s invitation design and fonts to create our seating charts.  Once, we created a gorgeous seating chart had a hand sketched graphic of the Itallian villa where the wedding is taking place.  We can design your seating chart around any theme or inspiration you could ever want!

9. Seating charts make a great keepsake to hang in your home after the wedding

Many of our clients hang their seating charts in their home after the wedding.  They make a wonderful keepsake and a reminder of your wedding day and the guests.  

8. Seating charts are usually displayed on an easel making them at eye level and easier to read

Your guests don’t have to lean down to look at cards displayed all together on an escort card table.  Seating charts can be hung, placed on an easel or a top a table.  Simply by putting the list of the guests’ names in alphabetical order, a seating chart is a much more functional piece than escort cards.

*Added note from Kate – Unless you have a VERY small guest count, seating charts shoule always be done in alphabetical order by last name, NOT table number.  This will save your guests time and frustration of searching through row after row of table numbers.  

7. Place cards and escort cards can be a mess 

We often hear from wedding coordinators that guests pick up their escort cards, starting talking (or drinking) and leave the cards around the cocktail area.  Since the guest knows their table at that point, the card gets forgotten; leaving the staff and coordinators to pick up the left over cards. 

*Another note from Kate 🙂  If you choose individual cards and you are not working with a planner, you’ll have to make arrangements for someone to set set up your cards so they look nice.  This seems simple, but it can be a very time consuming task, especially if they are not in alphabetical order by last name! 

6. A place card table looks good only until the first card is taken

You see the photos all of the time.  The gorgeous place card displays and escort card tables with all of the cards lined up in a row.  But now imagine the table after half the guests have taken their card.  Now how about imaging it after everyone has their card and the few people that ended up not being able to make it, have the straggling cards left over.  Seating charts avoid this issue and looks good all night long!

5. Seating charts typically have larger fonts than place cards

It may not appear that way in these photos, but the font size on seating charts is typically 16pt to 24pt or larger.  Because the size of escort card tents is smaller, the font can typically only be 14pt to 16pt.  We often get asked if older guests can read a seating chart.  Our response is always that it can be read better than place cards.

4. Seating charts are more cost effective for larger weddings

When you consider that you have to pay for place cards on a per piece basis, seating charts are much more economical for a larger wedding.  With a one time design and printing fee, one chart is a better choice typically when your guest list is more than 125 guests.  With a seating chart for your wedding, you also don’t have to pay for flowers, linens, holders or other decor for using and displaying escort cards.

3. Seating charts eliminate the need for an escort card and a place card

Some of our clients still prefer to follow proper etiquette and have an escort card to direct a guest to their table and then a place card at their particular seat.  This issue with this is the fact that now your guest has two cards to deal with.  Where do you put the escort card?  Are you supposed to keep it, display it, give it to the wait staff to throw it away?  With a seating chart, the need for an escort card is completely eliminated, keeping your table design clean and uncluttered.

2. Seating charts are considered “green” – you aren’t wasting all of the cardstock for place cards and escort cards

This reason is a must for any environmentally conscious and green clients.  Why use a ton of cardstock that just goes into the garbage?  One large poster that can be kept is a better option that many pieces of cardstock.

1. The most important reason of them all!  Brides want their wedding to be unique.  A seating chart is very unexpected and different than the traditional place card

Seating charts can match the reception location, the invitations, a special theme or even have a photo.  But seating charts can be printed on so many mediums.  This 30 foot by 9 foot seating chart completely covered the front of this tent.  Seating charts on mirrors, printed on large canvas, hung from old bed frames, window frames and printed on plexiglass are just a few ideas.  If you can dream it, we can design and make it for your unique event!

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Wedding Invitations – 4 Tips to Getting them in the Mail

Wedding Invitations – 4 Tips to Getting them in the Mail

Wedding Invitations Tips

WAIT!  Before you drop those wedding invites in the mail, check out these quick tips for a smoother process! 


1. Take the wedding invitations with you.   

Before purchasing your stamps, take a fully assembled invitation to the post office with you.  Many invitations will require additional postage for weight, shape, or size.  You don’t want to find out the hard way when they are all returned! 

2. Don’t forget the RSVP card!          

Putting a stamp on the RSVP card envelope  makes it easier for your guests to pop them in the mail.  It also ensures that they don’t accidentally get dropped in the mail without a stamp!

3. Call about Hand Cancelling  

All mail is run through automated machines in the sorting process.  The machines can often mark up or even tear envelopes. Hand cancelling means that your wedding invites will be stamped by hand rather than by machine.  This ensures that even thicker wedding invitations arrive to your guests without being damaged by the processes.  

Some post offices will allow you to do this yourself, and others don’t allow it.  Make sure to call ahead to see what their policy is.

In order to get a positive response, I recommend going during off hours when they aren’t very busy.  Additionally, you can find a smaller post office, and avoid  busy times of the day (lunch time or right after work).  This should help your chances of success! 

4. Number your RSVP Cards                      

Before you seal those envelopes, make sure to put a number on the back of your RSVP cards.  This should corresponds with your numbered guest list.  It’s surprising, but without fail there is always at least one or two RSVPs that come back without a name.  This will allow you to quickly determine who sent in that nameless response!

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Save the Dates – What you Need to Know

Save the Dates – What you Need to Know

We’re bringing in stationery expert Tifany Wunschl from Gourmet Invitations to share her thoughts on Save the Dates! 

From Tifany: 

When to send save the dates is another popular question that I get asked all of the time. I just answered the question “when to send wedding invitations” last week on the blog. Now I’ll tackle when do you send out save the dates!

when do you send out save the dates

photo credit: T&R Stock

  1. The first interpretation of when to send save the dates. “Do I need to send out save the dates”?

    I think that many clients feel that save the dates are a necessity. They are absolutely an option and most people do not need to send out save the dates. You should send out save the dates in you are having a destination wedding or if your wedding falls on a holiday weekend. In these situations, your guests will need the advanced time to plan and get it marked on their calendars. If your wedding doesn’t fall into either of those categories, then you do not need to send out save the dates. But many clients choose to send them out anyway! One thing to consider if you are on a budget. If you don’t send save the dates, you will have more budget to make your wedding invitations even more spectacular!

  2. So now let’s look at the next interpretation of when do you send out save the dates. “How many months before the wedding should I send out save the dates”? 

    The short answer to this question is 6 – 8 months before the wedding.  If you are having a destination wedding, I recommend sending save the dates closer to the 8-month mark – especially if your guests need a passport. For a wedding on a holiday weekend or “just because”, send out save the dates 6 months before the wedding. I do have one exception to the 6 – 8 month timeline. I don’t recommend sending out save the dates mid-November to the 1st of January. Your guests are so busy during this time of year and with extra mail around the holidays, more mail isn’t a good thing. Waiting to send out your save the dates until after the new year. You’ll catch your guests when they are excited and not overwhelmed.

when to send save the dates

If you scrolled to the end: Send out save the dates before Thanksgiving, after the New Year, and 6 – 8 months before the wedding! I created this infographic that you can download for you to determine when to send out save the dates!